Nibali Wins Mountain Time Trial, Extends Lead in Giro d'Italia 2013
Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) has tightened his grip on the 2013 Giro d'Italia. The Shark dominated Stage 18, a 20.6-km mountain time trial from Mori to Polsa, leading at the checkpoint en route to victory in 44:29.
Samuel Sanchez (Euskaltel-Euskadi) finished second at 0:58, and Damiano Caruso (Cannondale) finished third at 1:20. Nibali has extended is overall lead and his poised for victory when the Giro ends Sunday in Brescia.
Miguel Minguez (Euskaltel-Euskadi) was the first finisher, traversing the course in 48:55. Steve Cummings (BMC) bettered Minguez's time by nearly two minutes to take the lead, a lead that he held for more than an hour, when Eros Capecchi (Movistar) posted a 46:55.
Dario Cataldo (Team Sky), Italy's time trial champion, stopped the clock at 46:10 to take the lead, only to see Stef Clement (Blanco) cross the finish line five seconds faster a few minutes later. Caruso was the first man to break 46 minutes with a 45:49.
Ten minutes after Caruso crossed the finish line, Sanchez, who has shown improving form, posted a 45:27. His time looked like a winner, particularly with rain falling. Nibali and Cadel Evans (BMC Racing) would fight the battle for the maglia rosa.
It proved to be no battle at all. Nibali had a superb day, and Evans had an abysmal one. The Astana man led the BMC rider by almost a minute and half at the 9.4-km checkpoint. The Shark was the day's fastest rider throughout the course, while Evans lost ground throughout, finishing 25th at 2:36.
Evans held onto his runnerup spot, while third placer Rigoberto Uran (Team Sky) kept his spot. The Colombian finished sixth at 1:26, while fourth placer Michele Scarponi (Lampre-Merida) took fourth at 1:21. The Lampre-Merida man is at 5:14 overall.
Nibali said that he expected a challenge from Evans. “Cadel has been well hidden in the group for a few days, so I didn’t know what his condition was," the Shark said. Today, I feared he might do a better ride, but he was my reference point in today’s stage, so when I saw him ahead of me in the final kilometres, I pushed even harder.
“Today I’ve taken another major step towards winning the Giro. I hope the weather remains good. Whether or not we can ride the mountains stages as planned changes little. I ‘m in good shape anyway. If the stages are taken out, with the team, we can control the race better. My shape is what it is. I’ve demonstrated that again today. So I’m relaxed.”
In the overall, Nibali leads Evans by 4:02 and Uran by 4:12. Stage 19, which was planned to take the riders over the Gavia and Stelvio passes, had its route changed. The stage has since been cancelled entirely because of snow. That will make Stage 20 the 2013 Giro's final mountain stage, and its course has been changed dramatically. What was originally supposed to be a 203-km ride over two Category 1 ascents will now be a 210-km ride over one Category 2 climb. The stage will begin in Silandro and end in Tre Cime di Lavaredo. Will the changed course affect the race at all? Check in at www.roadcycling.com and find out!
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