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Giro d'Italia 2013: Stage 16

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Back to racing -- it's the last week of the Giro, with many more challenges coming up!

Welcome back to the Giro! The end is now in sight, with only six stages left to go. Today is a long one -- how will everyone have come through the hard (and cold!) weekend stages and a rest day?

Today's stage might look sort of familiar, but backwards, so to speak. The group will greet the Col du Telegraphe once more and tackle Mont Cenis again, before taking off towards to finish line. It's a long one, too, 238 kilometers.

As our stage preview puts it, “The stage will conclude with a loop around Ivrea, and with a mouthwatering climb to Andrate on the menu, the final 20 kilometres look terrific. It’s the perfect day for the break to stick, so everyone will be going for it. Which leads to the inescapable conclusion that the winner will be… anybody’s guess.”

If things have gone according to schedule, then the race should be underway already!

We have not yet heard how many riders took to the start today. 180 riders finished on Sunday, so 27 have left the race so far.

The race is indeed underway, and the peloton has stayed together for the first five kilometers. We doubt it will be too much longer before a break group forms. But will they really want to tackle the Cenis on their own?

Happy Birthday to Mark Cavendish! The Manxman turns 28 today. And for a look at what all he has done in this Giro, take a look at our photo gallery. Think he can take stage win number 5 today?
 

We have had our first breakaway attempt. Manuele Boaro (Saxo-Tinkoff) tried to get away early, but the peloton foiled his plans.

The field has reached the bottom of the Telegraphe and is now ready to climb Cenis. Oh joy.

What do the race leaders do on the rest day? Take a look at our newest gallery to see what Vincenzo Nibali and Cadel Evans did.

Today's stage starts out in France, but they cross the border back to Italy after 78.1 kilometers, on the Mont Cenis descent.

Riders continue to try and get away and continue to fail to do so. Stefano Pirazzi is near the front of the field -- he wants to grab those mountain points atop Cenis.

Speaking of race leaders, does everyone remember our top ten? If not, you can check them out here:

1     Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana Pro Team     62:02:34      
2     Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC Racing Team     0:01:26      
3     Rigoberto Uran Uran (Col) Sky Procycling     0:02:46      
4     Mauro Santambrogio (Ita) Vini Fantini-Selle Italia     0:02:47      
5     Michele Scarponi (Ita) Lampre-Merida     0:03:53      
6     Przemyslaw Niemiec (Pol) Lampre-Merida     0:04:35      
7     Carlos Alberto Betancur Gomez (Col) Ag2R La Mondiale     0:05:15      
8     Rafal Majka (Pol) Team Saxo-Tinkoff     0:05:20      
9     Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) Ag2R La Mondiale     0:05:57      
10     Benat Intxausti Elorriaga (Spa) Movistar Team     0:06:21      

 

208km remaining from 238km

The peloton has covered 30km now, and is still all together.

Do we have our first serious break attempt? Blanco's Wilco Kelderman has 20 seconds on the field.

Speaking of Blanco, they are down one (actually, down another one) today. Maarten Wijnants did not start. Jack Bobridge had earlier abandoned the race.

We now hear that he too has been caught. We must also say that there is not a lot of information available at the moment.

We now hear that he too has been caught. We must also say that there is not a lot of information available at the moment.


Mark Cavendish will celebrate his birthday in the red jersey of the leader in the points ranking:

1     Mark Cavendish (GBr) Omega Pharma-Quick Step     109      pts
2     Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC Racing Team     91      
3     Mauro Santambrogio (Ita) Vini Fantini-Selle Italia     84      
4     Carlos Alberto Betancur Gomez (Col) Ag2R La Mondiale     79      
5     Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana Pro Team     74      
6     Elia Viviani (Ita) Cannondale Pro Cycling     72      
7     Rigoberto Uran Uran (Col) Sky Procycling     71      
8     Giovanni Visconti (Ita) Movistar Team     61      
9     Giacomo Nizzolo (Ita) RadioShack Leopard     61      
10     Maxim Belkov (Rus) Katusha     55    

Either a very large group has gotten away or the peloton has split. The situation is not clear.

193km remaining from 238km

The leading group now has 46 seconds.

We'll bring you the names as soon as we have them.

The rest day seems to have reinvigorated a number of riders, with attacks right, left and centre.

The group of 16 have close to a minute on the main bunch now.

Kelderman was joined by 15 riders, with the names still to be confirmed through the race radio. It looks like we've got our break for the day.

184km remaining from 238km

54km of racing and the gap has gone out to two minutes.

The riders in the break are: Danny Pate (Sky), Wilco Kelderman (Blanco), Eros Capecchi (Movistar), Jose Herrada (Movistar), Grega Bole (Vacansoleil DCM), Tobias Ludvigsson (Argos), Christian Meier (Orica GreenEDGE), Stefano Pirazzi (Bardiani), Matteo Rabottini (Vini Fantini), Jackson Rodriguez (Androni), Emanuele Sella (Androni), Jose Serpa (Lampre-Merida), Rory Sutherland (Saxo-Tinkoff), Gorka Verdugo (Euskaltel), Pieter Weening (Orica GreenEDGE) and Ramunas Navardauskas (Garmin-Sharp)

The break's advantage has dropped though, it's down to 1'30 as they tackle the lower slopes of Mont Cenis.

We've seen a number of these riders jump clear in breaks throughout the race. Navardauskas is the only one to pick up a stage win though, while Pirazzi and Rodriguez are here to battle it out for the KOM points first and foremost.

The gap has now gone out to over 3 minutes, so the bunch are tackling the climb at a fairly conservative pace after yesterday's rest day.

Reinforcements have come up, with Di Luca, Atapuma, Caruso & Chalapud joining the break.

Zardini and De Greef are within 20 seconds of the lead group.

Since the lead field is nearly atop the Cenis, this mght be a good time to review the mountain rankings:

1     Stefano Pirazzi (Ita) Bardiani Valvole-CSF Inox     65      pts
2     Giovanni Visconti (Ita) Movistar Team     42      
3     Robinson Eduardo Chalapud Gomez (Col) Colombia     28      
4     Jackson Rodriguez (Ven) Androni Giocattoli     26      
5     Carlos Alberto Betancur Gomez (Col) Ag2R La Mondiale     23      
6     Mauro Santambrogio (Ita) Vini Fantini-Selle Italia     18      
7     Maxim Belkov (Rus) Katusha     18      
8     Rigoberto Uran Uran (Col) Sky Procycling     17      
9     Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana Pro Team     15      
10     Emanuele Sella (Ita) Androni Giocattoli     13      
 

And to no one's surprise, Pirazzi does it again, and takes 15 points for being first over the top.

170km remaining from 238km

Zardini and De Greef have caught the lead group, giving us 22 riders up front.

Caruso is the best-placed rider in the group, at 9:57 down.

And just to have them all together in one place again, our break group consists of:


Danny Pate (Sky), Wilco Kelderman (Blanco), Eros Capecchi (Movistar), Jose Herrada (Movistar), Grega Bole (Vacansoleil DCM), Tobias Ludvigsson (Argos), Christian Meier (Orica GreenEDGE), Stefano Pirazzi (Bardiani), Matteo Rabottini (Vini Fantini), Jackson Rodriguez (Androni), Emanuele Sella (Androni), Jose Serpa (Lampre-Merida), Rory Sutherland (Saxo-Tinkoff), Gorka Verdugo (Euskaltel), Pieter Weening (Orica GreenEDGE) and Ramunas Navardauskas (Garmin-Sharp), Edoardo Zardini (Bardiani Valvole), Francis De Greef (Lotto Belisol), Danilo Di Luca (Vini Fantini), Darwin Atapuma (Colombia), Damiano Caruso (Cannondale) and Robinson Chalapud (Colombia)
 

157km remaining from 238km

The Giro d'Italia has returned to Italy! They crossed the boundary from France on the descent.

Looks like Pirazzi didn't get those 15 points after all. Officialy it is now said that Rodriguez was first over the line, with Pirazzi second and Sella third.

The peloton is keeping this group on a short line -- the gap is remaining steady around the 3 minute mark.

The lead group has gone some 98 km now, and is nearly at the foot of the descent. From there it is rolling-to-bumpy until the climb near the end.

And so far the gap is still holding at 3 minutes.

Let's look at some more of the special classificaitons, such as the sprint ranking:

1     Rafael Andriato (Bra) Vini Fantini-Selle Italia     20      pts
2     Maxim Belkov (Rus) Katusha     19      
3     Cameron Wurf (Aus) Cannondale Pro Cycling     18      
4     Pim Ligthart (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team     15      
5     Giovanni Visconti (Ita) Movistar Team     13      
6     Marco Marcato (Ita) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team     13      
7     Bert De Backer (Bel) Team Argos-Shimano     13      
8     Elia Viviani (Ita) Cannondale Pro Cycling     11      
9     Matteo Rabottini (Ita) Vini Fantini-Selle Italia     11      
10     Patrick Gretsch (Ger) Team Argos-Shimano     10     

As expected, the gap has started to grow now that the terrain has flattened out. It is up to 3:30.

Most combative rider to date is Giovanni Visconti (Movistar), best young rider is Carlos Betancur (AG2R), and best team is Sky.
 

131km remaining from 238km

The gap is now at 4:20. But remember, we aren't even halfway through the stage yet!

The group was apparently too big for Sella. He has tried to jump, followed by Kelderman and Navardauskas.

They didn't get away, though.

There are two ranked climbs in today's stage, the Cenis early on – you remember that one, with all the snow banks – but the more interesting one comes near the finish. The Andrate is only a category three, but it has a six km long climb, with a gradient of up to 13%. Then there is a 10 km long descent, leaving about 7.5 km of flat run-in to the finish. Although there is a significant bump with about two km to go, which could be the scene of the final escape attempt....

 

The feeding zone has been reached, marking roughly the half-way mark in the stage.

Team Sky realize that they can probably no longer win this Giro -- but they are determined to do what they can against Vincenzo Nibali.

Sky's Dario Cataldo has an unusual hobby:  designing shoes. Racing shoes, that is. Take a look and listen here.

Astana is leading the chase, of course.

105km remaining from 238km

The gap was never huge, and has now started creeping down, to 3:50.

It is cool and slightly overcast today -- which by this Giro's standards, is fantastic weather.

Taylor Phinney has abandoned the Giro. The BMC rider had to leave due to saddle sores.

90km remaining from 238km

Nothing has really changed. The 22 riders up front have a 4:04 lad, and Astana is leading the chase.

Fabio Felline of Androni has jumped from the field and has a few meters' lead. Is he seriously trying to move up? No. He stopped to greet family and friends on the side of the road.

Navardauskas leads the break. He would no doubt dearly love to take another stage win here.

Lotto's Kenny De Haes does some fancy leg stretching exercises on his bike, while riding at full speed.

Stefano Garzelli has dropped back to the VIni Fantini car for a moment.

Unfortunately we see a few raindrops. We hope there aren't any more!

Sella tried once again to get away, but was again unsuccessful. And the gap has now crept up to 4:44.

German Andreas Klier spent 17 years on the bike, and has just now moved over to the team car. He talked to Cyclingnews about what is like “on the other side”.

The lead group is going over one of those bumps on the road, with Di Lucas leading the way.

The lead group is back in sunshine again, and now has a gap of 5:04.

The gap got too high for Astana, we gather. Katusha and RadioShack are helping with the chase, and the peloton is strung out single file, flying along.

Euskaltel's Verdugo drops back to the team care to take off and drop off his arm warmers.

Evans is tucked in safely amongst his teammates, looking grim, as usual.

64km remaining from 238km

The gap has dropped to four minutes, and falling, but it looks like the peloton has taken the speed out a bit.

RadioShack and Katusha have now firmly taken control of the chase, and the gap has dropped to 3:19.

RadioShack is apparently riding in support of Robert Kiserlovski, who is 11th overall. Evidently they see the break group as a thread to that.

The gap is really plummeting now, down to 2:34. Is it time to start the chorus of "Don't catch them too soon....." ?

 

We have the first intermedaite sprint of the day. Rabbotini, Di Luca and Pirazzi jump for the points.

The field crosses the sprint line 2:10 down. The points went in this order: Di Luca, Rabottni, Pirazzi.

51km remaining from 238km

Pate and Sutherland realize the end is approaching for this group, and take off.

Meier gives chase and catches them.

In fact the group is splitting into smaller groups, as the gap has dropped to 1:58.

Navaradauskas leads a group up to the three leaders and just flies on by.

The front group had come together, but Pate tries again. Rodriguez catches him, with more behind him. The group is sort-of together now but certainly not working as a group.

Carus now leads a little group. He is in fact, the reason for the whole chase. If he would drop back, the field may very well just let the rest of the break group go.

Rabottini is the next to jump, followed by all of the others....

Winning the 15th stage was a very emotional moment for Giovanni Visconti (Movistar), particularly with regards to its association with Marco Pantani – the two men share the same birthday.

Constant attacks out of the lead group. Verdugo and Navardauskas give it a go -- but no go.

We have two riders in front, Kelderman and Sella, with Pate giving chase.

Meanwhile we have 39km to go and the gap is 1.28.

Pat has caught the other two leaders, and they have a 19 second gap.

The former break group has now broken up. They have entered the finish town of Ivrea and will take off on a 40km circuit course, including the final climb, before coming back to town for the finish line.

Di Luca apparently had a mechanical problem and is already back in the peloton.

There is a group of five chasing the three leaders: Navardauskas, Verdugo, Bole, Pirazzi and Herrada

 

This new situation seems to make the peloton happy again. The gap goes back up to 1:30.

30km remaining from 238km

30km to go, and it won't be easy for those three out there in front.

At last RadioShack is happy with things they are now, and they have pulled out of the lead work.

All the gaps are falling: 15 seconds to the chase group, and 1:11 to the peloton.

The five chasers have caught the three leaders, giving us eight up front now. The gap is only 49 seconds back to the field, though.

23km remaining from 238km

PIrazzi promptly jumps, and Kelderman gives chase.

oh dear, some male fans wearing what look like bumble bee tutus..... as the group catches Pirazzi again.

RadioShack back up front again, as they climb up through some very narrow streets in town.

A Colombia rider has now jumped from the field.

Herrado and Verdugo have a minimal lead on the group, as thy suffer up the steepest part of the climb.

The Colombia rider is Duarte, and he has now caught the first rider to fall back from the chase group.

Navardauskas has joined the two leaders.

Bole is definitely suffering on this long climb.

Looks like Cavendish is dropping off the back of the field.

Many attacks out of the peloton now.

Nibali and Evans, with other favourites, are in a group which has gotten a gap on the field.

Kangert is now at the front of the favourites' group, doing the job he has done so often in this race.

Herrade pulls away, but Navardauskas pulls up to him.

Pirazzi moves up to the leaders, and takes off on his own. Durae is the next to go, having caught the leading group.

The lead group comes togethr and falls apart with regulartiy. But Pirazzi is desperate to get the mountain points, and keeps jumping.

Santanbrogiu is not in the group of favourites.

Duarte is the next to go from the lead group, but the favourites' group is only seconds back.

PIrazzi fights hard to follow Duarte.

Pirazzi jumps yet again and passes Duarte. Behind them, Nibali has moved in front of Kangert, ready to react to any danger.

Pelizotti attacks out of the favourites' group, which is now only a few meters behind the two leaders.

It looks as if Pirazzi will have no chance for thoese points. Nibali leads the chase that catches the two.

Pirazzi won't give up, as he attackes yet again. But Betancur passes him with an attack -- not to get the mountain points (which he does) but to go for the whole thing!

PIrazzi does pick up four points and promptly slows down - his work is done for the day.

Scarponi was third over the mountain.

Looks like about 15 riders chasing Betancur on this descent. Samuel Sanchez of Euskaltel is nearing him, and the Colombian is happy to have the support.

A very technical descent, some narrow cobbled roads in town, turning over to woods and countryside.

Santambrogio is not in the favourites' group but does perhaps have a chance to catch them again.

Nibali comes close to a wall on a curve -- very close...

NIbali has jumped and is ctching up to the two leaders!

Is he looking for the stage win here?

Scarponi has also caught the three leaders, so we have a high-powerd foursome in front -- with two more just catching them.

That is too many for Sanchez, who goes n front. Evans has now caught the lead group, and we gather, Uran as well.

As they near the bottom, Betancur takes a slight lead.

He is back int the group, which is now about 12-15 riders.

Lampre has two riders at the front, and Nibali moves to be with them.

Kangert jumps! And is promptly marked by Gesink.

Uran joins them, and Nibali sees the danger, moving up to join them.

Santambrogio is now two minutes back. He is leading a small group with several Sky riders in it, and they are certainly not going to help him move up and potentially endanger Uran's GC osition.

Constant attacks out of the lead group.

4km remaining from 238km

Pelizzoti goes.

The othrs give chase, with Uran covering a move by Majka.

2.8km to go, and who attacks? Pirazzi again!

1.8km and now Sanchez jumps. Gesink with a mechanical problem.

NIemic, Intxausti and Kangert togther in the lead, with only few hundred meters to go.

The three poker around -- who will go first?

Niemiec goes first!

Then Intxausti goes for it, and takes the win just ahead of Kangert!

Navardauskas leads the group of favourites over the line. Santambrogio is still on the road.

He fnally crosses the line at 2:23 down, with is 2:10 behind Nibali.

Our top ten on the stage:

1 Benat Intxausti Elorriaga (Spa) Movistar Team 5:52:48
2 Tanel Kangert (Est) Astana Pro Team
3 Przemyslaw Niemiec (Pol) Lampre-Merida
4 Ramunas Navardauskas (Ltu) Garmin-Sharp 0:00:14
5 Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC Racing Team 0:00:14
6 Franco Pellizotti (Ita) Androni Giocattoli 0:00:14
7 Michele Scarponi (Ita) Lampre-Merida 0:00:14
8 Rafal Majka (Pol) Team Saxo-Tinkoff 0:00:14
9 José Herrada Lopez (Spa) Movistar Team 0:00:14
10 Carlos Alberto Betancur Gomez (Col) AG2R La Mondiale 0:00:14

And our top ten in GC:

1  Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana Pro Team  67:55:36  
2  Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC Racing Team  0:01:26  
3  Rigoberto Uran Uran (Col) Sky Procycling  0:02:46  
4  Michele Scarponi (Ita) Lampre-Merida  0:03:53  
5  Przemyslaw Niemiec (Pol) Lampre-Merida  0:04:13  
6  Mauro Santambrogio (Ita) Vini Fantini-Selle Italia  0:04:57  
7  Carlos Alberto Betancur Gomez (Col) AG2R La Mondiale  0:05:15  
8  Rafal Majka (Pol) Team Saxo-Tinkoff  0:05:20  
9  Benat Intxausti Elorriaga (Spa) Movistar Team  0:05:47  
10  Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) AG2R La Mondiale  0:07:34

One more down, five more to go! Join us again tomorrow for another exciting Giro stage!

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