Giro stage 13 report / discussion: Weather woes, breakaway goes
Confusion and chaos were the order of the day as the Giro d’Italia hit the high mountains.
One of the key stages in the race, stage 13’s route had already been altered to remove the Cima Coppi, or high point of the 2023 edition, and ride through a lower-elevation tunnel on the Grand Saint-Bernard pass instead. But further weather threats forced even more drastic changes, cutting out the pass entirely and shortening the route to just 74.6 km of its original 199 km length.
The new course, straight up the Croix de Coeur pass, was sure to produce aggressive racing and a large breakaway from the gun split the race like a gran fondo field, with riders immediately going out the back.
A large group broke clear, with Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ) hunting both a stage win and mountain points. Other antagonists included Jefferson Cepeda (EF Education-EasyPost) and Movistar’s Einer Augusto Rubio, joined by the irrepressible Derek Gee (Israel-Premier Tech) in a relatively short – for him – breakaway at this year’s Giro.
Race leader Geraint Thomas and his Ineos Grenadiers’ team seemed happy to let them go, keeping the move at a comfortable two to three minutes’ advantage and waiting for any aggressive moves by rivals.
On the finish climb to Crans-Montana, the leaders traded attacks with some spicy racing that saw Pinot get in Cepeda’s ear more than once about … who knows, goats or something. Rubio eventually got clear for the solo win, followed by Pinot and then Cepeda, no doubt absorbing Pinot’s sage perspectives on animal husbandry.
Behind, the ultimate GC lurker, fourth-placed Damiano Caruso (Bahrain Victorious), launched his own, unsuccessful move and a handful of overall contenders crossed the line 1:35 behind Rubio, to leave the general classification largely unchanged except for Pinot jumping into 10th.
Discussion – have your say in the comments:
-The weather protocol proved a fairly hot topic over on The Socials, with CPA head Adam Hansen posting about the process and responding to criticism that even amateurs ride in worse conditions and so they love the sport more. Can anything productive and useful be gained here or are we just killing brain cells?
-Geraint Thomas mused at the start that the shortened course might make the race even harder; instead we saw mostly defensive racing. Looking at the last bunch of stages, where will the 2023 Giro be decided?
-No, really, what was Pinot so animated about?
- Einer Augusto Rubio (Movistar)
- Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ) @ :06
- Anderson Cepeda (EF Education-EasyPost) @ :12
- Derek Gee (Israel-Premier Tech) @ 1:01
- Valentin Paret-Peintre (Ag2r-Citroën) @ 1:29
- Hugh Carthy (EF Education-EasyPost) @ same time
- João Almeida (UAE Team Emirates) @ 1:35
- Eddie Dunbar (Jayco-AlUla)
- Geraint Thomas (Ineos Grenadiers)
- Primož Roglič (Jumbo-Visma) all same time