26 May 2013

Giro d'Italia Stage 21 Riese Pio X - Brescia (all about five)

Yesterday in the snow it was Nibali who attacked on the last climb, only the trio of Columbians Rigoberto Uran (SKY), Carlos Betancur (ALM) and Fabio Duarte (COL) who were even able to raise their game to try and keep close to the Italian. As it was they finished about 20 seconds down, Duarte second 17 seconds behind but with a 2 second gap over Uran who in turn had 2 over Betancur.

However, for the riders in third and fourth the gaps that really concerned them had still to be decided. For Uran it was when Cadel Evans some 1 minute 11 seconds behind him that meant that even without his time bonus he had overhauled the Australian to take second place. For Betacur who had failed to get a time bonus is was a wait for the white jersey on the back of Saxo Bank-Tinkoff rider Rafal Majka who cross the line some 43 seconds after the Columbian, meaning a change in the young rider classification once again.

Another jersey changed hands yesterday. As on stage stage 17 Mark Cavendish was largely unchallenged for the 2 points remaining at the 2 intermediate sprints. I say largely as a Movistar rider did challenge him for the the first one, but he was soon getting a talking to from the whole of the Omega Pharma Quickstep team. The second was at the start of the final climb but Cav was allowed to take the peleton through the last km before the sprint point. But with Nibali winning the 25 points on the line he overtook both Evans and Cavendish moving to 128 points over 117 for Cavendish.

Today's stage is a flat stage finishing with 8 laps of a 4.2km (see profile and hazards). It is set up for the sprinters for one last showdown. Of course so far none of them have outdone Cavendish and he has cleaned up. He will be looking for his fifth stage in this year's Giro today but all he needs is a finish in the top 5 to wrest the Maglia Rosso, which he will be wearing today anyway, off the shoulders of the Maglia Rosa.

If Cavendish can finish in the top five he will become one of five to have won all three Grand Tour points jerseys. He will join:
  • Eddy Merckx (BEL) who with his 1973 Vuelta points win was the first to complete the set. He took the Giro's in 1968 and 73 and the Tour's in 1969, 71 and 72.
  • Djamolidine Abdoujaparov (UZB) who completed his set in Milan in the 1994 Giro. He added that to his Tour wins of 1991, 93 and 94 and Vuelta win in 1992.
  • Laurent Jalabet (FRA) who also completed his set in Milan in 1999. Added to his Tour Jerseys in 1992 and 95 and four consecutive Vuelta wins from 1994-7.
  • Alessandro Pettachi (ITA) who only took one of each beating Cavendish to the 2010 Tour Maillot Vert to add to his earlier 2004 Giro and 2005 Vuelta wins.
It was of course that lose to Pettachi who won with his points on the medium and high mountains that lead to more points being awarded on the flat stages leading to Mark Cavendish winning the following year's jersey to add to his points win in the 2010 Vuelta.

The other jersey the Mountains was definitely won by Stefano Pirazzi (BAR) he took 82 points over the 45 of both Giovanni Visconti (MOV) and Nibali.

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