Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Giro d’Italia 2013 – Stage 20: Silandro – Tre Cime di Lavaredo 203km. Nibali Confirms


HomeDiariesGiro d'Italia 2013 - Stage 20: Silandro - Tre Cime di Lavaredo...

It’s one to bore the grandchildren with – the day you were right there when Nibali joined the Greats on the Tre Cime di Lavaredo.

‘Epic’ doesn’t do it justice; there was a full fledged blizzard raging for the finale – it was as if the Giro organisers had tee-ed it up.

But it wasn’t just Vincenzo who deserves the plaudits, every finisher down to last man home, Sacha Modolo deserves huge respect.

The river in full spate as the snow melts.

We drove race route and the raging melt waters on the way up the valleys gave a clue as to what was coming.

Beauty and history everywhere.

The countryside is beautiful in the north and there’s history all around you.

We’re leaving the dry roads behind.

By 50 K to go we were seriously into the mountains with the real ‘death climbing’ starting at 20 K to go out of a subdued and freezing Cortina.

The snowmen by the roadside were another big clue about what was coming.

The Tre Cime road rears from already high altitude and – when you can see them – is one of the world’s great sights.

Indeed, they peaks are a World Heritage Site.

On the way up we stopped so as I could take a picture; before we knew it we had three new amigos in the back seat, unable to believe their luck that they were going to get to the top – civilian cars don’t get anywhere near the finale.

Dave, with our ‘guests’ for the drive up.
The view isn’t any better at the top.

The scene was 100% Winter Wonderland, albeit we thought that sun might just break through – that was wishful thinking as a full blown winter storm raged in.

The race leader emerges first from the blizzard.

By the time Nibali surged into view the visibility was down to maybe 30 metres and the snow flakes were the size of half crowns.

Nibali’s critics were silenced by the Sicilian; those who said he was workmanlike but unspectacular have been forced to eat their words.

He’s dignified, not prone to gobbing off, not greedy – remember the stage he gave to Santambrogio – and when he wants, spectacular.

Uran was giving it everything, as the last chance to overtake Evans ebbed away.

Uran usurped Cadel but had to go deep to do so – but then so did the whole peloton on this wild, unforgettable day.

Fabio Aru.

One of the revelations of the day was former Baby Giro winner, young Fabio Aru of Astana, he was fifth @ 44 seconds after having backed his Capo to the hilt in the finale.

Franco Pellizotti.

Franco Pellizotti showed the grinta is still there, honouring his Italian champion’s maglia. Also displaying amazing toughness was Columbia’s Duarte, taking second place.

Rafal Majka.

It was a bad day for Saxobank’s Majka, losing the white jersey to AG2R’s Betancur – Carlos is in fifth spot and looks like he’s been genetically engineered.

A tiny, schoolboy’s body and the thighs of a track sprinter, and as seems to be the deal with Columbian riders – a dubious hair cut.

We’d perhaps expected more of Scarponi; he’s a man who revels in tough conditions but despite his finishing ahead of Evans on the day, there wasn’t enough in his tank to usurp the Australian from the podium and the wily Italian stays fourth.

Poland’s Przemyslaw Niemiec.

His team mate, the big Pole Niemiec was the perfect lieutenant, shepherding Scarponi up the final heart breaking metres.

There seems to be a lot more “mechanical problems” in the top flight this season…

Evans was struggling; we’d hear later he’d had, ‘mechanical problems’ with two kilometres to go – a wee bit embarrassing for a team sponsored by a bicycle company…

Estonian Tanel Kangert.

Tanel Kangert was another Astana man who did a great job for his Capo – and was still well there in the final reckoning.

There’ll be a few talent scouts have the Estonian’s name in their notebook.

Wilco Kelderman wasn’t on his best day – but apart from Nibali, neither was anyone else.
By this time, we looked like snow men and were frozen but the job had to be done.
Serge Pauwels.

Despite the conditions, Serge Pauwels managed to look pretty cool – which is more than can be said for his team mate, Cav.

The Manxman was wasted, unable to lift his head as he rocked and swerved to the line.

But huge respect is due to Cavendish, you cannot question the man’s grinta.

We decided we’d wait for the last man home, it only seemed right – Sacha Modolo was at his limit as fought the last few metres to the line.

Sasha Modolo.

Respect, Sacha – and Vincenzo, Mark and all the rest on this day which they’ll be talking about for a long time to come.

Looking down to the finish area.

Sunshine this morning as we rattle down the Autostrada to Brescia; can Cav make it five?

We think so.