Giacomo Nizzolo ended his long wait for a Giro d’Italia stage win as Egan Bernal retained the pink jersey in Verona. The European and Italian champion had a record 11 second places without a win in Giro stages, but the Qhubeka-Assos rider finally broke his duck on stage 13 to spark emotional celebrations.
The virtually pan-flat 198km stage from Ravenna was always destined to finish in a sprint, though Jumbo-Visma’s Edoardo Affini tried a late dart away from the fast men on the finishing straight before being overhauled by Nizzolo just before the line, ending with second place ahead of Peter Sagan.
“My goal was to be second, maybe that was the trick to gain the victory,” Nizzolo joked. “I’m super happy. My only goal in the sprint was to not get blocked in the final. I went quite far in the wind but I had good legs and it worked out. [Affini’s attack] was a reference for me, I tried to catch him from as far as possible. He did a great effort so congratulations to him as well but I’m so happy.”
Asked what a first Giro stage win meant to him, the 32-year-old said: “A lot, a lot. As I said, I don’t think my value changed because of the Giro but it is obviously nice so I will enjoy it.”
The sprint finish meant no change to the general classification as the overall contenders enjoyed a relatively easy day after two stressful stages and the looming presence of Monte Zoncolan on Saturday. Bernal retains a 45-second advantage over Aleksandr Vlasov, with Damiano Caruso one minute 12 seconds down ahead of Britain’s Hugh Carthy and Simon Yates in fourth and fifth, respectively.
“It was a bit calm and finally we had an easy day in the Giro,” said Bernal. “I think we had some time to recover a little bit but tomorrow we will have a hard day, so from now we start to think about tomorrow.”
One thousand fans are due to line Saturday’s climb after tickets priced at €10 were snapped up inside an hour. Asked if he would target a stage win in the pink jersey, Bernal said: “That would be special but it’s difficult to control all of the peloton and to control the break. I would be happy if I just keep the maglia rosa but I will do my best.”