Modolo Wins as Crash Upends GC
Stage 13 was supposed to be one last chance for a sprinter to shine before the Giro d’Italia entered the mountains where it will be decided. The pancake-flat, 147-km run from Montecchio Maggiore to Jesolo was supposed to be relatively predictable and uneventful. It was never intended to upend the general classification. It did that, however. A late-stage crash ended the GC hopes of Richie Porte (Sky) and saw Fabio Aru (Astana) leapfrog over Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo Bank) into the maglia rosa. Sacha Modolo (Lampre-Merida) took a bunch sprint to win the stage in 3:03:08. Giacomo Nizzolo (Trek) and Elia Viviani (Sky) finished second and third, respectively, to form an all-Italian podium.
The rain that has been a factor in this week’s racing was a factor today. Marco Frapporti (Androni-Sidermec), Rick Zabel (BMC), and Jerome Pineau (IAM Cycling) went off of the front, and the peloton held the escapees to a two-and-a-half-minute lead. With 17.6 km remaining, the bunch reeled in the break.
Trek led the field into the final five km, with Orica-GreenEdge just behind the American squad. With 3.3 km left, disaster struck. A crash occurred, and Contador went down, although he remounted right away and lost only 0:40. Porte was caught behind the crash and lost two minutes, putting him 17th overall at 5:05. Aru was ahead of the crash and rode into the maglia rosa.
Ahead, Giant-Alpecin took command. Later, Lampre-Merida took over and led the field into the last km. Modolo came off of teammate Maximiliano Richeze’s wheel and charged into the lead. The Lampre-Merida man held off Nizzolo.
Modolo’s win was his team’s third of this Giro. He ascribes Lampre-Merida’s success to youth and to being well rounded. “I'm only 27 and I'm one of the oldest members of the team, and we're generally a team of young riders who are full of ambition and fire,” Modolo said. “Just look at [Jan] Polanc, who came in and won himself a stage. We're the only team to have won three stages: uphill, mixed and sprint. I don't think we have a time trial specialist for tomorrow, but otherwise, we're pretty complete.”
Aru was thrilled to wear the maglia rosa. Because of the weather and the nervous riding, Astana had decided to stay at the front. The Kazakh squad’s decision paid dividends. “I got close to the maglia rosa a few days ago, but I didn't quite manage to take it. Sadly, today's stage was easy on paper, but the weather and the complicated final km made it very difficult. We knew we had to ride at the front and my team kept me up there, and as a result I managed to avoid the fall. Anything can happen in stages like this, and today it went well for me. I feel sorry for Alberto [Contador], but we were ahead when the fall happened and, in 21 days, everything can happen. There are days when you don't feel too well, like I was two days ago, but I'm still there, and, as I say, in the days to come, anything can happen.”
In the overall, Aru leads Contador by 0:40 and Mikel Landa (Astana) by 1:14. Stage 14 will be a standing shaker. The rolling, 59.5-km time trial from Treviso to Valdobbiadene will create big time gaps. Look for Contador to take back the maglia rosa. Who will win? Rigoberto Uran (Etixx-Quick Step)? Porte? Check in at www.roadcycling.com and find out!