Giro d'Italia: Nibali wins at Tre Cime di Lavaredo

Giro d’Italia 2013 leader Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) has battled through appalling weather conditions on today’s last summit finish at Tre Cime di Lavaredo to claim a spectacular second stage victory and stomp his authority over the race for one last - and impressive - time.

Barely visible through the teeming snow as he approached the finish line at the summit of the seven kilometer climb, in the closing metres Nibali raised first his right arm in triumph then his left, kissing his wedding ring as he did so: 17 seconds ahead of his closest pursuer Fabio Duarte (Colombia), his second stage win of the Giro in the bag and last but not least, the Giro 2013 itself all but inescapably his.

Barring absolute disaster on the last, flat 197 kilometres to Brescia on Sunday there can surely be no way that Nibali will lose the Giro, his second Grand Tour after the Vuelta 2010 and fifth finish on the podium of a three week stage race in his career.

The Giro, though, is yet to finish - and given the exceptionally appalling weather conditions, with around a metre of snow on the ground at the finish and yet more pouring out of the sky, regardless of what happens on Sunday Nibali’s victory, though, was more than memorable in itself.

Having taken Thursday’s uphill time trial, win number two of 2013 came when the 28-year-old Sicilian attacked some 2.5 kilometres from the summit from a front group of around 30 riders, first using Estonian teammate Tangel Kangert (Astana) for a few metres worth of support before breaking away solo, with only the mountain - and a near-blizzard - left to beat.

Within seconds Nibali had both caught and passed the last survivor of an earlier breakaway, Eros Capecchi (Movistar) and left the main group reeling. Only Rigoberto Urán (Sky), Carlos Alberto Betancur (Ag2R) and a third Colombian, Fabio Duarte (Colombia), managed to hold the Italian’s back wheel briefly before with a second acceleration on the steepest segment of the climb - averaging 12 percent but with segments of 18 percent - Nibali had gone for good.

His helmet and gloves caked with snow, Nibali nonetheless battled steadily onwards despite the steadily worsening storm - and despite the idiotic spectators (always a tiny minority, but always, regrettably, there on the climbs) who considered it amusing to hurl themselves forwards and run alongside the Italian for a whole few seconds of television glory. Nibali, thankfully, was able to brush them aside and plough onwards and upwards in the last two kilometres, with a gap of nearly 30 seconds at one point, although he faded slightly in the final metres, the victory - and the Giro - was safely in the bag.

Behind, meanwhile, the battle for the podium was raging at full blast, as Evans struggled badly and seemed almost able to regain contact with the Colombian trio ahead, then fell back for good. The differences were fairly small at the finish, given the leader’s group had remained intact until relatively late and the 2011 Tour winner finished 14th, 1:30 back.

But with Urán in third place and just ten seconds separating the two before the stage, Evans has slid back a spot to third overall. Michele Scarponi (Lampre-ISD), the other big podium favourite, fared marginally better than Evans, finishing in 13th spot. But with too much time to make up the 2011 Giro winner is now forced to settle for fourth in Brescia.

The day, though, really belonged to Nibali: effectively finishing the race on such a high note, and giving Giro fans something to cheer about. Beating such difficult weather - perhaps his most serious rival this year - was a triumph that will be remembered for a long time to come.

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Full Results
1Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana Pro Team5:27:41
2Fabio Andres Duarte Arevalo (Col) Colombia0:00:17
3Rigoberto Uran Uran (Col) Sky Procycling0:00:19
4Carlos Alberto Betancur Gomez (Col) Ag2R La Mondiale0:00:21
5Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana Pro Team0:00:44
6Franco Pellizotti (Ita) Androni Giocattoli0:00:48
7Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) Ag2R La Mondiale0:00:54
8Damiano Caruso (Ita) Cannondale Pro Cycling0:00:58
9Darwin Atapuma Hurtado (Col) Colombia0:01:00
10Rafal Majka (Pol) Team Saxo-Tinkoff0:01:04
11Yury Trofimov (Rus) Katusha0:01:11
12Przemyslaw Niemiec (Pol) Lampre-Merida0:01:14
13Michele Scarponi (Ita) Lampre-MeridaRow 12 - Cell 2
14Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC Racing Team0:01:30
15Benat Intxausti Elorriaga (Spa) Movistar TeamRow 14 - Cell 2
16Tanel Kangert (Est) Astana Pro Team0:01:35
17Diego Rosa (Ita) Androni Giocattoli0:01:41
18Thomas Danielson (USA) Garmin-Sharp0:01:50
19Eros Capecchi (Ita) Movistar Team0:01:53
20Robert Kiserlovski (Cro) RadioShack Leopard0:02:02
21Samuel Sanchez Gonzalez (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi0:02:05
22Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Blanco Pro Cycling Team0:02:11
23Pieter Weening (Ned) Orica-GreenEdgeRow 22 - Cell 2
24José Herrada Lopez (Spa) Movistar Team0:02:28
25Sergio Luis Henao Montoya (Col) Sky Procycling0:02:35
26Gianluca Brambilla (Ita) Omega Pharma-Quick Step0:02:40
27Mauro Santambrogio (Ita) Vini Fantini-Selle Italia0:02:42
28Xabier Zandio Echaide (Spa) Sky Procycling0:02:51
29Francis Mourey (Fra) FDJRow 28 - Cell 2
30Patrick Gretsch (Ger) Team Argos-Shimano0:03:15
31Simone Stortoni (Ita) Lampre-Merida0:03:33
32Matteo Rabottini (Ita) Vini Fantini-Selle Italia0:03:40
33Peter Stetina (USA) Garmin-Sharp0:03:56
34Francis De Greef (Bel) Lotto Belisol0:04:03
35Egoi Martinez De Esteban (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi0:04:11
36Christian Knees (Ger) Sky Procycling0:04:17
37Stef Clement (Ned) Blanco Pro Cycling Team0:04:39
38Ivan Santaromita (Ita) BMC Racing Team0:05:00
39Stefano Pirazzi (Ita) Bardiani Valvole-CSF Inox0:05:05
40Gorka Verdugo Marcotegui (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi0:05:13
41Brian Bulgac (Ned) Lotto BelisolRow 40 - Cell 2
42Steve Morabito (Swi) BMC Racing Team0:05:37
43Jose Rodolfo Serpa Perez (Col) Lampre-Merida0:05:57
44Dario Cataldo (Ita) Sky Procycling0:06:10
45Petr Ignatenko (Rus) Katusha0:06:15
46Jorge Azanza Soto (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi0:06:20
47Dirk Bellemakers (Ned) Lotto BelisolRow 46 - Cell 2
48Valerio Agnoli (Ita) Astana Pro Team0:06:37
49Andrey Zeits (Kaz) Astana Pro Team0:06:44
50Rafael Valls Ferri (Spa) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team0:06:46
51Wilson Alexander Marentes Torres (Col) Colombia0:07:04
52Dominique Rollin (Can) FDJ0:07:28
53Bruno Pires (Por) Team Saxo-Tinkoff0:07:57
54Alessandro Proni (Ita) Vini Fantini-Selle Italia0:08:12
55Paul Martens (Ger) Blanco Pro Cycling TeamRow 54 - Cell 2
56Pavel Brutt (Rus) Katusha0:08:16
57Jackson Rodriguez (Ven) Androni Giocattoli0:08:51
58Vladimir Gusev (Rus) Katusha0:09:12
59Kanstantsin Siutsou (Blr) Sky Procycling0:09:23
60Paolo Tiralongo (Ita) Astana Pro Team0:09:49
61Giampaolo Caruso (Ita) KatushaRow 60 - Cell 2
62Miguel Angel Rubiano Chavez (Col) Androni Giocattoli0:10:16
63Rob Ruijgh (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team0:10:25
64Adam Hansen (Aus) Lotto Belisol0:10:37
65Fabio Sabatini (Ita) Cannondale Pro Cycling0:10:47
66Ben Gastauer (Lux) Ag2R La MondialeRow 65 - Cell 2
67Hubert Dupont (Fra) Ag2R La MondialeRow 66 - Cell 2
68Juan Manuel Garate (Spa) Blanco Pro Cycling TeamRow 67 - Cell 2
69Tiago Machado (Por) RadioShack LeopardRow 68 - Cell 2
70Paolo Longo Borghini (Ita) Cannondale Pro CyclingRow 69 - Cell 2
71Cayetano José Sarmiento Tunarrosa (Col) Cannondale Pro CyclingRow 70 - Cell 2
72Thomas Dekker (Ned) Garmin-SharpRow 71 - Cell 2
73Daniele Pietropolli (Ita) Lampre-MeridaRow 72 - Cell 2
74Jarlinson Pantano (Col) ColombiaRow 73 - Cell 2
75Kristijan Durasek (Cro) Lampre-MeridaRow 74 - Cell 2
76Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) Blanco Pro Cycling TeamRow 75 - Cell 2
77Cristiano Salerno (Ita) Cannondale Pro Cycling0:11:15
78Fredrik Carl Wilhelm Kessiakoff (Swe) Astana Pro Team0:11:25
79Marco Marcato (Ita) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling TeamRow 78 - Cell 2
80Koen De Kort (Ned) Team Argos-ShimanoRow 79 - Cell 2
81Thomas Damuseau (Fra) Team Argos-Shimano0:11:35
82Yaroslav Popovych (Ukr) RadioShack Leopard0:11:58
83Pablo Lastras Garcia (Spa) Movistar TeamRow 82 - Cell 2
84Manuele Boaro (Ita) Team Saxo-Tinkoff0:12:06
85Stefano Garzelli (Ita) Vini Fantini-Selle Italia0:13:05
86Danilo Hondo (Ger) RadioShack Leopard0:13:25
87Giovanni Visconti (Ita) Movistar Team0:13:46
88Francesco Manuel Bongiorno (Ita) Bardiani Valvole-CSF Inox0:14:02
89Evgeny Petrov (Rus) Team Saxo-Tinkoff0:14:12
90Sonny Colbrelli (Ita) Bardiani Valvole-CSF Inox0:14:24
91Tiziano Dall'Antonia (Ita) Cannondale Pro Cycling0:15:07
92Alan Marangoni (Ita) Cannondale Pro Cycling0:15:09
93Dmitriy Gruzdev (Kaz) Astana Pro Team0:16:01
94Giairo Ermeti (Ita) Androni GiocattoliRow 93 - Cell 2
95Stephen Cummings (GBr) BMC Racing Team0:17:35
96Juan Jose Cobo Acebo (Spa) Movistar Team0:18:18
97Jesse Sergent (NZl) RadioShack LeopardRow 96 - Cell 2
98Tobias Ludvigsson (Swe) Team Argos-ShimanoRow 97 - Cell 2
99Ramunas Navardauskas (Ltu) Garmin-SharpRow 98 - Cell 2
100Robert Hunter (RSA) Garmin-SharpRow 99 - Cell 2
101Christian Vande Velde (USA) Garmin-SharpRow 100 - Cell 2
102Lars Ytting Bak (Den) Lotto BelisolRow 101 - Cell 2
103Frederik Willems (Bel) Lotto BelisolRow 102 - Cell 2
104Vicente Reynes Mimo (Spa) Lotto BelisolRow 103 - Cell 2
105Danilo Wyss (Swi) BMC Racing TeamRow 104 - Cell 2
106Frederik Veuchelen (Bel) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling TeamRow 105 - Cell 2
107Emanuele Sella (Ita) Androni GiocattoliRow 106 - Cell 2
108Gert Dockx (Bel) Lotto BelisolRow 107 - Cell 2
109Nelson Filipe Santos Simoes Oliveira (Por) RadioShack Leopard0:18:28
110Luca Paolini (Ita) Katusha0:19:02
111Salvatore Puccio (Ita) Sky ProcyclingRow 110 - Cell 2
112Filippo Pozzato (Ita) Lampre-MeridaRow 111 - Cell 2
113Manuel Belletti (Ita) Ag2R La MondialeRow 112 - Cell 2
114Johan Le Bon (Fra) FDJRow 113 - Cell 2
115Christian Meier (Can) Orica-GreenEdgeRow 114 - Cell 2
116Marco Canola (Ita) Bardiani Valvole-CSF InoxRow 115 - Cell 2
117Elia Viviani (Ita) Cannondale Pro CyclingRow 116 - Cell 2
118Brett Lancaster (Aus) Orica-GreenEdgeRow 117 - Cell 2
119Cameron Wurf (Aus) Cannondale Pro CyclingRow 118 - Cell 2
120Mads Christensen (Den) Team Saxo-TinkoffRow 119 - Cell 2
121Fabio Felline (Ita) Androni GiocattoliRow 120 - Cell 2
122Maarten Tjallingii (Ned) Blanco Pro Cycling TeamRow 121 - Cell 2
123Luke Durbridge (Aus) Orica-GreenEdgeRow 122 - Cell 2
124Albert Timmer (Ned) Team Argos-ShimanoRow 123 - Cell 2
125George Bennett (NZl) RadioShack LeopardRow 124 - Cell 2
126Jens Keukeleire (Bel) Orica-GreenEdgeRow 125 - Cell 2
127Vladimir Karpets (Rus) Movistar TeamRow 126 - Cell 2
128Oscar Gatto (Ita) Vini Fantini-Selle ItaliaRow 127 - Cell 2
129Rory Sutherland (Aus) Team Saxo-TinkoffRow 128 - Cell 2
130Serge Pauwels (Bel) Omega Pharma-Quick StepRow 129 - Cell 2
131Murilo Antonio Fischer (Bra) FDJRow 130 - Cell 2
132Svein Tuft (Can) Orica-GreenEdgeRow 131 - Cell 2
133Rafael Andriato (Bra) Vini Fantini-Selle ItaliaRow 132 - Cell 2
134Alex Dowsett (GBr) Movistar TeamRow 133 - Cell 2
135Laurent Pichon (Fra) FDJRow 134 - Cell 2
136Ioannis Tamouridis (Gre) Euskaltel-EuskadiRow 135 - Cell 2
137Martijn Keizer (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling TeamRow 136 - Cell 2
138Willem Wauters (Bel) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team0:19:32
139Stefano Locatelli (Ita) Bardiani Valvole-CSF Inox0:19:35
140Daniel Oss (Ita) BMC Racing Team0:19:37
141Robinson Eduardo Chalapud Gomez (Col) Colombia0:19:43
142Leonardo Fabio Duque (Col) ColombiaRow 141 - Cell 2
143Bert De Backer (Bel) Team Argos-Shimano0:19:49
144Danny Pate (USA) Sky ProcyclingRow 143 - Cell 2
145Maurits Lammertink (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team0:19:54
146Edwin Alcibiades Avila Vanegas (Col) Colombia0:20:00
147Edoardo Zardini (Ita) Bardiani Valvole-CSF Inox0:20:07