Intxausti Takes Stage 16 of Giro d'Italia 2013
As the riders breasted the Category 1 Col du Mont Cenis and reentered Italy, the break of the day formed. It consisted of Danny Pate (Sky), Wilco Kelderman (Blanco), Eros Capecchi and Jose Herrada (both from Movistar), Grega Bole (Vacansoleil-DCM), Tobias Ludvigsson (Argos-Shimano), Christian Meier (GreenEDGE), Stefano Pirazzi and Edoardo Zardini (both from Bardiani Valvole-CSF Inox), Matteo Rabottini and Danilo Di Luca (both from Vini Fantini-Selle Italia), Jackson Rodriguez and Emanuele Selle (both from Androni Giacattoli-Venezuela), Jose Serpa (Lampre-Merida), Rory Sutherland (Saxo Bank-Tinkoff), Gorka Verdugo (Euskaltel-Euskadi), Pieter Weening (GreenEDGE), Ramunas Navardauskas (Garmin-Sharp), Francis De Greef (Lotto-Belisol), Darwin Atapuma (Colombia), Damiano Caruso (Cannondale), and Robinson Chalapud (Colombia). With Caruso, who was only 9:57 behind Nibali, in the escape, it was never going to be given much leeway, and the Astana-led bunch pegged the lead at five minutes.
With about 70 km remaining, RadioShack-Leopard and Katusha got serious about chasing. The gap between the bunch and the break fell to 3:20 within 10 km. With 50 km left, Pate and Sutherland began attacking their companions. Navardauskas pulled the group back to the escapees.
On the run to the Category 3 Andrade, Sella and Kelderman got clear, and Pate joined them. Navardauskas, Pirazzi, Bole, Verdugo, and Herrada chased, and the quintet joined the trio with about 25 km left. At the foot of the Andrate, Pirazzi attacked. He was caught, and Herrada countered. Navardauskas and Verdugo joined him. At this point, the peloton was within half a minute of them.
In the maglia rosa group, Michele Scarponi (Lampre-Merida) attacked, and Nibali covered the move. Cadel Evans (BMC Racing) pulled the rest of the group to the leaders. Kangert took over at the front of the group, which picked up Pate and Kelderman. With 17 km left, the maglia rosa group trailed the break by 0:17.
Pirazzi attacked with about 20 km remaining. Verdugo was dropped. Fabio Duarte (Colombia) attacked and joined Navardauskas, Pirazzi, and Herrada, but the maglia rosa group caught the group just short of the summit of the Andrate with about 19 km left.
Carlos Betancur (Ag2r-La Mondiale) attacked over the summit, and Samuel Sanchez (Euskaltel-Euskadi) joined him. Behind Mauro Santambrogio (Vini Fantini-Selle Italia) was dropped. Scarponi attacked again, but Nibali covered the move and joined the leaders. Scarponi and Evans reeled in the leaders with 10 km to go.
Niemiec, Kangert, Robert Gesink (Blanco), and Intxausti got clear. With just less than two km left, Gesink's chain broke. The others proceeded. Niemiec started sprinting with 400 m remaining, but the Basque rider jumped into the lead and held off Kangert for the win.
Intxausti, who wore the maglia rosa for a day earlier in the race, said the following of his victory: “It wasn’t easy. In the final three km, Kangert was on my wheel. I knew he was dangerous. Six hundred m from the line, I cold-bloodedly moved behind Niemiec and Kangert into third place. Three hundred m from the finish line, the pace slackened. With the wind behind us, I darted past on the left and gave it everything.”
In the overall, Nibali leads Evans by 1:26 and Rigoberto Uran (Sky) by 2:46. Stage 17 will not change this state of affairs. The flat, 214-km run from Caravaggio to Vicenza will have a Category 4 climb near the end, but it should not keep a sprinter from winning. Will Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) take his fifth win of this year's Giro? Check in at www.roadcycling.com and find out!
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