Stage 13 signals the 2016 Giro d’Italia’s first foray into the serious mountains of this season’s opening grand tour battle. Two pairs of Category 1 and Category 2 ascents feature during this 170km ride from Palmanova to Cividale Del Friuli, combining to shape a stage which looks destined to be won by a strong breakaway group.
Nicolas Roche looks to be the most likely Sky rider to save their race in the wake of Mikel Landa’s abandonment due to illness several stages ago. The Irishman will see little point in finishing this three week anonymously within the general classification and will no doubt have now signed up to Sky’s campaign to now hunt out stage victories.
Tim Wellens is currently the first name on anyone’s list for breakaway contenders given his current form and is likely to try and join the break once again. The climbs could well be somewhat beyond his abilities, but it seems like he can cope with anything right now and he would be tough to beat in a reduced sprint come the end of the day.
Giovanni Visconti often performs on courses such as these, possessing the strength to join in the early part of the day and then survive the climbs in good enough shape to finish it off in a sprint. He sits in a grey zone general classification wise, not an immediate threat to the major overall favourites, but near enough to take the jersey if the chase miscalculates on the concluding descent.
Alessandro De Marchi is another rider who has already demonstrated form for this year’s breakaway attempts and is certain to once again force his way amongst Stage 13’s successful move. There are certainly question marks as to weather he could secure victory by the end of the day, but experience counts for a lot on days such as these and it would be no great surprise to see him out perform those who appear stronger on paper.
Ruben Plaza and Amets Txurruka are two rider for Orica-GreenEDGE who could potentially join the break in an attempt to make life a little easier for teammate Esteban Chaves and reduce their need to chase. Carlos Bentancur could perform on these ascents, but will need to be strong enough to make the selection process early on here in the first place.
Given the position of the day’s final climb and its subsequent descent right into the finish at Cividale Del Friuli, there looks to be guaranteed sparring from the general classification contenders. When it comes to descending, Vincenzo Nibali and Alejandro Valverde are the obvious candidates to up the tempo and really push their rivals to the limit on the tricky descent. Another rider who has shown a talent for similar antics at this year’s Giro is Esteban Chaves, who has consistently followed his rivals thus far when closing down such attempts to gain time.
1st Nicolas Roche 2nd Giovanni Visconti 3rd Ruben Plaza