Dubai: UAE Team Emirates rider Diego Ulissi edged a thrilling climax to claim victory in stage 13 of the Giro d’Italia, with Joao Almeida close behind as the Portuguese increased his overall lead.
Ulissi powered for the line at the end of a 192km ride between Cervia and Monselice to get the better of Deceuninck-Quick Step’s overall leader Almeida and Patrick Konrad of the Bora-Hansgrohe team.
Pipping Almeida at the finish line helped the Italian take his second stage win at this year’s Giro and the eighth of his career. Almeida earned himself a six-second time bonus to further extend his lead to 40 seconds over Wilco Kelderman and 49 seconds over Pello Bilbao in the General Classification.
With two testing categorised climbs in the final 35km, it was Valerio Conti who piled on the pressure to detach the two main sprinters Groupama-FDJ’s Arnaud Demare and Peter Sagan of Bora-Hansgrohe on the 9.9 per cent average, 2km final climb which crested at 17km to go.
And with only the General Classification favourites left in the main group, it was UAE Team Emirates rider Brandon McNulty who took the reins in the final sprint, guiding his teammate Ulissi perfectly into the closing straight to open his sprint to deliver the 32nd win of the season for the Emirati team and cap-off a fitting team performance. This was the second stage win for Italian Ulissi following his triumph on Stage 2 at Agrigento last week.
“We did a great job on the final climb to break away from the sprinters and arrive in a small group. We knew that if we could keep them away we would have a chance to fight for the sprint. I have to thank the whole team who set this up perfectly first with Conti and then with a great lead out from McNulty who set me up in the final,” Ulissi said. “Since we restarted the season, I am going really well and I am so happy to have won two stages, which I can add to my previous six wins here,” he added.
Saturday’s 14th stage will be a race against the clock, with an undulating individual time trial from Conegliano to Valdobbiadene over 34.1 kms.
1. Diego Ulissi (UAE Team Emirates) 4:22:18
2. Joao Almeida (Deceuninck Quick step) same time
3. Patrick Konrad (Bora-Hansgrohe) same time
1. Joao Almeida (Deceuninck-QuickStep) 53:43:58
2. Wilco Kelderman (Sunweb) +40s
3. Pello Bilbao (Bahrain McLaren) +49s
11. Brandon McNulty (UAE Team Emirates) +2’39”