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Giro d'Italia 2013: Stage 18


Hello and welcome to Cyclingnews' live coverage from the 18th stage of the Giro d'Italia.

Today's the individual mountain time trial, a 20.6 hike from Mori to Polsa. The gradients, an average of five percent and the final 6km at 6.8 percent, look better suited to the specialists than to the thoroughbred climbers. Though the time gaps won't be vast, it's conceivable they will determine the outcome of the race. A minute lost here may not seem a lot but in the context of the Giro, you never know. No question of the tactics, then, just 45 minutes of good old-fashioned suffering.

Here's today's profile:

In terms of the overall classification, Nibali still leads. The question is whether he can extend his advantage over Cadel Evans, or if the Australian can start to claw back some of the time he's lost so far in the race:

1.Miguel Minguez (Euskaltel) 48.55
2.Willem Wauters (Vacansoleil) +1.26
3.Laurent Pichon (FDJ) +1.42
4.Svein Tuft (Orica-GreenEdge) +1.49
5.Iljo Keisse (OPQS) +2.27
6.Rafael Andriato (Vini Fantini) +2.34
7.Edwin Avila (Colombia) +2.38
8.Pim Ligthart (Vacansoleil) +3.15
9.Wilson Marentes (Colombia) +3.17
10.Bert De Backer (Argos-Shimano) +5.02

It's a flat start at least for the riders, before the climbing start. An Astana rolls down the start ramp and starts his time trial.

You can find all our Giro d'Italia news, results and photos right here.

1.Steve Cummings (BMC) 47.08
2.Thomas Dekker (Garmin) +1.29
3.Miguel Minguez (Euskaltel) +1.47
4.Brian Bulgac (Lotto) +1.51
5.Giariro Ermeti (Androni) +2.27
6.Christian Meier (Orica) +2.35
7.Alex Dowsett (Movistar) +2.48
8.Dmitriy Gruzdev (Astana) +3.02
9.Willem Wauters (Vacansoleil) +3.13
10.Jesse Sergent (RadioShack) +3.14

So Cummings currently leads, with Thomas Dekker in second place. We've not really seen much from Dekker this year but perhaps the Giro is a race where he can improve in ahead of the second half of the season.

Dowsett, who won the previous individual test in the race, is in 7th.

The first part of the climb is around 6 per cent, then the rider will see the road flatten out for a kilometre or so, before the road ramps up once again...


Cummings still leads the stage.

Kessiakoff is currently on the course. Today might be too much for him in terms of a challenge. He's worked so hard to help Nibali, and there are specialists who will have targeted today.

1.Steve Cummings (BMC) 47.08
2.Thomas Dekker (Garmin) +1.29
3.Miguel Minguez (Euskaltel) +1.47
4.Brian Bulgac (Lotto) +1.51
5.Edoardo Zardini (Bardiani) +1.56
6.Giairo Ermeti (Androni) +2.27
7.Christian Meier (Orica) +2.35
8.Alex Dowsett (Movistar) +2.48
9.Dmitriy Gruzdev (Astana) +3.02
10.Nicola Boem (Bardiani) +3.11

Lithuanian national TT champion, Navardauskas is out on the course, just on a section where the road steepens. The Garmin rider isn't sitting back  and taking it easy, that's clear.

Pozzato comes to the line, of course well done today. The Lampre rider has been disappointing in the race.

Kessiakoff meanwhile is around ten minutes from finishing. Puccio is on the climb too, and he's spinning a decent gear, although he's just on the lower slopes of the climb.

Boaro looks good for a winning time, at least at this stage. He's closing in on the finish and is motoring along. The Saxo rider is using a TT bar set up and aero helmet.

Cobo has finished in 7th place.

1.Steve Cummings (BMC) 47.08
2.Jerome Pineau (OPQS) +1.15
3.Thomas Dekker (Garmin) +1.29
4.Miguel Minguez (Euskaltel) +1.47
5.Brian Bulgac (Lotto) +1.51
6.Edoardo Zardini (Bardiani) +1.56
7.Sascha Modolo (Bardiani) +2.13
8.Dirk Bellemakers (Lotto) +2.26
9.Giairo Ermeti (Androni) +2.27
10.Christian Meier (Orica) +2.35

Vande Velde is coming up to the line now. He wont beat Cummings but this isn't a bad time for the Garmin vet.

The American has gone with a road bike, with TT bars.

Boaro comes over the line in third place.

Former Giro winner Garzelli comes over the line in 28th position.

Stetina rolls down the start ramp.

Sella, Rodriguez and Rubiano will  all be starting their time trials in quick succession.

Pirazzi and Aru are also in the next wave of riders.

Tom Danielson is 12minutes into his effort and has already caught Ventoso, who started two minutes ahead of him.

1.Steve Cummings (BMC) 47.08
2.Tobias Ludvigsson (Argos) +0.43
3.Manuele Boaro (Saxo Tinkoff) +0.50
4.Jerome Pineau (OPQS) +1.15
5.Thomas Dekker (Garmin) +1.29
6.Christian Vande Velde (Garmin) +1.37
7.Johan Le Bon (FDJ) +1.47
8.Miguel Minguez (Euskaltel) +1.47
9.Brian Bulgac (Lotto) +1.51
10.Edoardo Zardini (Bardiani) +1.56

Capecchi comes to the line and takes the lead by 13 seconds ahead of Cummings.

1.Eros Capecchi (Movistar) 46.55
2.Steve Cummings (BMC) +0.13
3.Tobias Ludvigsson (Argos) +0.56
4.Manuele Boaro (Saxo Tinkoff) +1.03
5.Jerome Pineau (OPQS) +1.28
6.Xabier Zandio (Sky) +1.36
7.Thomas Dekker (Garmin) +1.42
8.Christian Vande Velde (Garmin) +1.50
9.Johan Le Bon (FDJ) +2.00
10.Miguel Minguez (Euskaltel) +2.00

And Pauwels is coming up to the line. He wont trouble the leader but he'll finishing in the top five for now.

Danielson and Cataldo are both still out on the course and are looking good at the moment.

Cataldo has roughly 3 minutes to cover the last km.

It looks like the Sky rider, and Italian national TT champion will take the lead.

Cataldo goes top 45 seconds fastest at this stage.

Danielson is coming to the line. He's not going to trouble the top places today, so Cataldo holds the lead.

Stef Clement takes the lead now, beating the time set by Cataldo.

Now Pellizotti starts his TT. He's a previous winner of a mountain TT in the Giro  before. He's not quite the rider he was, but he'll be looking to put in a strong performance today.

Now Kangert starts. He was up there in the first TT of the race. The Estonian was third on stage 8, but it's really a question about how much does he have in the tank after racing on the front of the peloton for over two  weeks.

1.Stef Clement (Blanco) 46.05
2.Dario Cataldo (Sky) +0.05
3.Thomas Danielson (Garmin) +0.45
4.Eros Capecchi (Movistar) +0.50
5.Steve Cummings (BMC) +1.03
6.Serge Pauwels (OPQS) +1.45
7.Tobias Ludvigsson (Argos) +1.46
8.Manuele Boaro (Saxo Tinkoff) +1.53
9.Jerome Pineau (OPQS) +2.18
10.Christian Knees (Sky) +2.22

Gesink has now started. He should feature in the top five today. He was strong in the first time trial and despite a couple of bad days he's looked strong in recent stages.

Pirazzi finishes in 118th place.

Siutsou is charging to the line now. He won't beat Clement but he'll be right up there.

Samuel Sanchez is climbing well. Today certainly suits him as Betancur sits in the start house.

Caruso is sitting on a Lampre rider's rear wheel.

1.Stef Clement (Blanco) 46.05
2.Dario Cataldo (Sky) +0.05
3.Fabio Duarte (Colombia) +0.23
4.Ben Gastauer (AG2R) +0.38
5.Thomas Danielson (Garmin) +0.45
6.Kanstantsin Siutsou (Sky) +0.46
7.Eros Capecchi (Movistar) +0.50
8.Steve Cummings (BMC) +1.03
9.Fabio Felline (Androni) +1.22
10.Tiago Machado (RadioStar) +1.26

As Di Luca goes third fastest and Scarponi starts his time trial.

And Caruso, who was sat on a Lampre rider's wheel earlier, takes the fastest time by 16 seconds.

1.Damiano Caruso (Cannondale) 45.49
2.Stef Clement (Blanco) +0.16
3.Dario Cataldo (Sky) +0.21
4.Fabio Duarte (Colombia) +0.39
5.Ben Gastauer (AG2R) +0.54
6.Thomas Danielson (Garmin) +1.01
7.Kanstantsin Siutsou (Sky) +1.05
8.Eros Capecchi (Movistar) +1.06
9.Steve Cummings (BMC) +1.19
10.Fabio Felline (Androni) +1.38

And Nibali now starts his time trial. Evans is already up the road.

And Nibali is off and running, the maglia rosa starting a period of three days of racing that are huge in terms of his career.

Sanchez has gone fastest at the first time check.

Sanchez is closing on the finishline. It's going to be close.

Sanchez takes the lead by 22 seconds 45'27,as drops of rain start to fall on the finishline.

Betancur was second at the first time check.

Nibali in an all pink skin suit, looks so comfortable in the early stages. Evans started 3  minutes ahead of him.

1.Samuel Sanchez (Euskaltel) 45.28
2.Damiano Caruso (Cannondale) +0.22
3.Stef Clement (Blanco) +0.38
4.Dario Cataldo (Sky) +0.43
5.Danilo Di Luca (Vini Fantini) +0.54
6.Evgeni Petrov (Saxo Tinkoff) +0.56
7.Fabio Duarte (Colombia) +1.01
8.Wilco Kelderman (Blanco) +1.01
9.Ben Gastauer (AG2R) +0.54
10.Francis Mourey (FDJ) +1.17

As Pellizotti finishes in 9th.

15km to go for Nibali.

Scarponi has now gone fastest at the first time check.

Uran is 48 seconds down at the time check. Scarponi will be encouraged by that as Pozzovivo comes to the line and takes 9th.

Worrying times for Uran there if the time continues to swing in favour of the Lampre rider.

Evans is a minute down to Scarponi according to the time checks at the mid'way point.

Robert Gesink comes to the line and can only manage a place in the top 25.

Nibali goes through the time check, he's 1'23 up on Evans already.

 Majka is coming to the line with what looks like a very strong team.

Scarponi could be looking at being Nibali's closest challenger if it continues like this.

The rain is coming down heavily, and Majka can't dislodge Sanchez from the top spot.

Betancur has lost the white jersey to Majka by less than two seconds.

Nibali is 1'41 ahead of Evans. That's simply phenomenal.

It's now two minutes between Evans and Nibali.

At this stage Scarponi and Nibali are the main threats for Sanchez in terms of the stage win.

Scarponi is closing on the line. He has around 90 seconds to cross the line and take the lead. It's looking good for the Lampre leader.

Scarponi crosses the line in 45:50, 3rd on the stage.

Uran will be next, then Evans, then Nibali but the Italian is closing on the Australian, for three minutes.

Nibali looks set to win the stage and end any realistic chance of Evans winning this year's Giro d'Italia.

Uran comes over the line in 45:55, 5th on the stage.

The gap between Evans and Nibali on the road is now 2'26 and Nibali is turning the screw.

Evans crosses the line in 47:05, in 24th place.

And here comes Nibali, 44;29. He punches the air and takes the stage and a huge step towards winning this year's race.

Nibali 58 seconds ahead of Sanchez, with all the GC rivals left trailing. Evans, we don't know yet but could be off the podium.

No Evans holds second, 4'02 down on Nibali, Uran at 4'12 and Scarponi at 5'14.

1 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana Pro Team 0:44:29
2 Samuel Sanchez Gonzalez (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi 0:00:58
3 Damiano Caruso (Ita) Cannondale Pro Cycling 0:01:20
4 Michele Scarponi (Ita) Lampre-Merida 0:01:21
5 Rafal Majka (Pol) Team Saxo-Tinkoff 0:01:25
6 Rigoberto Uran Uran (Col) Sky Procycling 0:01:26
7 Carlos Alberto Betancur Gomez (Col) Ag2R La Mondiale 0:01:32
8 Stef Clement (Ned) Blanco Pro Cycling Team 0:01:36
9 Dario Cataldo (Ita) Sky Procycling 0:01:41
10 Danilo Di Luca (Ita) Vini Fantini-Selle Italia 0:01:52

Here's where we now stand on GC:

So, a huge step forward for Nibali in his quest for a first Giro crown. You can find our results, images and report, right here.

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