Giro d’Italia: Elia Viviani wins stage 13 as Simon Yates retains lead

Elia Viviani celebrates victory after crossing the line on stage 13

Friday’s stage win was Viviani’s third of this year’s Giro

Italian sprinter Elia Viviani took his third stage win at the Giro d’Italia as Simon Yates kept his overall lead.

Viviani had endured a miserable day on Thursday but outkicked his rivals as the 180km stage to Nervesa della Battaglia ended in a bunch sprint.

With the infamous Zoncolan climb coming on Saturday this was an easy day for the contenders for the overall lead.

And Yates and main rival Tom Dumoulin finished safely in the bunch, the Briton’s lead staying at 47 seconds.

This flat stage always looked like one for the sprinters, but when unheralded Italian Marco Coledan launched a solo attack with a kilometre and a half to go he almost caught the lead-out trains napping.

Viviani had won the second and third stages of this Giro into Tel Aviv and Eilat but had struggled since, Ireland’s Sam Bennett taking two sprint wins and closing to within 22 points of Viviani in the points classification.

But this time Viviani picked the correct line down the left hand side of the road as Danny van Poppel and Sacha Modolo led it out after Coledan had been sucked up, and his explosive power took him clear.

Bennett came late for second, kept off Viviani’s wheel by the Italian’s Quick-Step team-mate Zdenek Stybar.

Van Poppel held on for third, with Modolo left disappointed in fourth, thumping his handlebars in frustration as he crossed the line.

A defining few days for the British leader

Yates’ Mitchelton-Scott team kept him towards the front of the bunch as the pace accelerated in the final 30km, and his thoughts now turn to the Zoncolan on Saturday afternoon.

Yates has enjoyed eight days in the race leader’s maglia rosa and will hope to take more time out of reigning champion Dumoulin in the two mountainous stages that come before Monday’s rest day.

Dumoulin, world time-trial champion, is expected to take at least a minute and a half out of Yates on Tuesday’s 34.2km time-trial, but the Zoncolan could yet blow the general classification apart.

It averages 11.9% over its 10.1km length, with a maximum gradient of 22%, making it arguably the most feared climb in the Giro’s history.

By comparison the Tour de France’s Alpe d’Huez averages 8%, with a maximum of 12%, Mont Ventoux far longer at 21.5km but averaging just over 7%.

No Briton has ever won the Giro, and Yates knows that his own bid will be defined over the next few days before the race finishes in Rome on Sunday 27 May.

Stage 13 result:

1. Elia Viviani (Ita/Quick-Step Floors) 3hrs 56mins 25secs

2. Sam Bennett (Ire/Bora-Hansgrohe) Same time

3. Danny van Poppel (Ned/LottoNL-Jumbo)

4. Sacha Modolo (Ita/EF Education First-Drapac)

5. Ryan Gibbons (SA/Dimension Data)

6. Jean-Pierre Drucker (Lux/BMC Racing Team)

7. Manuel Belletti (Ita/Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec)

8. Clement Venturini (Fra/AG2R La Mondiale)

9. Baptiste Planckaert (Bel/Katusha-Alpecin)

10. Jens Debusschere (Bel/Lotto Fix All)

Overall standing after stage 13:

1. Simon Yates (GB/Mitchelton-Scott) 55hrs 54mins 20secs

2. Tom Dumoulin (Ned/Team Sunweb) +47secs

3. Thibaut Pinot (Fra/Groupama-FDJ) +1min 4secs

4. Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita/Bahrain-Merida) +1min 18secs

5. Richard Carapaz (Ecu/Movistar) +1min 56secs

6. George Bennett (NZ/LottoNL-Jumbo) +2mins 9secs

7. Rohan Dennis (Aus/BMC Racing Team) +2mins 36secs

8. Pello Bilbao (Spa/Astana Pro Team) +2mins 54secs

9. Patrick Konrad (Aut/Bora-Hansgrohe) +2mins 55secs

10. Fabio Aru (Ita/UAE Team Emirates) +3mins 10secs

Selected:

12. Chris Froome (GB/Team Sky) +3 mins 20secs

Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/cycling/44174145

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