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Saturday, May 21, 2022

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2021 Tour de France | 2022 Giro d'Italia

It is forbidden to kill; therefore all murderers are punished unless they kill in large numbers and to the sound of trumpets. - Voltaire

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Giro d'Italia stage thirteen team reports

We posted the report from third-place Mark Cavendish's Team Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl team with the results.

Here’s the Giro report from stage winner Arnaud Démare's Team Groupama-FDJ:

Stage 13 of the Giro offered quite a tremendous scenario towards Cuneo on Friday, and in the end, Arnaud Démare stormed to victory for the third time in this 105th edition. A four-man breakaway managed to resist the bunch for more than a hundred kilometres, and they only missed 500 meters to make it the winning move. However, thanks especially to his teammates’ huge work and an ideal lead-out, the Frenchman was able to sprint to another prestigious win and further strengthen his lead in the points classification.

Arnaud Démare signals three stage wins this Giro. Sirotti photo

“At the start of Sanremo this morning, there were already good vibes”. Six years after his first major success, on “La Primavera”, Arnaud Démare found himself in Ligurian city again on Friday. For once, however, the town hosted the start and not the finish of a cycling race since stage 13 of the Giro was set to end 150 kilometres further north in Cuneo. The profile, on the other hand, could just as well suit the French sprinter, as the only day’s obstacle was a climb of ten kilometres to be tackled after an hour of racing.

“Above all, there was a back wind,” explained Sébastien Joly. “From the start, it was necessary for us to manage the breakaway. We could not let a ten-man group go, or we would have found ourselves in a difficult situation. Tobias did a big effort to come across a big move, and then the breakaway went. Three men got away, then two others, and we said: “Perfect, we let go”.

The day’s fugitives, namely Nicolas Prodhomme (AG2R-Citroën), Filippo Tagliani (Drone Hopper-Androni Giocattoli), Julius Van Den Berg (EF Education-Easy Post), Mirco Maestri (Eolo-Kometa), and Pascal Eenkhoorn ( Jumbo-Visma) later approached the climb with a 3’30 lead over a bunch already controlled by Clément Davy and other sprinters’ teams. “The trap was to find ourselves too close to the breakaway,” explained Sébastien. “If we had been three minutes away at the bottom, it could have given others some ideas, but we couldn’t be too far either. The problem is that Pascal Eenkhoorn, in the lead, made a big tempo in the climb and really increased the gap”.

At the top, with 95 kilometres to go, a whole new race started since the breakaway, then made of four men, saw its gap growing to 6’30. From then on, there was no more time to waste. “The good point is that there were interests for Israel-Premier Tech, Quick Step-Alpha Vinyl and us,” added Sébastien. “The goal was to manage the climb as much as possible so that everyone could go through it and therefore have more interested teams to make the chase”.

Against four attackers who really believed in their chances, the pursuit immediately began and set the tone for two frenetic hours of racing. Many teams joined forces, many riders took turns over the kilometres, but the gap struggled to reduce. With fifty kilometres left to go, there were still 4’30. “There was great cooperation between rival teams, because we had the same goal and we worked well together”, underlined Ignatas Konovalovas. “The breakaways had good conditions, with a very strong tailwind and some slightly descending parts, but they were also very smart”.

While the bunch really stretched out and never stopped to keep the pace, the four leading men still seemed capable of making it during the last hour of racing. “Of course, we doubted”, launched Sébastien. “We knew it would be close. We even had to use the first part of the train, with Tobias and Kono, but the goal this morning was really to come for victory. Then, it was going so fast that we knew we could rely on other teams in the final. On the other hand, it was essential not to disassemble the second part of the train”.

About thirty kilometres from the finish, Tobias Ludvigsson therefore came to give a hand in the chase, like the Lithuanian champion ten kilometres later. A lot of riders gave their part, but the breakaway still had more than a minute entering the last ten kilometres.

“I thought the breakaway was going to make it”, confessed ‘Kono’. “I stopped pulling with eight kilometres from the finish, I sat up, and there were still more than thirty seconds. I did not ride for the train today, I put everything to close the gap. Each of the eight riders had a role to fulfil”. In one of the most breath-taking finals of this 2022 season, the peloton eventually came back less than twenty seconds from the break before a slight uphill road in the last two kilometres.

Miles Scotson then took command and the Groupama-FDJ train went on to catch the last man just 600 meters from the line. Ramon Sinkeldam and Jacopo Guarnieri maintained the team in the forefront of the bunch in the last kilometre and could then launch Arnaud Démare in the final straight. The ciclamino jersey wearer then finished the job off, beating Phil Bauhaus, to take a third stage win on this Giro.

“It’s an incredible day,” he said right away. “The leaders fought really well, I started to doubt a little when I saw our riders dropping one by one after having done a lot of work. I started to believe with ten kilometres to go. I thought about the sprint, but I was dead, and I wondered how I was going to be able to sprint! The guys did a huge job and I think our turn with 1.5 kilometre was really painful for the riders behind us. I think everyone arrived really tired for the sprint. The long, slight uphill home stretch was really tiring. I needed to wait, and I chose the right moment to launch. I would like to underline once again the work of my teammates who gave everything they had. I’m thinking of Clément, Attila, Tobias, Kono, who really did a great job to come back to the breakaway. In the final, the train was flawless. Miles, Ramon and Jacopo were exceptional in being able to lead me out with 200 metres to go. It was then a tough sprint, with what I had left, but it was a victorious one. It’s wonderful”.

In his own words, the Frenchman was “cooked” at the finish, but this crazy day surely was well worth living, and riding. “Before coming to this Giro, I told myself that just winning one stage would be great”, he said. “We must never underestimate victory, as you need to fight to get it. Even more so today.” “From memory, it’s been a long time since I’ve seen such a stage,” added Sébastien Joly. “Congratulations to all eight riders. We knew it was going to be a tough day. We may not have thought it was going to be so tough, but this stage will be remembered and that’s what makes the beauty of this sport”.

As for Ignatas Konovalovas, he crossed the finish line kind of surprised a few minutes after his teammates. “I didn’t believe the bunch could come back, I even took off my radio, but when I crossed the finish line, I saw Arnaud with his hands in the air”, he said. “It was even more beautiful! “I haven’t even seen the final, but being rewarded at the end is the icing on the cake. It’s crazy“, said the young Clément Davy. In addition to getting an eighth victory on the Giro, a tenth in the Grand Tours and an 87th within the pros, Arnaud Démare further increased his lead in the points classification (117) on Friday. “The only danger would be to go home sooner than expected,” he concluded. “The goal is clear. There are nine stages left, we will need to finish within the time limits and work well with the guys to get to Verona”.

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Team DSM’s Romain Bardet abandoned. Here’s the team’s post:

Romain Bardet has today withdrawn from the Giro d’Italia on stage 13 after struggling with sickness that developed during yesterday’s stage. Having started the stage, attempting to get through the day, Bardet eventually pulled out early in the race.

Bardet leaves having sat in fourth place on GC and having played a pivotal role in the team’s success in the race so far, including a stellar first time trial in Hungary, an impressive performance at Blockhaus and a phenomenal effort towards Alberto Dainese’s victory on stage 11.

Romain Bardet at the teams presentation ceremony. Sirotti photo

Romain Bardet commented after the stage had concluded: “I’m really disappointed to leave the race like this – we’ve all worked really hard to get here and invested a lot to be in the best possible shape. I felt really sick yesterday during the stage and it hasn’t gotten any better. We tried all we could to continue but today I had nothing left in me to get through the day. It’s really disappointing but we have a great team here and I’m confident they will continue this Giro in a good way with great spirit and hopefully some more good results. I wish them all the best.”

Talking of Bardet’s departure from the race, Team DSM coach Matt Winston said: “Obviously everyone’s disappointed to see Romain leave the race. We were in a really good position and the entire team has worked hard to get to this place where we’re ready to challenge for the GC. It’s one of those things though and that’s sport; the most important thing now is to get Romain healthy. We also have quite a number of days of racing left so we will regroup and refocus our strategy for the remainder of the race.”

Team DSM Doctor Anko Boelens added: “During yesterday’s stage Romain started to feel unwell with stomach complaints. We tried to manage the situation during the race to get him through the day before he could take some rest in the evening, but unfortunately we saw little improvement overnight. This morning we decided it was safe to give the day a go, and tried all we could to get him through the stage but still with complaints and such low energy it was not possible for him to continue anymore”

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Team Bora-hansgrohe sent me this update:

Today’s stage of only 150km, which started in Sanremo and featured few difficulties on the way to Cuneo, offered one of the last chances for the sprinters. Before heading into the mountains this weekend, the GC riders of the team from Raubling were focused on saving energy for the difficult days ahead.

The four-man breakaway ran out of luck in the end and were caught by the sprinters’ teams shortly before the finish line. In the sprint that ensued, Arnaud Démare prevailed over his rivals to take the day's win, while Jai Hindley, Emanuel Buchmann and Wilco Kelderman crossed the finish line in the same time as the stage winner. All BORA - hansgrohe GC riders moved up one place due to the withdrawal of Romain Bardet, who had fallen ill. Jai now sits in 4th place while Emanuel moved up to 8th and Wilco to 12th.

Jai Hindley (shown after stage nine) is fourth in the GC after stage thirteen. Sirotti photo/

"As expected, a small group managed to go clear and the sprinters' teams took control. The problem was the 10 km climb, where the sprinters lost significant time in the peloton to the leading group. We had a gap of about six minutes at the top and had to make that up in the last 90 km and that was super hard. We had tailwind for most of it and then towards the finale, gaps opened up in the peloton. We all arrived safely and our GC riders didn't lose any time. From that point, it was a good day for us, but it wasn't like it looked like on paper where it was possible to just ride easy." - Jens Zemke, Sports Director

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And here's the stage thirteen Giro report from second-place Phil Bauhaus' Team Bahrain Victorious:

Phil Bauhaus narrowly missed out on victory on stage 13, as Arnaud Démare (Groupama-FDJ) pipped him to the line in Cuneo.

Phil Bauhaus (on left) was close. Sirotti photo

The 150km stage from San Remo to Cuneo saw a break of five riders form and had a gap of around 6 minutes. Within the final 20km, they still held a 2:30 advantage, and it was touch and go whether the peloton would catch them as the sprint teams frantically put in the work.

With 500m to go, the peloton bridged the gap, and the sprinters prepared for the slightly uphill finish. Bauhaus showed his speed in the sprint but could only place runner up to Démare: “It was a hard and fast day. We caught the breakaway with 500m to go, and the last km was slightly uphill, making it super hard. The team positioned me quite well with 1.5km to go. I could then start my sprint, which was a free sprint to show what was possible for me. But I’m super disappointed for second place. It’s a good result, but if you are so close, you want to take the win for the team here, and it would have been nice.

Bauhaus remains optimistic about his chances for a stage win at this year’s Giro as stage 18 offers one more day for the fast men: “I think there is one more chance for sprinters, so maybe I can do one place better next time.”

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