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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Saturday, May 22, 2021

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2020 Tour de France | 2020 Giro d'Italia

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Giro d'Italia stage 13 team reports

We posted the report from second-place Edoardo Affini's Jumbo-Visma team with the results.

Here's the report from stage winner Giacomo Nizzolo's Qhubeka-Assos team:

Giacomo Nizzolo sprinted to an incredible first-ever grand tour stage victory, on stage 13 of the Giro d’Italia. The Team Qhubeka ASSOS sprinter broke his duck of 19 grand tour stage podiums without a win, by taking the top step in Verona today.

Giacomo Nizzolo

Giacomo Nizzolo enjoys his win. Sirotti photo

Starting in Ravenna, the stage covered a mostly flat 198km route to finish with a mass sprint in Verona. The Italian and European champion, Nizzolo, already having placed 2nd twice at this year’s Giro d’Italia, was determined to not be denied once again.

Team Qhubeka ASSOS took the reins in the peloton over the final 10km, keeping Nizzolo up front and out of trouble through the tricky final kilometers. A committed team effort ensured Nizzolo had the opportunity to sprint for the win today.

As Edoardo Affini (Jumbo-Visma) got a slight jump on the peloton in the home straight, Nizzolo had to come from some way back over the final 400m, launching his sprint early. With superior speed, Nizzolo was able to slingshot passed his compatriot in the final 50m to take a stunning stage win.

Following Mauro Schmid’s incredible stage triumph on stage 11 of the Giro d’Italia, this is the 2nd stage victory for Team Qhubeka ASSOS at this year’s race. With other top 10 stage placing’s from Max Walscheid and Victor Campenearts, and Nizzolo wearing the Maglia Ciclamino in the opening week, this is undoubtedly the most successful Giro d’Italia for Team Qhubeka ASSOS.

Giacomo Nizzolo:
"Watching the sprint takes me back to the moment and it is such an emotional feeling. The only thing I wanted to do today was to be able to sprint, without being blocked, and just show to myself what power I had in my legs and that’s what I did.

"I am super happy and just want to enjoy this moment. The first person I called was my mother, it was special, and to my dad who couldn’t be here today as he had surgery a few days ago, this was for him.

"I felt so much confidence from the team today, they were always around me, not only today but throughout the week. So I am really happy to give them this victory as it is not only mine but for the whole team, for the purpose we race for, bicycles change lives. After Mauro’s victory two days ago, you can be sure there will be another big 'Ubuntu' celebration tonight."

Here's the report from third-place Peter Sagan's Bora-hansgrohe team:

There would be no flatter stage in the 2021 Giro d’Italia than this one. Stage 13’s 198km parcours from Ravenna to Verona barely rose or fell its entire distance, making for high speeds from start to finish.

The day’s break wasted no time setting off, and with the trio posing no threat to the GC standings, the peloton was happy to let them go, their lead swelling to 3:40 after 15km of racing, reaching more than six minutes before the peloton and the sprint teams started working to reduce this lead, shrinking to a more manageable three minutes with less than 100km to go. Here, Peter Sagan was riding with Giovanni Aleotti in the bunch, their pace bringing the break’s advantage to less than two minutes with 50km remaining, and as this lead dipped to twenty-five seconds with 25km to go, it was clear the stage was set for a sprint finish.

Peter Sagan

Peter Sagan heads to the start of stage 13. Sirotti photo

Making the catch with less than 10km left, there was little chance of a late attack and the sprint teams kept the pace high to ensure this wasn’t the case. With strength in numbers, the BORA-hansgrohe riders were working well to keep Peter safe, with four of the team up on the front to ride for the Slovak sprinter, Daniel Oss and Maciej Bodnar confidently pushing up the speeds in the final kilometre, heading up the peloton as the bunch passed the flamme rouge.

From here it was all down to Peter, who reacted well to an early sprint from one of his rivals and started his kick from far out. Coming from behind, in an immense show of strength and sprinting power, the ciclamino jersey came across the line in third position, confirming another day in the points jersey while Emanuel Buchmann finished safely with the GC riders.

From the Finish Line:
"It was a long stage that finished with a very fast sprint, not the best suited to me, where I took third place. Congratulations to Nizzolo for his first Giro stage win. I have a small lead in the points competition, I am still wearing the ciclamino jersey and I will do my best to keep it all the way to Milan." – Peter Sagan

"It was a long stage, totally flat, with some wind. Our focus was Peter's ciclamino jersey and we had to see whether it would come down to a fast bunch sprint. That's what took place because the sprinters' teams worked to make it happen. We all came together in the final kilometres and the sprint. Our guys did a really nice leadout for Peter and he was in a good position for the sprint. He followed the Jumbo-Visma train but it wasn't the best one, so he kicked off slow but was able to accelerate and take a good third place. The important fact is that he's still in the lead in the points competition." – Jan Valach, Sports Director

Here's the report from GC leader Egan Bernal's INEOS Grenadiers team:

Egan Bernal and the Grenadiers benefited from a more relaxed 13th stage as the peloton played out a bunch sprint on a pan-flat course.

The run to Verona always looked likely to end in a sprint and so it proved, with the team able to conserve energy ahead of a date with the Monte Zoncolan on Saturday.

The team had ridden hard in the previous stages, including an all-out gravel attack on stage 11, and happily took the opportunity for recuperation. For Bernal there were no issues as he retained his 45-second advantage, kept safe by his teammates on the day.

Giacomo Nizzolo (Qhebeka Assos) won the stage with Bernal, and 10th place Dani Martinez, both finishing safely in the bunch. GIanni Moscon and Filippo Ganna hit the front late on to position their leader.

Egan Bernal

Egan Bernal will be wearing pink on Monte Zoncolan Saturday. Sirotti photo

Egan Bernal:
"It was a bit calmer today. Finally we had an easy day in the Giro. We had some time to recover a little bit. Tomorrow we will have a hard day so from now we will need to start thinking about tomorrow.

"You always want to be in the front (at the finish). I saw the opportunity and I moved. You never know what can happen behind. it's better to avoid some crashes, but always without taking any risks.

"(Victory tomorrow) would be special. But it's difficult to control all the peloton and the break. I would be happy if I just keep the maglia but I will do my best."

And here's the report from Attila Valter's Groupama-FDJ team:

Two hundred. That was roughly the distance in kilometres to cover on stage 13 of the Giro on Friday. It was also, approximately, the total of elevation meters on the day’smenu. It was then easy to say that nothing could really prevent a bunch sprint in the streets of Verona after 5pm.

Still, three men took the lead from the very first seconds of racing and quickly gained five minutes over the bunch. The sprinters’ teams then set up in chase and the ordinary scenario unfoldedfor almost 190 kilometers. Only a brief acceleration fromThomas De Gendt and Rémi Cavagna kind of broke the bunch’s monotony with fifty kilometres to go, and the Groupama-FDJ’s riders actually proved quick to respond. “These are things you feel inside the peloton,” said Philippe Mauduit. “You can’t really expect that kind of move, although there was the Traguardo Volante where we suspected there would be a bit of action. After that, some kept going and the guys were there indeed“.

The attempt was quickly reeled in and the pack got back into amoderate pace before gradually speeding up in the last fifteen kilometers. The leading trio was caught with 7k to go, Giacomo Nizzolo raised his arms in Verona and the entire Groupama-FDJ cycling team finished safely. “We can say that it was the first real transition stage in this Giro”, said Philippe Mauduit. “The weather conditions let us think it would be aquiet day today, and it was. It’s obviously less demanding than if the bunch would have fought all day long. That being said, they still had to push the pedals for 200k”.

Attila Valter

How will Attila Valter do on Monte Zoncolan? Here is in pink in the ninth stage. Sirotti photo

Alongside Attila Valter in the final, Romain Seigle looked back on this peaceful day: “You can tell the peloton is really tired, it was really relaxed. There was side wind all day so the peloton was in a line, but it was still a real transition day. The time feels long in these kinds of stages, but we take the opportunity to chat a bit in the peloton. The goal for us was simply not to lose time with Attila and to spend the most peaceful day possible before the mountain stages to come”.

The first of them will arise this Saturday with the brutal climb of Monte Zoncolan (14 km at 8.5%), including a final wall at 13% and some terrible slopes averaging 25%. “It’s a legendary finish,” concluded Philippe Mauduit. “We will obviously give it a go, but I think we are not the only ones who’ve got this idea“.

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