Another correct prediction for Spokenforks at this year’s Giro d’Italia and another victory for Fernando Gaviria; his third to be precise. After a stuttering start, the Colombian has seen his sprinting abilities grow as the race goes on, while his rivals struggle to sustain a serious challenge to his increasing dominance. Stage 13 will be another perfect opportunity for the sprinters to snare a win ahead of the looming mountains which now stand between them and the finish in Milano. The day takes the shape of a 167km jaunt from Reggio Emilia to Tortona, a flat as a pancake stage, which should offer little hope to any breakaway which seeks to spoil the party for the peloton’s diminishing numbers of quick men. There is little to comment upon in regards to racing between the start and finish, the day more likely to become a sightseeing opportunity for both riders and commentators alike. The finale however does offer some technicalities to consider, with a handful of roundabouts demanding safe navigation, coupled with a late bend which leads onto the short (yet wide) finishing straight.
Fernando Gaviria now appears to be the man to beat having secured his third win of 2017’s Giro d’Italia, though competition may prove stronger on this simpler and shorter stage than yesterday. Regardless, the Colombian has certainly exited the recent mountain stages in the best condition of the sprinters from what we have seen thus far. The leadout is likely to prove crucial with a turn so late to the finish line, meaning that Gaviria’s strong team support will aim to deliver him at the front of the bunch through the final turn and utilise his immense acceleration to take another victory.
Caleb Ewan once again struggled to contest stage honours yesterday, losing touch with his teammates at the crucial moment and subsequently missed out on the podium places. The Orica – Scott train at his disposal is one of the strongest here, though has not been running smoothly beyond their sole victory on Stage 7 last week. Ewan is on par with Gaviria, if not faster, while his only stage win so far at the race came on another finale with a similarly late turn; the Australian will be confident of a win here.
Sam Bennett has really improved since his initial sickness at the start of the Giro d’Italia, actually riding himself into surprisingly strong form, as demonstrated by his great finish yesterday. Bora have also seen their prowess amongst the sprint trains improve a great deal, emerging as a well organised outfit who have now delivered Bennett into ideal positioning on more than one occasion. Only a small mistake cost the Irishman a real chance of beating Gaviria yesterday, taking this lesson into account today, Bennett will be a true threat to the typically faster men around him.
Sacha Modolo has been surprisingly off the boil at his native grand tour, though the late battle for positioning here is something which could definitely play to his strengths. Beyond this, his main advantage will be lieutenant Roberto Ferrari, highly skilled at navigating through these tricky finishes and able to leadout at a speed able to challenge for a win in his own right.
Other faces to look out for are Enrico Battaglin, Phil Bauhaus, Ryan Gibbons and Jakub Mareczko.
1st Fernando Gaviria 2nd Sam Bennett 3rd Caleb Ewan