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Nieve Wins 13th Stage, Amador Makes Giro History

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Costa Rican Cycling History
Costa Rican Cycling History
Luk Benies

History was made, if the general classification was not, at today's 13th stage of the Giro d'Italia as Movistar's Andrey Amador became the first rider from Costa RIca and Central America to wear the maglia rosa, as he finished with the group of overall favorites 50 seconds ahead of Etixx-Quick Stp's Bob Jungels to swap positions and take the lead by 26 seconds.

Sky's Mikel Nieve made the move of the day when attacked over the top of the Cima Porzus from the break (briefly with Cannondale's Joe Dombrowski for company), and held off Movistar's Giovanni Visconti to win the stage alone, and to threaten Damiano Cunego's hold of the KOM jersey. Nieve dropped Dombrowski to get free, and only Visconti -- also solo -- offered much resistance, to no avail in the end. The win was Nieve's first grand tour stage since a 2011 Giro stage to Val di Fassa, not far from today's stage to Cividale del Friuli.

Nibali, Valverde and Chaves each made some brief probing attacks and split the GC contenders into two groups, but little came of it. Nibali, as usual, accelerated near the top to set up one of his trademark descents, and he managed to distance Amador, but Nieve and Visconti up ahead were not yeilding the stage, and none of Nibali's other rivals were going to let him go. Amador rejoined the group as they reached the flat approach to the finish, and it became a battle of Jungels and his teammate Gianluca Brambilla versus Amador and the rest for the maglia rosa. Jungels and Brambilla dug deep but couldn't reel in a high-flying group up ahead, powered in part by Astana and Movistar riders, and Ilnur Zakarin of Katusha. Approaching the line, Valverde Nibali surged ahead to claim third place and the four bonus seconds, but was stunned by Nibali's counter-surge which allowed the Sicilian to reverse his two-second deficit and take over third place on GC.

Amador, the son of a Russian mother and Basque-immigrant father, gives Costa Rica its highest honor to date, but it's hardly a quirk of fate. Amador was fourth overall last year, won a stage to Cervinia in 2012, and rates as a co-leader of Movistar with Valverde, for now. In fairness, his climbing has looked less solid than his teammate's, so how long he will last in pink should become clear as soon as tomorrow's Dolomite stage, but Amador has been aggressive and steady for most of the two weeks that have transpired at this Giro. Jungels, for his part, assumes the maglia blanca, best young rider, over which he has a stranglehold.

Results:

  1. NIEVE ITURRALDE Mikel SKY 4h31'49"
  2. VISCONTI Giovanni MOV 43"
  3. NIBALI Vincenzo AST 01'17"
  4. VALVERDE BELMONTE Alejandro MOV 01'17"
  5. MAJKA Rafal TNK 01'17"
  6. DENIFL Stefan IAM 01'17"
  7. KRUIJSWIJK Steven TLJ 01'17"
  8. URAN URAN Rigoberto CPT 01'17"
  9. MONTAGUTI Matteo ALM 01'17"
  10. POZZOVIVO Domenico ALM 01'17"

GC:

  1. Andrey Amador, Movistar
  2. Bob Jungels, EQS, at 0.26
  3. Vincenzo Nibali, Astana, at 0.41
  4. Alejandro Valverde, Movistar, at 0.43
  5. Steven Kruijswijk, LottoNL-Jumbo, s.t.
  6. Rafal Majka, Tinkoff, at 1.37
  7. Ilnur Zakarin, Katusha, at 2.01
  8. Esteban Chaves, Orica-GreenEdge, at 2.19
  9. Rigoberto Uran, Cannondale, at 2.48
  10. Jakob Fuglsang, Astana, at 3.15