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Giro d'Italia 2018: Viviani makes it a hat trick with win on Stage 13

Viviani takes the stage while Simon Yates enjoys a relaxing day in the fight for pink

Joe Robinson
18 May 2018

Elia Viviani (Quick-Step Floors) made the sprint into Nervesa della Battaglia on Stage 13 look routine as he rode to his third stage victory of the 2018 Giro d'Italia.

The Italian left it until the final 200 metres to launch his sprint managing to keep a fast finishing Sam Bennett (Bora-Hansgrohe) and Danny Van Poppel (LottoNL-Jumbo) at bay. This win help solidfy his position in the best sprinter's jersey.

With Monte Zoncolan lurking tomorrow, the General Classification riders took it easy. Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) retained the pink jersey keeping the same time gap over Tom Dumoulin (Team Sunweb).

The stage how it happened 

When the riders woke this morning no doubt that a collective sigh of relief was given when they looked out of the window. Stage 13 from Ferrara to Nervesa della Battaglia was going to be a dry one. 

The 180km route was largely flat and sitting the day before Monte Zoncolan was expected to be a relaxed one.

A few rises close to the line could give some a hope of dropping the sprinters but it was likely that the fast men would prosper.

Only a few kilometres passed before the day's breakaway formed and as expected, it consisted of riders from the three Italian ProContinental teams as well as Mikel Irizar (Trek-Segafredo) and Marco Marcato of UAE-Team Emirates.

Of the three Italian ProContinental riders, one was Andrea Vendrame of Androni-Sidermec. Yep, that's 12 breakaways out of 12 for Gianni Savio and his boys in red. They really do deserve their stage victory.

As the breakaway worked together, Quick-Step Floors and Bora-Hansgrohe formed in line to begin the day's chase for their sprinters. Sam Bennett (Bora-Hansgrohe) will be looking to close down on Elia Viviani's maglia ciclamino. 

Ahead, there was some heat in the break as Irizar and and Marcato began to aruge over workload. Why? Who knows, maybe because they realised their chances of reaching the finish line were slim.

The gap hovered around the 3 minute 30 second mark as the peloton rolled through the 70km mark. The final ahead finished in a similar neck of the woods to the 1985 World Championships as won by Dutch rider Joop Zoetemelk. 

Harking back to the old days, as the peloton headed through the town of Martellago, local lad Paolo Simion (Bardiani-CSF) was allowed 20 metres ahed of the group. He waved to the spectators who cheered the presence of one of their own sons. 

While the five riders ahead snapped up the lion's share of sprint points at the intermediate sprint point, Viviani proved the savviest of those behind sneakily working his way up the peloton riding across the line six to slightly enlarge his lead on Bennett.

Final 45km and the time gap had dropped to within 1 minute 15 seconds as talk of a wet finish to the stage began to circulate.

With 30km remaining, the break passed through the finish line to start the loop back home. The peloton was only 55 seconds adrift with Bora and Quick-Step still sharing the workload in a civil manor.

Just as we hit a quiet patch, a couple of riders decided to make a bit for glory including Tony Martin (Katusha-Alpecin) and Krists Neilands (Israel Cycling Academy). Neilands presence was the first we have seen of the Israeli team for some while.

They were caught as the rain began to fall. The roads started to become damp and the pace began to rise. Marcato crested the climb for the break who held an advantage of 30 seconds for a Groupama-FDJ-led peloton.

Concern set in for those in the bunch as Quick-Step and Bora called the bluff of others. They were not going to allow the likes of EF-Drapac and Bahrain-Merida surf their wheels to the finish. The gap came down slower with 20 seconds with 10km left to run.

Katusha-Alpecin then began to take up the chase but for who it was unsure. Baptiste Planckaert maybe?

The peloton was strung out. such was the pace set by Katusha's Alex Dowsett. The break was caught as 6km remaining ticked by and Martin reassumed the front.

The race entered the last 4km with Katusha leading and the sprint teams lurking behind ready to strike for the line.