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Giro d'Italia 2012: Stage 13


Hello and welcome to Cyclingnews' live coverage from stage 13 of the Giro d'Italia from Savona to Cervere. After yesterday's 243km slog we've 121km to race through today. It looks set to be a sprinters' stage but with 12 days of hard racing in their legs the peloton might opt for another easy day and let a break go all the way to the finish. Stay tuned for all the action.

Good afternoon and welcome to Cyclingnews' live coverage from stage 13 of the 2012 Giro d'Italia, a 121km journey from Savona to Cervere. The riders have just started and we'll bring you right up with the action once they move out of the neutralized zone.

We're racing in the lushwine producing Langhe. It’s not unlike Chiantishire, but has a fraction of the tourists, paying a fraction of the price. A miniature version of the Tour of Piedmont, it’s likely to come together for a big old gallop.

Bergonzi :

Rodriguez continues to lead the race, after Liquigas cleverly chased the break yesterday. Their clear tactic was to keep their Spanish rival in the lead and put him on the defensive in the mountains. The Spaniard has a huge kick and turn of speed but Liquigas will question whether he can close out a three-week stage race; something he's never accomplished. He was of course in the lead at the 2010 Vuelta but blew in spectacular fashion in the final time trial. He's a lot better against the clock these days so we're in for a tense weekend of racing.

Here's where we stand in GC, with J-Rod leading by 17 seconds. Gadret and Schleck are the two men out of the frame at the moment but there are enough tough stages in which they could climb back into the reckoning. It will be tough though. Basso, Scarponi, Pozzovivo, Kreuziger all look strong.

1 Joaquim Rodriguez Oliver (Spa) Katusha Team 51:19:08
2 Ryder Hesjedal (Can) Garmin - Barracuda 0:00:17
3 Sandy Casar (Fra) FDJ-Big Mat 0:00:26
4 Paolo Tiralongo (Ita) Astana Pro Team 0:00:32
5 Ivan Santaromita (Ita) BMC Racing Team 0:00:49
6 Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Astana Pro Team 0:00:52
7 Benat Intxausti Elorriaga (Spa) Movistar Team
8 Ivan Basso (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale 0:00:57
9 Damiano Caruso (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale 0:01:02
10 Dario Cataldo (Ita) Omega Pharma-Quickstep 0:01:03
11 Eros Capecchi (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale 0:01:09
12 Rigoberto Uran Uran (Col) Sky Procycling 0:01:10
13 Michele Scarponi (Ita) Lampre - ISD 0:01:11
14 Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) Colnago - CSF Inox 0:01:12

As for the weather at the start: In Savona the weather was cloudy with temperatures of 20 degrees centigrade. Similar weather is expected in Cervere with a risk of rain.

110km remaining from 121km

In the race for the Maglia Rossa, the situation is very tight:

If Goss wins today and Cavendish finishes out the points then the Orica man will take over the lead in the points competition. It's currently 2-1 to Cavendish in terms of sprint wins. Interestingly Cavendish has been contesting intermediate sprints so perhaps he's planning on racing all the way through this year's Giro...

The gap between the two leaders and the peloton has gone out to 3:45. It's a lost cause, surely?

Taylor Phinney near the back of the bunch as the two leaders press on ahead. There are good crowds out today, and the two leaders have 100km to race.

The gap has already started to come down, it's at 3:17 now.

I'm just going to quickly plug a feature, on Miguel Indurain and the 1996 Olympic Games, where he won the TT.

And in the news this morning, Piva has talked about Rodriguez's chances of winning the Giro. He's put his rider's chances at 50 per cent. I'm not sure if that's glass half empty or glass half full. It's certainly cautious. Or is it optimistic? I'm not sure.

We have a Netapp rider on the deck and it looks like a broken collar bone for reto hollenstein. He's in an ambulance, his race over.

92km remaining from 121km

The Giro d’Italia has finished in Savona four times but has never started from the Liguarian town until this year. Cervere has never hosted a start or finish of the Giro d’Italia.

Back in the bunch and the Liquigas team are hovering near the front. They wont have to work to hard today and will be keeping their powder dry for the weekend.

Farnese haven't come away with anything from the Giro yet. Super Pippo crashed out and Guardini has found the race to be a tough learning curve. Failli has been on the attack a few time but hasn't been able to pull of the win. The Italian takes 3 points at the top the climb and now it's a long descent. Failli stretches his back, tucking his arms under his chest to make himself as aero as possible. And he shows great skill in keeping his position around a number of corners.

The most outrageous/dangerous aero position I've ever seen was about a decade ago. Ekimov would use bar extensions but have then under his bars, so reaching the breaks was virtually impossible.

Golas takes 1 point at the top of the climb and the bunch are 5:22 back.

38km remaining from 121km

Keizer has dropped his chain and he's lost a bit of ground.

Keizer has made it back to Failli, but the gap has come down, it's not at 4:46 with 75 km to race.

The bunch have strung out with FDJ joining forces with Sky. The French team will be working for Derame, another sprinter who has been on a steep learning curve in this year's race. Saying that, today's stage, with it's shorter distance could suit him. He's giving it a go.

71km remaining from 121km

Cavendish moves up, and joins the back of the Sky/FDJ train. He'll want his third stage win of the race today.

Astana, Lampre, Liquigas have all moved up towards the front of the bunch. They're all protecting their leaders, keeping them out of the wind and out of trouble. They also want to match each other pedal stroke for pedal stroke.

Keizer's car comes up and the rider drops back and picks up some food and a new bottle. The gap has come down to 3;33 and with 63km to race the bunch will be content to let the leaders hang out there for a bit longer.

There are some dark clouds in the distance. That will be a concern for later in the stage, perhaps.

The finish: it's a 3km drag, which would have been perfect for Petacchi if he'd decided to ride the Giro this year.

In the bunch, Visconti and  Ballan ride alongside each other.

The two leaders ride into Mondovi, their gap still around the 3 minute mark but the bunch are in complete control.

50km remaining from 121km

Just two minutes now for the leaders up the road.

Away from the Giro, and in Denmark, there's talk of Fuglsang and Breschel going back to Saxo Bank in 2013.

The long, flat roads aren't helping the breakaway riders and as the bunch pass under the 45km banner, the gap is 1:40.

Meier, who has done a lot of work for Orica already in this race, sets the pace. Goss will be in contention today and with a stage win already in his pocket, he should be Cavendish's closet rival.

Rabobank are also looking for their first stage in the race. With two sprinters in Bos and Renshaw they have two riders worth backing but so far in this race, they've yet to form a successful partnership. Both riders will want to go for the win but surely they need to work together.

Cavendish has dropped back to the Sky team car for a word and perhaps to change his helmet. He's been playing with the strap for number of minutes.

The world champion begins to move back towards the front of the bunch.

33km remaining from 121km

The bunch have allowed Keizer and Failli a few more seconds, and the pair stretch their lead to 1;22.

30km remaining from 121km

Androni have moved up as well, Ferrari is their man for the sprint and already has a win, and huge pill up to his name.

Schleck has moved up, not for the sprint, but just to make sure he doesnt lose even more time in GC.

23km remaining from 121km

Here comes the slow-mo handshake between the two men up the road. They're about to be caught.

And we're all together.

FDJ, Orica, and Saxo Bank for JJ Haedo have all come to the front of the bunch, and Sky, have yet to signal their intent in the final 30km. We've got 20km to race and this is a slightly different approach from Sky who have controlled the peloton from a long way out on a number of occasions in the race.

And here come Rabobank, they're almost looking around at each other as if they dont know what to do. That's a worrying sign.

Possibly the last chance for the sprinters and if Rabobank want a stage they have to get their tactics right today: Bos or Renshaw, one surely has to sacrifice their chances for the other.

Orica, with 6 riders, have shown their intent, they've had to come around Astana and Lampre though.

Eisel is in the fourth row, Cavendish with him but Sky haven't poured to the front yet.

Now Sky begin to get their troops together, cleverly allowing Orica to do all the work at the moment.

GreenEdge, Sky, Rabo, three trains forming near the front of the bunch.

10km remaining from 121km

There's a slight climb but it's not long enough to really trouble any of the sprinters.

Cavendish is around 6th back, Goss, Renshaw, Bos, Guardini, Haedo, Modolo, they're all there. Ferrari too.

GreenEdge control the bunch on the descent and there's a crash. An FDJ rider, and rider from Netapp. Rollin is the FDJ rider. 

Sky push on, through a cluster of riders, organising their leadout train and setting things up for the sprint.

They're not having it all their own way though, Movistar and Liquigas have also flexed their muscles.

6km remaining from 121km

The trio have about 70 metres Berard, Fellini and Vermote but it doesn't look like it has legs.

Garmin and Sky are working together to bring this one back. I assume Garmin are working for Robbie Hunter, who has won stages in all three grand tours.

It's all over, the group has been caught.

Farnese have set three men to the front for Guardini.

No one team has really stamped their authority on this finish yet. 3.8 km to go.

Just as I say that Sky and Saxo lock horns on the front. Saxo coming out on top and surge to the head of the field.

Haedo looks strong. Eisel gets onto his wheel.

Around a tight bend and Renshaw is on his own.

He's on Cav's wheel.

Saxo will lead us into the final km.

But Sky come over the top.

Sky are in charge, 1.3 to go.

Cav, Renshaw, then Saxo, and GreenEdge.

Cavendish has three men on the front.

Here come Orica

Hunter is there

Hunter is there

Orica take over

Cavendish takes it.

That was perhaps the best sprint of the race so far.

The Sky sprinter appeared boxed in with 200 to go as Orica came over the top . It was Sky and Orica neck and neck , then Hunter came through and Cavendish too his wheel.

Goss who appeared to be perfectly placed when too early, Cav appeared to hold back before coming under Hunter and through the middle of the back. That's his third win in the race.

Kristoff came through to take second, Renshaw 3rd, Modolo 4th, Goss 6th.

1 Mark Cavendish (GBr) Sky Procycling 3:02:07
2 Alexander Kristoff (Nor) Katusha Team
3 Mark Renshaw (Aus) Rabobank Cycling Team
4 Sacha Modolo (Ita) Colnago - CSF Inox
5 Elia Favilli (Ita) Farnese Vini - Selle Italia
6 Matthew Harley Goss (Aus) Orica GreenEdge Cycling Team
7 Arnaud Demare (Fra) FDJ-Big Mat
8 Lucas Sebastian Haedo (Arg) Team Saxo Bank

General classification after stage 13 1 Joaquim Rodriguez Oliver (Spa) Katusha Team 54:21:15
2 Ryder Hesjedal (Can) Garmin - Barracuda 0:00:17
3 Sandy Casar (Fra) FDJ-Big Mat 0:00:26
4 Paolo Tiralongo (Ita) Astana Pro Team 0:00:32
5 Ivan Santaromita (Ita) BMC Racing Team 0:00:49
6 Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Astana Pro Team 0:00:52
7 Benat Intxausti Elorriaga (Spa) Movistar Team
8 Ivan Basso (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale 0:00:57
9 Damiano Caruso (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale 0:01:02
10 Dario Cataldo (Ita) Omega Pharma-Quickstep 0:01:03

Thanks for joining us today, for what has been another thrilling stage at the Giro d'Italia. Check back here for results, news, images, and the report.

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