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Giro d'Italia 2013: Stage 14


Good morning and welcome to Cyclingnews' live coverage from stage 14 of the Giro d'Italia.

You join us with less than ten minutes until the start of the race but outside the team buses, race organisers are frantically informing the teams an riders about the route change for today.

An hour before the start of Saturday’s 14th stage of the Giro d’Italia and race organisers have announced that the climb to Sestriere has been cut from the route due to bad weather.

We've just spoken to Giro d’Italia race director Mauro Vegni, who is at least hopeful of saving tomorrow's stage from Cesana Torinese to the Galibier, telling reporters that "we're still waiting on confirmation from French authorities but at least we' hope to save the stage."

Riders are now line-up for the start of the stage, which will begin in seven minutes.

This isn't the first time Sestriere has been at the centre of a route change in a grand tour. In the 1996 Tour de France snow also saw a route change. That was stage 9 from Le Monêtier-les-Bains to Sestrières, which was shortened to 46km. That day the climb was kept in and it was still enough distance for Bjarne Riis to blow the race apart and take the yellow jersey from Evgeni Berzin.

The change in route could well suit a break if it's able to establish itself this morning. Teams will have drawn up plans for today with or without the climb to Sestriere but if a break can build a healthy lead before the final climb they'll have a stronger chance than if they'd taken in the climb to Sestriere.

Here's where we stand on GC heading into today's stage:

The rain has started to come down quite heavily in the opening kilometres of the race.

Some more news from the start.  We have four DNS' Daniele Bennati (TST), Karsten Kroon (TST) , Gert Steegmans (OPQ) and Jack Bobridge (BLA).

156km remaining from 168km

The peloton seem happy to roll along through Fossano and Genola at a steady pace. The rain continues to fall but there have been no significant attacks from the peloton.

There's action off the front of the bunch at last and it looks like a break has gone clear. We'll bring you the names as soon as we have them.

Some confusion over both the numbers and the riders in the break. Please hold on as we try and clarify the situation.

Confirmation: The four riders up the road are Sonny Colbrelli (Bardiani Valvole-CSF Inox), Luca Paolini (Katusha), Matteo Trentin (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) and Daniele Pietropolli (Lampre-Merida).

141km remaining from 168km

Vande Velde:

Vande Velde:

It's yet to be seen whether the stage will be harder. Sestriere is a formidable climb and would have certain sapped the energy of the riders in the peloton before the final climb. It's really up to the peloton and their speed, as to whether the change in route makes the racing harder. They may tackle the final climb to the finish with fresher legs but that could make the pace even harder.

Paolini is the best place rider in the break in GC. He's 47:31 down on Nibali, so no threat whatsoever.

137km remaining from 168km

118km remaining from 168km

With Bobridge pulling out of the race, Edwin Alcibiades Avila Vanegas (Colombia) is now the last man in the GC. He's 2:37:53 down on race leader Vincenzo Nibali. The Colombia team have fired off a few riders in early break in the race but they'll be hoping for better results in the second half of the race, especially on stages like today.

Darwin Atapuma is the team's best placed rider on GC. He actually won a stage in Trentino last year and the team will be hoping he can produce a stage win in this year's Giro d'Italia.

106km remaining from 168km

Away from the Giro, and Travis Tygart, has come out and criticised the UCI again. He's said that the UCI hasn't taken any decisive anti-doping action since Armstrong case.

The UCI pulled the independent commission, failed to back the Dutch federation's incentives to offer an amnesty, publicly criticised both USADA and WADA, and have kept the same power structure since the USADA report came out. That's pretty decisive in one sense but not quite on the side of Tygart's stance on what constitutes anti-doping. They did back an appeal on the Puerto case though.

The break race towards Pinerolo. Danilo di Luca won a stage there in 2009 while in the maglia rosa.

That stage started in Cuneo, where the Tour de France had a rest day the year before.

There was also a stage from Cuneo to Pinerolo in 1949, while the location for today's stage start in Cevere was a finishing location for a stage last year... Cavendish won there.

there's been a heavy fall in the bunch for Vanotti, Battaglin and Chalapud. Ambulance necessary.

Reports are that vanoitti and battaglin have left the race.

91km remaining from 168km

The rain continues to pour down on the peloton, as Nibali tucks into his lunch. He's well protected by his Astana teammates and near the head of the field.

Astana are joined on the front by Sky and Cannondale in the pace setting duties. We still have a major climb to come and it's a moment to test the credentials of Uran as a GC leader. It's a slightly different dynamic for the Sky rider, who is clearly strong, but now has the responsibility of a team leadership resting on his shoulders.

Meanwhile the rain continues at the stage finish. The break have around 80km of racing left.

Reports coming through that battaglin has a suspected broken collarbone.

75km remaining from 168km

Millar also climbing off. He suffered a crash in the opening stage and had a poor TTT and TT. He'll now go home and prepare for the Tour de France.

The four leaders still have a lead in excess of 9 minutes.

Although Trentin crashed out of the break, Cavendish will still be hoping that the break survives as it means valuable points will be taken away from the likes of Nibali and Evans, in the race for the points jersey.

55km remaining from 168km

A reminder of where we currently stand on GC:

Light snow now falling at the finishline, reports Stephen Farrand, who is at the line for Cyclingnews.

45km remaining from 168km

AFP are confirming, via French officials that the Galibier and the Col du Mont Cenis have been withdrawn from tomorrow' stage. RCS are scrambling to come up with a new route.

The gap has started to come down, it's just hovering around 8 minutes. The break are starting to climb as the road twitches upwards as Astana and Sky continue to set the pace at the front of the peloton.

The leaders Sonny Colbrelli (Bardiani Valvole-CSF Inox), Luca Paolini (Katusha), Matteo Trentin (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) and Daniele Pietropolli (Lampre-Merida), have over 7 minutes of their lead. It's looking good for a stage win coming from the break.

The four leaders will probably need around 5-6 minutes by the foot of the final climb if they're to stand any chance of winning today's stage.

Race radio crackles through and apparently Trentin is in difficulty.

22km remaining from 168km

Conditions have cleared up a bit at the finish, a lot of the fog has lifted but there's still quite a bit of rain.

Despite slipping back Trentin, a ride more for the flat and sprints, will need to dig deep. Omega will want him to finish ahead of the peloton.

Sky continue to lead the peloton at the moment. Uran, he needs to bring back time on Nibali, either by dropping him or in bonus seconds, preferably both from a Sky point of view.

153km remaining from 168km

Despite the condition out at the finish there are still decent enough crowds.

7km remaining from 168km

It's a heavily reduced peloton, with around 30-40 riders. The rest have either been dropped or have sat up.

Race radio blasts out that Pietropolli has been dropped, leaving just Paolini and Colbrelli at the head of affairs.

Michele Acquarone:

The mist and fog have descended on the finishing line once again as the two leaders enter the final 4km .

Pietropolli has made it back to the front so we now have three leaders once again.

Nibali is sitting in around 5th wheel at the moment.

As Trentin now slips to 2 minutes down on the leaders.

Evans rides close to the maglia rosa but this peloton is down to less than 30 men now.

Sky has sent Henao up the road and he's been marked by an Androni rider. It looks like Rosa.

Pellizotti has apparently attacked and is 2'05 off the leaders, who have 2'6km to go.

Touch and go, the maglia rosa group are just 1'23 down on the break

Under 2km to go.

Henao, Pellizotti and Rosa have formed a small counter attack but the bunch aren't far behind.

Pietropolli has been dropped again.

And the maglia rosa group is now just 43 seconds down on the leaders.

And the maglia rosa group is now just 43 seconds down on the leaders.

Just 1km to go and race radio say Nibali has made a move.

Paolini is alone. And Evans comes back up to Nibali along with a few other favourites.

Betancur is with Evans and Nibali now.

Can Paolini hang on?

Santambrogio comes out of the fog with Nibali on his wheel.

Evans has been dropped and Paolini caught.

Santambrogio leads into the final 200.

Nibali wants him to stay on the front but surely he wont gift him a stage.

Santambrogio takes the win in a sprint from Nibali.

Uran is just ahead of Cadel Evans as Sanchez takes third.

Evans comes over the line now 36 seconds down but that's before we factor in time bonuses.

Riders are trickling over the line one after another. Here comes Scarponi. He's lost a lot of time today.

Scarponi is surrounded by a scrum of journalists at the finish and asked to explain what happened to him on the climb. It's not what the 2011 winner would have wanted from today, that's for sure.

The advantage has been rammed home by Nibali today. He's put time into all his major rivals.

Apologies it was Betancur in third and Sanchez in fourth. Paolini finished in 19th.

Gesink now comes over the line, over four minutes down. His podium hopes are all over now.

1 Mauro Santambrogio (Ita) Vini Fantini-Selle Italia 4:42:55
2 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana Pro Team 0:00:00
3 Carlos Alberto Betancur Gomez (Col) AG2R La Mondiale 0:00:09
4 Samuel Sanchez Gonzalez (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi 0:00:26
5 Rigoberto Uran Uran (Col) Sky Procycling 0:00:30
6 Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC Racing Team 0:00:33
7 Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) AG2R La Mondiale 0:00:33
8 Robert Kiserlovski (Cro) RadioShack Leopard 0:00:33
9 Sonny Colbrelli (Ita) Bardiani Valvole-CSF Inox 0:00:55
10 Damiano Caruso (Ita) Cannondale Pro Cycling 0:00:58

And here's the GC after today's stage:

Thanks for joining us today. Stay tuned for live coverage later today from the Amgen Tour of California.

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