Italy’s Elia Viviani dominated a sprint finish to claim his third win of this Giro d’Italia in Friday’s 13th stage with Britain’s Simon Yates holding the leader’s pink jersey on the eve of a grueling mountain stage to the summit of Monte Zoncolan.
Quick Step rider Viviani had struggled on Thursday but hit back for his fourth stage success in total including back-to-back wins in Tel Aviv and Eilat in Israel at the start of this year’s race.
“It’s amazing to be back after a few difficult days,” said Viviani. “This is what I needed and what my team deserved for the great job they have done. I had two or three bad days but I was still determined to keep the Maglia Ciclamino (points jersey).”
Yates crossed in 34th place in the same time as the leaders to hold his 47 second advantage on defending champion Tom Dumoulin of the Netherlands who was just behind the Mitchelton rider. France’s Thibaut Pinot of Groupama-FDJ is third overall at 1min 04sec.
Four-time Tour de France champion Chris Froome crossed in 65th position and remains 12th overall, trailing fellow Briton Yates by 3min 20sec.
Covering flat roads of the eastern Po Valley, the 180km stage from Ferrara to Nervesa della Battaglia was tailor-made for the fast men of the peloton.
Vivani produced a late burst of acceleration in the dying meters to finish well ahead Ireland’s Sam Bennett, the winner of the two other group sprints. Dutch rider Danny Van Poppel took third followed by Italy’s Sacha Modolo ast he race finished at Nervesa della Battaglia to commemorate the centenary of a battle which was among the most significant fights in the First World War.
“Until the latest possible moment I tried to stay safe,” said Yates. “The big guys in the team did a great job just keeping me at the front. It’s been the easiest day we’ve had so far. I’m looking forward to tomorrow.”
Saturday’s 14th stage leaves San Vito al Tagliamento covering 186km with four climbs before the final 10.5km ascent to the summit of Monte Zoncolan in the Carnic Alps betwen Austria and northeastern Italy, reputedly one of the toughest in Europe.
1. Elia Viviani (ITA) Quick-Step 3hr 56min 24sec, 2. Sam Bennett (IRL/BOR) s.t., 3. Danny Van Poppel (NED/LNL) s.t., 4. Sacha Modolo (ITA/EFD) s.t., 5. Ryan Gibbons (RSA/DDD) s.t., 6. Jempy Drucker (LUX/BMC) s.t., 7. Manuel Belletti (ITA/AND) s.t., 8. Clement Venturini (FRA/ALM) s.t., 9. Baptiste Planckaert (BEL/KAT) s.t., 10. Jens Debusschere (BEL/LOT) s.t.
Selected: 34. Simon Yates (GBR/MIT) s.t., 39. Tom Dumoulin (NED/SUN) s.t, 42. Thibaut Pinot (FRA/FDJ) s.t., 65. Chris Froome (GBR/SKY) s.t.
1. Simon Yates (GBR/Mitchelton) 55hr 54min 20sec, 2. Tom Dumoulin (NED/SUN) at 47sec, 3. Thibaut Pinot (FRA/FDJ) 1:04, 4. Domenico Pozzovivo (ITA/BAH) 1:18, 5. Richard Carapaz (ECU/MOV) 1:56, 6. George Bennett (NZL/LNL) 2:09, 7. Rohan Dennis (AUS/BMC) 2:36, 8. Peio Bilbao (ESP/AST) 2:54, 9. Patrick Konrad (AUT/BOR) 2:55, 10. Fabio Aru (ITA/EAU) 3:10, 11. Miguel Angel Lopez (COL/AST) 3:17, 12. Chris Froome (GBR/SKY) 3:20