Giro Stage 13: Win for Giacomo Nizzolo

After 33 top-5 finishes, including placing 2nd 11 times at the Giro, Giacomo Nizzolo dominated the finish to stage 13 of the Giro d’Italia, GC remains the same as the mountains loom large on Saturday

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Giro Stage 13: Win for Giacomo Nizzolo

Giacomo Nizzolo sprinted to an incredible first-ever grand tour stage victory, on stage 13 of the Giro d’Italia. The Team Qhubeka ASSOS sprinter broke his duck of 19 grand tour stage podiums without a win, by taking the top step in Verona today.

Starting in Ravenna, the stage covered a mostly flat 198km route to finish with a mass sprint in Verona after the day’s breakaway was caught in the closing kilometres. The Italian and European champion, Nizzolo, already having placed second twice at this year’s Giro d’Italia, was determined to not be denied once again. Team Qhubeka ASSOS took the reins in the peloton over the final 10km, keeping Nizzolo up front and out of trouble through the tricky final kilometres.

Edoardo Affini (Jumbo-Visma) went early and gapped the rest as the peloton came into the in the home straight but Nizzolo was equal to the challenge, kicking hard to close the gap to Affini and then kick again to head for the finish well ahead of his nearest rival.

Following Mauro Schmid’s stage triumph on stage 11 of the Giro d’Italia, this is the 2nd stage victory for Team Qhubeka ASSOS at this year’s race. With other top 10 stage placing’s from Max Walscheid and Victor Campenearts, and Nizzolo wearing the Maglia Ciclamino in the opening week, this is undoubtedly the most successful Giro d’Italia for Team Qhubeka ASSOS.

Giacomo Nizzolo: “Finally! As I said this morning, my goal was to be second, and maybe that was the trick to gain the victory! I’m super happy. The only goal I had today was the sprint and to not get blocked in the final, so I went quite far in the wind, but, you know, I had good legs and good fitness. Yeah, [Affini] was the reference for me., You know? I tried to catch him as far as possible. He did a great effort, so congrats to him as well, but I’m so happy today. I mean, we took the lead because of the roundabout. I know it was quite early, but you know, in the end, I wanted to be there safe, and it worked out. [It means] a lot, a lot. As I said, I don’t think my value changed because of the victory at the Giro but it’s nice, so I will enjoy [it.]”

Watching the sprint takes me back to the moment and it is such an emotional feeling. The only thing I wanted to do today was to be able to sprint, without being blocked, and just show to myself what power I had in my legs and that’s what I did. I am super happy and just want to enjoy this moment. The first person I called was my mother, it was special, and to my dad who couldn’t be here today as he had surgery a few days ago, this was for him.”

“I felt so much confidence from the team today, they were always around me, not only today but throughout the week. So I am really happy to give them this victory as it is not only mine but for the whole team, for the purpose we race for, bicycles change lives. After Mauro’s victory two days ago, you can be sure there will be another big “Ubuntu” celebration tonight.

Egan Bernal, Pink Jersey who showed a lot of speed when it got messy in the final kilometres …. “Yeah, finally we have an easy day in the Giro, so I think we had some time to recover a little bit, but tomorrow we have a hard day, so from now we need to start to think about tomorrow. In the final few km, it was nothing special, we always want to be at the front, so I saw the opportunity and I moved a little bit to the front. You never know what’s going to happen, so it’s good to avoid any crashes without taking any risks. It would be special to win on the Zoncolan in the jersey but it will be difficult also to control all the peloton, to control all the breaks, so I would be happy if I just keep the Maglia. I will do my best.”

Peter Sagan asked Were you surprised by Affini’s attack on the right? “I don’t think it was planned, it just happened after he saw the gap behind him and, he just tried to keep it and he did well, almost won. For sure I’m OK [with my 3rd place]. For sure, much better is to win, but even like this it’s OK. I keep my jersey also today, I defend it, and we will see day by day how it’s going the next days.”

Edoardo Affini (Jumbo-Visma) “It was by no means the plan to attack”, Affini said. “I wanted to do the lead-out for Dylan, but at one point I didn’t see anyone behind me. I didn’t know what was going on, but then I went full speed ahead. I’m still completely confused and I don’t know if I should be proud or disappointed. It was a special day for me because we rode through my hometown and here in Verona I was started as a cyclist. But there was no way I could have seen it ending in such a special way.”

The Italian also dwelt on the missed opportunity for Groenewegen. “It was of course the intention to go for the sprint with him. It’s a pity it went like this. Whether I was closer to victory than in Turin? There I became second at ten seconds, but now at less than one, I think. I was very close, but I really gave everything in the last metres.”

Jumbo Visma Sports director Arthur van Dongen explained the situation that has arisen. “The plan was of course to just sprint with Dylan. Edoardo did a perfect lead-out, but there was some confusion in the group when he attacked. It was great to see how hard he cycled and almost won. Unfortunately Dylan lost our men in the scramble. Also because David did not have good legs today. I understand that Edoardo has double feelings when he gets on the bus.”

Groenewegen and Dekker will not start tomorrow. The fast men of Team Jumbo-Visma return home to prepare for their upcoming goals. “The pipe is quite empty with both guys. David is a neo pro who has never raced for thirteen days in a row and Dylan had not raced for quite some time before the Giro. As a team we are really satisfied with how they have performed in recent days, but to continue now would be too much for them. Those guys need to get some rest and then look forward to the upcoming races.”

Fernando Gaviria suffered misfortune inside the final kilometre where he had some mechanical trouble and lost his saddle, forcing him to complete the final metres in a less than ideal sprinting position. “It was one of the longest kilometres of my life! Unfortunately I had a mechanical at the wrong time but I managed to make the best of it for a good sprint. I had to go from a long way out. I’m already thinking about the next sprint and hungry for a win at this Giro.”

Max Kanter (DSM): “As expected, we had a sprint stage today,” explained Kanter at the finish. “We tried to relax a bit throughout the day then when we came towards the final, we wanted to switch on and be sharp. I think we managed to do a good lead out today. Compared to the earlier sprint stages we could see a lot of improvements. I was in the mix but I hesitated a tiny bit too long and then the momentum was gone. I was a little bit blocked and then could start my sprint to take eighth in the end. It’s a solid result and hopefully we get a clear run in the next opportunity.”

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