Hello and welcome to live coverage from stage 13 of the Giro d'Italia.
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Hello and welcome back to our live coverage from stage 13 of the Giro d'Italia. After a day for the sprinters we're turning our attention back to the GC and the climbers in this year's race. Stage 13 is the first in a triple-header of climbing stages.
Today we head to Cividale del Friuli with four categorised climbs on the menu. There's no summit finish but we should see a major shake up in the GC. None of the four climbs in the Friuli stage are over a thousand metres but it has been given four stars by the official race book, indicating its true difficulty.
We're just over an hour from the official start of the stage and riders have been arriving over the last few minutes. The sign on should start soon.
Here's how the top ten stands coming into the stage:
1 Bob Jungels (Lux) Etixx - Quick-Step 49:32:20
2 Andrey Amador (CRc) Movistar Team 0:00:24
3 Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar Team 0:01:07
4 Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) Team LottoNl-Jumbo
5 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana Pro Team 0:01:09
6 Rafal Majka (Pol) Tinkoff Team 0:02:01
7 Ilnur Zakarin (Rus) Team Katusha 0:02:25
8 Esteban Chaves (Col) Orica-GreenEdge 0:02:43
9 Gianluca Brambilla (Ita) Etixx - Quick-Step 0:02:45
10 Diego Ulissi (Ita) Lampre - Merida 0:02:47
Last night we spoke to the last Luxembourg to really challenge for top honours at the Giro d'Italia, Andy Schleck. He rode with Jungles for a couple of years between 2013-14 and believes that his former teammate can go all the way.
"He has no pressure," the retired Schleck told Cyclingnews during a cruise through Europe with his family.
"If he's dropped on Friday during stage 13, that's fine because he's already done more that what was expected of him and with all these factors in play I think that he can win the Giro."
"In his case he doesn't have the pressure. He's young, he has a contract and he's got a team that believes in him. When he goes to bed at night he just thinks 'I need to hang on, and to try to ride well'. It's a different situation for the other riders who fall asleep thinking 'I need to get all these seconds back in order to justify my salary.' That's a huge plus."
Schleck on Jungels:
Roughly an hour until the start of the stage. Here's a look at the stage profile.
As Stephen Farrand mentioned in his race stage preview:
The stage has two tough climbs mid-stage –Montemaggiore (8.3km at 9.3%) and then the Crai (8.8km at 6.4% with 3km at over 10%), followed by 30km of flat road before two final climbs and a nerve-racking descent to the finish, on twisting country roads that ends just eight kilometres from the finish.
Both late climbs are all over 8%, with the Cima Porzus at 8.9% for virtually all of its 6.7km length. The Valle climb is a kilometre shorter but almost as equally steep and so will no doubt spark some kind of natural selection amongst the overall contenders.
You can find our complete stage preview for today, right here. It includes comments from Dario Cioni former rider, former press officer at Team Sky.
It will be interesting to see the composition of the break today. Surely Damiano Cunego - if he really has designs on winning the KOM - must be in the move. He doesn't have the staying power to compete over the last two climbs if he's with the GC guys, so he need to be on the front foot.
1 Damiano Cunego (Ita) Nippo - Vini Fantini 56 pts
2 Giulio Ciccone (Ita) Bardiani CSF 27
3 Tim Wellens (Bel) Lotto Soudal 25
4 Stefano Pirazzi (Ita) Bardiani CSF 18
5 Giovanni Visconti (Ita) Movistar Team 17
6 Gianluca Brambilla (Ita) Etixx - Quick-Step 16
7 Alessandro Bisolti (Ita) Nippo - Vini Fantini 16
8 Stefan Kueng (Swi) BMC Racing Team 15
9 Ivan Rovny (Rus) Tinkoff Team 15
10 Nicola Boem (Ita) Bardiani CSF 11
Sign on complete and riders are starting to roll out through the neutralized zone.
Is that the face of a man who wants to be in the break?
Into just the first 1km of the race and we already have our first attack, with Tobias Ludvigsson looking to jump clear. The Swede actually manages to create a small gap but it comes to nothing in the end.
The pace is relentless this early on as more and more riders try and escape the clutches of the peloton. No move have managed to stick just yet. Etixx are on red alert though as they try and spot danger after danger. This is a huge test for the young Bob Jungels.
Like Berzin once said to Frattini in the 1996 Tour de France (Gewiss) 'I'll take over thank you' and Astana move up and set the pace at the front of the peloton and replace Etixx. Nibali's men keep the pace nice and high but that's not stopped the attacks from coming thick and fast.
Interesting: A gaggle of around 20 riders have moved clear of the peloton. They have a very small gap but it's not going to work, surely?
@Lotto_Soudal Fri, 20th May 2016 10:56:29
They're still out there, plugging away, but the peloton are hot on their heels. Such a rapid start to the stage as riders and teams try and form the early break. They can't keep this up for much longer.
The move has been shut down but now we have Daniel Oss (BMC) and Valerio Conti (Lampre-Merida) going clear. Once more the peloton respond and the duo are caught.
145km remaining from 170km
We've already covered 25km of racing.
More riders try their luck. This time we have a group of six forming, with Blel Kadri (Ag2r-La Mondiale), Alessandro De Marchi and Manuel Quinziato (BMC), Matej Mohoric (Lampre-Merida), Maarten Tjallingii (LottoNL-Jumbo) and Matteo Busato (Wilier Triestina-Southeast).
The IAM duo of Matthias Brandle and Stefan Denifl are bridging across.
Cannondale policing on the front of the bunch - they don't seem happy with this one.
Once again, it's all back together. So, almost 40km into this stage and still we await a breakaway. The first climb of the day beings in just 10km time.
It's a day for the climbers and GC men but that doesn't mean there's nothing for the sprinters. We're almost at San Pietro al Natisone, the first of two intermediate sprint points.
Arnaud Demare takes maximum points at the sprint, to make up some ground on points classification leader Giacomo Nizzolo. Andre Greipel, of course, was in the maglia rossa yesterday but pulled out of the race after his stage win.
And now we do seem to have our breakaway. And it's a big one.
There must be around 30 riders in this move, including - surprise surprise - Damiano Cunego. We'll get you all the names shortly but for now the pace in the bunch has been knocked off and they have nearly two minutes.
We're climbing now, and this is what it looks like
A number of high profile riders in this break, including Rojas, Heano, Cunego and Ulissi. The Lampre man has two men on the front driving the break though as the lead pushes out to 2'10. And more riders try and bridge up the road, Wellens is one of them. Some serious questions are being asked of Etixx here.