Another day for the sprinters to contest amongst themselves, Stage 13 is a 180km jaunt from Ferrara to Nervesa della Battaglia, an almost entirely pan flat affair with little to worry about. A Category 4 ascent is present within the final moments of the day, though it is unlikely we shall see the same amount of skirmishes and fractured riding as witnessed ahead of yesterday’s approach into Imola. Assuming the peloton avoid another deluge, this should be a great opportunity to observe which of the main contenders for the maglia ciclamino look best prepared before the race turns towards a brutal barrage of mountains stages.
Sam Bennett monstered the final few hundred metres of yesterday’s stage and has now made the battle for the points classification far closer than many anticipated after the opening week of racing. The Irishman is an incredibly powerful rider, one who appears to take the greatest advantage as those around him begin to fatigue and suffer in the difficult weather conditions. He will once again expect his teammates to make the race as tough as possible in the final 30km, aiming to apply pressure to the key rivals and set Bennett up for a hat-trick of Giro d’Italia stage wins.
Elia Viviani was unlucky to be snarled up behind the chaos as the rain began to pour down yesterday and even appeared to witness his own teammates increase the tempo on the front of the bunch, without them realising he had slipped out the back. Regardless, he soon called time on his efforts and will have decided that his energy was best kept for today instead. Potentially fresher for having avoided going head to head with Bennett, the Italian will be eager to return to winning ways on Stage 13.
Danny van Poppel is beginning to see things fall into place as he targets a stage win, his teammates have been improving their leadout and the Dutchman himself is looking a resilient force in this second week. He will need a portion of good fortune to get the better of both Viviani and Bennett, though it is not impossible, the odds are certainly stacked against him.
Niccolo Bonifazio will fancy his chances if the final kilometres are ridden at an intense tempo to shift the thoroughbred sprinters, allowing him to utilise his strength to survive the cut in a better condition than others here. Though his team are unable to offer much in support, he is adept at surfing the wheels and has the potential to cause a surprise here.
1st Elia Viviani 2nd Sam Bennett 3rd Danny van Poppel