Only 20 riders fought it out for the stage win on a day that, on paper, looked like one for the sprinters. There were only two categorised climbs, both inside the final 30 kilometres.
The profile was particularly suited for Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe), who has made a habit of using late, short climbs on mostly flat stages to ditch the faster sprinters. Indeed, points classification leader Arnaud Démare (Groupama-FDJ) was dropped on the Calaone climb with 16km to go as the road tilted up to nearly a 20 per cent grade.
However, Sagan also was dropped and although he chased furiously in a small group, they were no match for a determined Deceuninck-QuickStep squad who looked to set up race leader João Almeida for the sprint. The Portuguese rider came close, but Ulissi had more speed and won the stage by half a wheel.
The time bonus helped Almeida stretch his lead over Wilco Kelderman (Team Sunweb) to 40 seconds heading into the individual time trial on stage 14.
Thank you for signing up to Cycling News. You will receive a verification email shortly.
There was a problem. Please refresh the page and try again.