As it happened: No GC fireworks on shortened Giro d'Italia stage 13 as Rubio wins from breakaway
Giro d'Italia: Rubio beats Pinot, Cepeda to win abbreviated mountain stage 13
Good morning, and welcome to the mountains.
After a couple of time trials, some sprints, a few breakaways, and an opening-week mountain stage that fell totally flat, we are finally digging into the serious business at this Giro d'Italia. Stage 13 takes us over two Alpine beasts before heading for a summit finish at Crans-Montana. Not to be missed!
We begin with the news that there could be yet more disruption to this Giro.
As if it hasn't rained enough, it's absolutely bucketing down in the Alps. Rumours have been swirling all week about the descent off the Croix de Coeur, which has been flagged as dangerous after recent snowfall. At the start in Borgofranco d'Ivrea right now, discussions are ongoing as to a potential re-routing.
Of course, this stage was already re-routed and downgraded. The Gran San Bernardo looks big on the profile, doesn't it, but in reality it should tower over the Croix de Coeur. The true summit, all the way up at 2,469 metres, should have been the Cima Coppi as the highest point in this year's Giro, but snowfall made it unscalable, and instead we are stopping at 1875 metres and literally going through the mountain in a tunnel.
🇮🇹 RACE: @giroditalia The way we are swimming 🏊🏼♀️ to the start… What a nice day! #Giro #GirodItalia #AstanaQazaqstanTeam pic.twitter.com/rRe00SvKIoMay 19, 2023
Possible shortening of the stage
We're hearing that the stage could be shortened to around 80km, skipping the San Gran Bernado entirely.
Confirmed: stage shortened
What I just outlined has been confirmed by race director Mauro Vegni. Stage 13 of the Giro d'Italia will start in Sembrancher in Switzerland at 14:24 local time, effectively cutting the first 119km from today's route. The stage will be 80km long, tackling the Croix de Coeur and its descent as normal before heading up the Crans Montana summit finish.
This has come about after discussions between riders, teams and the Giro organisers. The UCI's extreme weather protocol has been triggered and a compromise has been reached.
Here's the race director, Mauro Vegni
“There was a request from the riders and to change the route of the stage because of the extreme weather protocol.
"The real time news from Switzerland is that the conditions are much better there than here in Italy
"I have to say it’s never easy to find an agreement because everyone has their own interests. My interest is the Giro.”
The riders are gathering on the start line. They're actually going to roll out and ride through the neutral zone to kilometre-zero, at which point they'll get into their team buses and be driven to Switzerland.
It's a very short neutral zone today, so in fact the riders will ride the neutral zone in the driving rain, then ride back to the start area, to just get back in the buses.
Cycling. You wouldn't want it any other way.
The scene at the start.
Here's Eolo-Kometa's Lorenzo Fortunato
“We’ll only do the last two climbs, right? We were ready to do the whole thing but I think it was a great decision. It’s a pity for the public, but the other day in the mountains when it was very cold, there weren’t many fans, which was understandable. There’ll still be spettacolo with this stage - maybe even more."
Here's the new stage profile
At 74.6km, it's slightly shorter than we first thought. We might still be starting in Sembrancher but it looks like we'll have a mini improvised neutral zone before kilometre-zero in La Châble, which is the exact foot of the Croix de Coeur.
Starting one of the biggest mountains of the 2023 Giro right from the gun? Carnage.
"You need to take the best decision to safeguard the riders," says Bahrain Victorious' Jonathan Milan. "I think it’s the best thing”
The riders are on the start line and they're going to roll out here
They're off. Stage 13 of the Giro d'Italia is officially underway. Only it will last just five non-racing minutes before everyone turns around and goes back to the buses.
The start is being maintained to honour the agreement with Borgofranco d'Ivrea, who have made significant investments and plans to host the start of a stage of the Giro. There's pink stuff everywhere and it's a real shame for the town and its cycling fans, who, to give them their due, have still turned out in big numbers to see this.
Here's what race leader Geraint Thomas has to say
"There was a big chat last night with the CPA. All the teams voted on what they wanted to do. To be honest, I think it’s a good decision. I think it’s still going to be a super hard stage. It just means we’re not in this cold, wet weather for even longer," the Welshman tells Eurosport/GCN.
"We’ve seen so many guys going home with sickness, so if we want to get to Rome with at least 50 guys, it’s a good decision. It’s still going to be hard racing, so I think it’s a decent compromise.
"If anything, it makes it tougher. We’re starting at this second climb. It’s a tough climb. There’s no warming up. It’s going to be super hard. There’s going to be a lot of attacks straight away. For us, we’ve got to try and keep it simple, keep doing what we’re doing, communicating well, and try and control that first climb."
There are pink balloons everywhere here.
Only pro cycling would make the Giro d'Italia peloton ride several neutralised kilometres in the rain, then jump on the team bus and start 120km away 😂 Football equivalent is team doing keepy-uppies on waterlogged pitch for the fans then driving to a different stadiumMay 19, 2023
The riders have now left the town centre and they're approaching km0
And now they turn off. The road is blocked and they're guided left onto a small road that will loop them back around.
Some of the buses have in fact moved. Intermarché and QuickStep have managed to get theirs right up to that turn-off, so an extra bit of time in the dry for those riders. Marginal gains.
Most of the buses have in fact been moved, with many in a nearby industrial yard and the riders all now parking their bikes and stepping onto their buses.
The riders have soaked through a layer of clothing already. They'll get into some dry casual gear and settle in for a 100km drive.
Not all the riders are happy about this decision. Here's Jack Haig.
"I’ve seen we’re starting the last two climbs but to be honest I don’t fully agree because one of the main reasons that we didn’t want to do the middle climb was because the road surface on the downhill was potentially dangerous and we wouldn’t have time to put clothes on.
"And now we’re starting at the bottom of the climb where we’re going to race full and get very hot, so not needing many clothes. Then doing the downhill with potentially guys racing to bridge back to the groups they’ve been dropped from on a downhill that we’ve discussed is dangerous, so I don’t’ really understand the compromise, but yeah…"
Statement from the race organisers
"Given the adverse weather conditions, especially on the Italian side, the Commission decided to meet the athletes' requests by applying the Extreme Weather Protocol. Stage 13 will be shortened with the new km 0 being set at Le Chable, at the bottom of the Croix de Couer. The final part of the stage remains unchanged. The race will follow the original timetable."
"I can understand the organisers and I can understand the riders. It's not a fun situation," says Thibaut Pinot, who adds: "Doing two descents at zero degrees, I think that's not possible."
Our full story on the route change can be found here:
Adverse weather forces Giro d'Italia to cut stage 13 to 74.6km
The glamour of the Giro
The race leader at the start
At least some were in good spirits
#Giro 🇮🇹UCI legal? 🤔 pic.twitter.com/ewJMhQDmEeMay 19, 2023
If you're only just joining us...
Stage 13 of the Giro is not currently happening. It started (sort of) but has now stopped, and riders are being driven to Switzerland after the first 125km of the stage were cut due to adverse weather.
The stage will therefore skip the Passo Gran San Bernardo entirely, the highest mountain of this year's Giro having already been cut down in size earlier this week. We will still do the Croix de Coeur and its descent - despite fears over the safety of the latter - before heading on to the summit finish at Crans-Montana.
The stage is 74.6km long, it starts at 14:30 local time, and it could be absolute carnage as it heads up and down a huge mountain from kilometre-zero.
With a cat-1 climb from the gun, the riders are going to want to warm up. There's talk of a mass turbo trainer arena in a sports hall near the new start.
Again, only in cycling.
The right decision?
This is going to be an issue that divides opinion and rumbles on. The Giro organisers, understandably, want to protect their race and the towns who have agreed to host it. The riders, understandably, want to work in safe conditions. It's not always possible to find an objectively 'right' decision, but the emphasis should be on dialogue and compromise to find a solution that works for everyone.
The strange thing in this situation is the nature of the compromise. As we understand it, discussions this week have focused on the Croix de Coeur, particularly its descent, with the roads said to be in poor condition after recent snowfall, and more rainfall forecast this afternoon. However, as Haig pointed out, that all remains in place.
Instead, the organisers have chopped off the Gran San Bernardo and the first 125km. I'm sure many of the riders will be relieved, but does this fully solve the problem? Is that really the most dangerous aspect of the route? If the rain is really concentrated in Italy, and things remain clear in Switzerland, then maybe it's the best outcome, but the forecasts don't seem so sure about that.
Moscon speaks out
Gianni Moscon (Astana) is one rider who does not agree with the shortening of the stage. Here's his remarkable statement to Italian broadcaster Rai.
"It's true that there's bad weather, it's true that we're tired but I don't think there were the conditions to shorten the stage. For me you could ride, then if someone wanted to stop they could. We are not ordered to be professional cyclists. If we don't like it, we can change jobs."
Our respected Italian colleague Marco Bonarrigo says the Gran San Bernardo descent is currently dry with a temperature of 8 degrees. The race wasn't due to pass through for another hour and a half, but at the moment it would appear rideable.
@giroditalia Discesa del Gran San Bernardo (che i corridori faranno in bus), quota 1664 slm, temperatura 8 gradi, strada asciutta, timido sole che fa capolino tra le nuvole. Con @GaiaPic pic.twitter.com/ZKpfSuolW1May 19, 2023
Adam Hansen is the new president of the CPA and he has been a far more prominent and vocal leader of the riders' union than his predecessor. The CPA used to come in for all sorts of criticism but Hansen appears to be a genuinely popular and respected figure among riders.
Here's an interesting statement from him on Twitter. It was from stage 10, which also saw discussions over a shortening, but still has relevance for today.
Thanks for the story. I will say this very nicely. My job is to represent the riders, not convince them, change their options, and definitely not side with the organisers, UCI, or fans. I'm not here to make friends with organisers, UCI, teams, or even fans.It is not my voice.… https://t.co/XVCVTDCSKvMay 18, 2023
The buses on their way to Switzerland.
That'll be a proper uphill start.Priority break? Nop - stay warm https://t.co/zG5ZabG3SfMay 19, 2023
We're another rider light at this Giro, and it's a big one, stage 6 winner and former world champion Mads Pedersen (Trek-Segafredo). He was fighting for the maglia ciclamino in the points classification but now has to leave the race after falling ill alst night.
Mads Pedersen leaves the Giro d'Italia with tracheitis
The route has dated this slightly, but Barry Ryan's stage 13 preview still sets the tone as the Giro hits the mountains
Giro d'Italia 2023 stage 13 preview - ‘A lot to gain, a lot to lose’ as race enters new phase at Crans-Montana
One hour to go!
🇮🇹 #GiroThe peloton is on the way, just not on bikes yet 🤷🏼♀️ pic.twitter.com/HjQ3ISSgG6May 19, 2023
Statement from CPA rider union president Adam Hansen
"To provide clarity from the riders' perspective, the weather conditions experienced during this year's Giro have been among the most intense. In response, the riders held a vote last night to invoke the extreme weather protocol.
"According to the regulations, which outline freezing rain as point 1 and extreme temperatures as point 4 during certain parts of today's route, the riders agreed to vote. If the majority surpassed 80%, the remaining riders would follow and respect the majority decision, which implementing the extreme weather protocol and executing point 3: 'change of route.' The voting process was conducted anonymously, with over 90% of the riders in favour.
"I and the CPA support their decision. If anyone disagrees with their choice, I will wear the cost. So send your criticism at me, not the riders. The riders are the heroes of this sport, and I believe they should focus solely on their racing rather than being subjected to negative remarks.
"I would like to extend my gratitude to the Giro d'Italia organization for recognizing the need for change and understanding the riders' perspective. The extreme weather conditions experienced this year are beyond anyone's control, and the riders are grateful for the support of the RCS, volunteers, and fans. They will do their best to put on a show for the world to watch!"
It's taken longer than expected to get to the new start, so the start will be delayed by around half an hour.
The stage will now start at 15:00 CET, so in just over half an hour.
The buses actually followed the exact route of the original stage. Webcams on the Gran San Bernardo tunnel showed buses still going through as recently as half an hour ago.
From Cyclingnews' Stephen Farrand
It was raining heavily in Italy but is now dry in Switzerland. It was right to avoid racing in the cold rain for 100km. The stage should be even more spectacular now. pic.twitter.com/lAHtqnqJQbMay 19, 2023
The buses are lining up on the road. It's dry and teams are putting turbo trainers outside so that riders can warm up. We remind you that we're going up the Giro's biggest mountain from KM0.
The race leader is warming up
Hansen confirms what we mentioned earlier, that this is something of an awkward compromise.
"It is true, the riders wanted to start at the start like original and ride the full course and miss Croix De Coeur as that was the moment of rain combined with the coldest temps at the time of the voting.
"We were told not to decide the morning of the race, so the decision was made the day before. If we can't decide in the morning and must do it the day before, we must decide based on the weather the day before.
"Just before the start, the counter offer came. The majority accepted it, but it was not their original idea. It was RCS idea for this route. Riders wanted the full route minus Croix De Coeur based on the weather at the time of voting."
Riders will have to go through a pretty intense warm-up routine to get the engines firing for this huge cat-1 climb from the start. They'd ordinarily have 124km and one mountain pass in the legs but this stage is now going to explode from the very start.
We're sure to see some big attacks from the gun. There'll be breakaway hopefuls and KOM points hunters, but how will the GC riders race it? Ineos will look to get things under control pretty quickly but that's easier said than done, especially if some dangerous riders start jumping.
Eurosport/GCN have a reporter on the top of the Croix de Coeur, highlighting the dangers of the descent. At the top there are narrow roads, banks of snow, with the melting water trickling down the road, and loose gravel on the road surface. It might end up largely being ok but that stretch certainly looks nasty and you could understand why riders would not be keen to race it.
The riders are rolling and we're about to get underway. Finally!
We reach the new km0 in La Châble and the first attacks come instantly as we start the Croix de Coeur.
Karel Vacek (Corratec-Selle Italia) is the first attacker but he snaps his chain!
Here's a closer look at the climb. It's a beast.
Israel-Premier Tech are keen. Matthew Riccitello is the latest attacker for them and he's joined by fellow US climber Joe Dombrowski (Astana).
Mountains classification leader Davide Bais (Eolo-Kometa) is also on the move.
Alexander Cepeda (EF Education-EasyPost) is keen and has now opened a gap solo as the peloton splits behind.
Sprinters dropped immediately. Gaviria, Cavendish, Milan all out the back.
This was the improvised start line.
We have a group of a dozen riders forming behind Cepeda. Ineos are lined up behind them.
Hugh Carthy on the attack!
Thibaut Pinot is part of the group that Carthy has tagged onto.
Carthy is 12th overall at 3:22. He is a former Grand Tour podium finisher and while he's fairly low down at the moment, we haven't had any of his favourite thing yet at this Giro: mountains.
Ineos are keeping this Carthy group in their sights. They've already lost Salvatore Puccio.
There are 13 riders in this attack, which has now caught Cepeda. Jay Vine (UAE) is in there.
Ben Swift drops for Ineos. Thomas has Laurens De Plus, Pavel Sivakov, and Thymen Arensman now. Filippo Ganna and Tao Geoghegan Hart abandoned earlier in the race.
Carthy has two teammates in this attack, Cepeda and also Ben Healy, who's now trying to drive it clear.
Hugh Carthy, Ben Healy, Alexander Cepeda,
De Plus closes down the Carthy move, so it's all back together. Except it's not really, because there are precious few riders left in the peloton.
Jack Haig (Bahrain Victorious) is dropped. He crashed yesterday and Damiano Caruso could become Bahrain's sole leader.
Vine drops from the mini bunch. He was on the attack but now can't follow and can't even help Joao Almeida.
Cepeda has gone on the attack again and three riders have set off to chase.
Pinot now sets off with a teammate.
Derek Gee and Matthew Riccitello are chasing for Israel-Premier Tech along with AG2R's Valentin Paret-Peintre.
De Plus continues to control the mini peloton for Ineos. Roglic has three teammates there.
Regrouping at the front
Pinot and his teammate, Armirail, along with Movistar's Einer Rubio, have caught the Paret-Peintre trio, and they've all just caught Cepeda. So we now have seven out front.
This group takes their lead to 30 seconds as they come into Verbier.
We've got an intermediate sprint but it's not that relevant as none of these riders care about the points classification. There are bonus seconds, however, and Rubio takes them as he crosses the line first.
Rubio is 21st overall at 11:11. He came into the Giro with vague GC ambitions.
The best-placed rider overall in this break is Pinot, 15th overall at 4:48.
Armirail is dropped from the break, having worked to fire Pinot into it. Six remain out front.
More detail on this climb. We've just gone through the 'S' at Verbier and it gets harder and harder.
55 seconds now for this break.
Pinot attacks the break!
Paret-Peintre is dropped.
Gee closes the gap to Pinot but his teammate Riccitello can't handle that pace.
4km to the top and Pinot is making use of this hardest section to try and make the difference. He's powering along even as riders come back up to him.
Gee, Cepeda, Rubio are the only three who can follow Pinot's pace.
It's steady in the bunch, and that allows more riders to come back to it, with the gap to the front going out to 1:30.
Pinot enquires about assistance but gets nothing. He still seems happy to dictate this one.
Change in the bunch as Bahrain take over from Ineos!
It's Buitrago on the front, leading Caruso. We think Haig is one of the riders who has come back but if so he's far down the group.
Ben Swift has just been dropped again, having gotten back. He could return on the descent and could yet be useful on the valley approach to the final climb.
Thomas takes out his Gilet and takes his arms off his bars to casually put it on. A nice show of strength there.
1:45 now for the four leaders as they hit the upper reaches of the Croix de Coeur.
Ineos back on the front of the bunch through De Plus.
A few more riders grabbing gilets. They're looking to do this early to avoid any faff at the top as the descent starts.
Pinot is still on the front of this break. He's on the march today.
2km from the top and Gee comes through now.
Swift is still dangling off the back here. Ineos aren't forcing too hard as they'll want to make sure he's involved in the valley. As it stands it's only Arensman and De Plus with Thomas as Sivakov has dropped.
Thomas now puts a full cape on over that gilet, pink jersey now concealed beneath two laters.
Roglic has a gilet and a buff.
The breakaway now grab their layers, just over 1km from the top.
The road has narrowed to a thin strip of tarmac on a vertiginous mountainside shelf.
The Jumbo riders have got their capes on now.
Arm warmers now coming on for Pinot. He's done a fair bit off this off the bars.
Haig did not get back into the bunch. He's well off the back.
We're coming to the top now and while Pinot would love a stage win and is still in the GC picture, the priority for now is the KOM points, with 40 on offer.
Pinot takes it up again as the fans line the road at the summit. Out of the saddle now and here he goes.
Rubio pushes up but Pinot safely collects the maximum collection of KOM points. He wore the blue jersey earlier in the race and has made a big charge back up the leaderboard.
Banks of snow line the road as the break head downhill. Grit and water, too. Hoping everyone stays safe.
58km to go
The reduced peloton reaches the top of the climb 1:55 behind the four-man breakaway.
It's raining now and this is a treacherous descent. There was a time when Pinot was cripplingly afraid of downhills but he's happy to lead the way here, albeit gingerly.
A shot of the bunch a little earlier.
Updated KOM standings
1. Davide Bais (Eolo-Kometa) - 104 points
2. Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ) - 90 points
3. Karel Vacek (Corratec-Selle Italia) - 36 points
Paret-Peintre rejoins the breakaway. He's the only rider taking risks out there right now.
Armirail is also going pretty quickly. He was nearly caught by the bunch at the top of the climb but is now well clear of it.
Paret-Peintre now attacks and goes out the front.
The bunch is just getting down here.
And Paret-Peintre, who's properly racing this, moves out to 2:40 ahead.
Wider roads now on the lower section of the descent, but the roads are still cracked and craggy, and there are drops of rain about.
Pinot on the charge earlier.
Paret-Peintre is only 10 seconds up on the rest of the break.
And now they catch him.
The bottom section of the descent finally features some smooth roads.
The gap to the bunch goes out to 3:20.
It's not ginger anymore. It's super fast. Wide, smooth roads, that are much more used to traffic. There are some sinuous bends but few big hairpins.
I will speak out and defend the riders for the dry roads. First, we were told stage 10 we could not negotiate just before the start when the weather is most accurate. 20 guys went home in a 24-hour period. We were told we can not negotiate days in advance because the weather can…May 19, 2023
Pinot is flying here. He's pushing on the pedals in his biggest gear and he's riding away from the break here.
The gap rises to 3:30. Pinot and his breakmates have gained 90 seconds on this descent so far.
Pinot did have a teammate chasing this break in Armirail, who might have been useful in the valley, but he appears to be nearer the bunch now. Pinot looks to be going alone into the valley but it could force the others into arguments.
Pinot is happy not to really attack as he removes his gilet and grabs a feed from a soigneur.
The breakaway have come off the descent and they now have 25km in the valley.
The breakaway have moved to 4mins ahead after that even bigger push on the bottom section.
Swift is leading the peloton down, followed by Arensman, Thomas, De Plus, and then Roglic's men.
Cooperation will be key for the break here. Ineos have Swift to burn through but they'll likely look to conserve De Plus and Arensman, so the break will still have the numbers unless any other GC teams contribute.
Sivakov made it back for Ineos on the descent, and now he comes through to the front for them. That's another rider to work, as he'll likely be dropped again on the final climb, judging by the Croix de Coeur.
30km to go and the breakaway's lead has reduced by 10 seconds already in the valley.
Pinot is making sure everyone's turning. Policeman Pinot.
Pinot glares at Cepeda. He skips his turn. It doesn't go down well.
Sivakov is on the front for Ineos, so the peloton have two men turning rather more smoothly: Swift and Sivakov.
Cepeda does a turn. Pinot has policed it well.
25km to go
25 to go and the gap is 3:35.
Halfway through the valley and the breakaway have shipped half a minute. If that loss rate remains the same they'll take 3 minutes onto the final climb, which might not be enough.
Pinot is doing so much here. He basically did the whole Croix de Coeur on the front once the move went, then bossed the lower section of the descent, and is now doing the longest turns in the valley. He's looking super strong and motivated.
Roglic removes his gilet, Thomas still has pink arm warmers on.
Jumbo-Visma have five riders behind Ineos: Roglic, Kuss, Dennis, Bouwman, Gloag.
The arm warmers are coming off now.
The gap drops to 3:15. Just a few kilometres left in the valley now.
Let's look at the final climb
It's a steadier ascent but the average gradient is mitigated by a short dip near the top.
Cepeda has stopped working again, and Pinot's not happy. Arm waving from both.
Here's a closer look at the upper reaches of our summit finish.
And here's the map.
Breakaway breakdown. Pinot accelerates as he comes through for his turn. Rubio is working, but not Cepeda. Gee lets the wheel go and waves goodbye, forcing the Colombian to do something.
15km to go and the gap is down at 3 minutes.
Bold move from Gee. He was prepared to let that go in order to put the pressure on - and publicly shame - Cepeda.
Here we go then, we're about to start the final climb of Crans-Montana!
The breakaway - Pinot, Gee, Cepeda, Rubio, Paret-Peintre - hit the climb with a lead of 2:55 over the Ineos-led peloton.
Pinot swings out round a bend to try and urge Cepeda and Rubio through. The former does but Pinot has to slot back in in front of the latter, who's eating.
No, he's got something to give to his team car, which he does in an extremely sticky way.
The Frenchman swung out again on a bend, cruising to the back of the group, but he now launches straight out the front! Here we go.
Rubio and Gee are well distanced.
Pinot and Cepeda are 2:45 ahead. Let's see how the peloton race this. Will Ineos ride steady? And will anyone else look to really light it up anywhere before the final few kilometres?
Rubio rides away from Gee as Paret-Peintre is dropped even further back.
11km to go
Rubio claws his way back to Pinot and Cepeda.
Pinot attacks again! Another ripper.
Cepeda is the one to respond and he drags Rubio back across.
Pinot is relentless today.
Mechanical for Koen Bouwman, who already had one on the approach to the climb. That's a key support rider for Roglic, and actually the rider who usually lends a spare bike if needs be, given their similar size.
More arguments up front. Pinot angrily points the finger at Cepeda. The lull allows Gee to come back.
10km to go and these games will destroy the break. Their saving grace right now is there's no GC battle, with Swift still setting tempo.
They're weaving up front. No one is taking responsibility. Pinot is watching and surveying at the back.
Gee attacks! It's a stealth move as he almost tip-toes off.
Pinot puts the pressure on the two South Americans but then rips away from them!
Pinot blitzes past Gee.
Cepeda responds now and drags Rubio back up to Gee. They're not far behind Pinot.
Cepeda rides away from Gee and Rubio now to get to Pinot!
Pinot kicks again!
9km from the top and Cepeda is grinding his way just behind Pinot, who's doing everything he can here.
More bickering! Words exchanged between Pinot and Cepeda. Head shaking aplenty.
Cepeda is once again not working with Pinot, who has made no secret of how strong he is today.
Rubio comes back to them now with 8km to go.
Pinot accelerates again!
I've lost count of the Pinot accelerations today. Vintage stuff. It might yet be his undoing, as Cepeda and Rubio ride steadier, more conservatively, more cannily. But it's mightily entertaining.
First move from the peloton and it's Eolo-Kometa's Lorenzo Fortunato, 25th overall at 16 minutes. It's turning into a non-GC day after all that.
Pinot kicks again and he has his biggest gap now.
Haig is dropped. He was already struggling on the first climb, having crashed yesterday.
Cepeda gets to Pinot again with 6.6km to go. Rubio back now too.
Change in the bunch as Swift is done and Sivakov takes over for Ineos. He was dropped early on the first climb so it's unlikely he'll do much damage.
The front three still have 3:10 so unless they fully throw it away one of them will be the stage winner.
Pinot attacks again!
Cepeda grinds his way back, and Rubio finally does the same. Rinse and repeat.
Pinot dances out of the saddle. It's not an attack but he's dictating the tempo, even if the other two won't come out of his wheel.
GC attack! Hugh Carthy goes
Ineos watch it but now Sivakov has to relent and De Plus takes it up.
Cepeda attacks up front!
Pinot now has to respond, and he leads Rubio back towards the EF rider.
5km to go and Cepeda has a decent little gap here.
Some of the earlier beef.
#Giro #GirodItalia https://t.co/TCtqXeRdAs pic.twitter.com/IgpIFRYKwPMay 19, 2023
That was a strange attack from Cepeda. It was mid-argument with Pinot, who was losing his head there. Cepeda sort of drifted away as Pinot remonstrated with him, and then turned it into a full-on attack.
Pinot distances Rubio as he pegs Rubio at around seven seconds.
De Plus has raised the pace in the bunch and it has reduced in size now. Carthy still just ahead.
Carthy has reached Fortunato and they have a handy lead.
Pinot reaches Cepeda under the 4km to go banner.
Pinot immediately accelerates but the two are together with a small gap on Rubio... who's coming back once again!
Carthy and Forunato have found 20 seconds on the bunch.
Pinot out of the saddle again as he leads this trio into the final 3km with a lead of 2:15 over Carthy and Fortunato and 2:30 over the bunch.
Still a sizeable GC group as De Plus leads it up.
Pinot still on the front of the leading trio.
A reminder of the final kilometres
Pinot responds and Rubio is looking better now.
Pinot takes it up once again. They have 1:50 on Carthy, who's dropping Fortunato, and 2:05 on the bunch.
1500 metres to go and it looks like this'll come down to a mountain-top sprint between three.
Bahrain take it up in the bunch!
De Plus has to relent as Buitrago takes it up for Caruso. Thomas has just Arensman for support.
Arensman comes to set the pace.
Dennis and Bouwman have dropped for Jumbo. Kuss still there with Roglic.
Arensman claws it back to Caruso.
Final 500m for the break!
Cepeda launches off that mini descent
Rubio comes over the top.
Cepeda fading. Does Pinot have anything left?
No! Rubio's going to win.
The Colombian holds on and Pinot can't close it. The Movistar man points to the sky as he crosses the line for his first Grand Tour stage win.
Pinot second, Cepeda third, Gee fourth.
Dunbar has attacked from the GC group.
Thomas accelerates now out of the descent
Roglic is on Thomas wheel. And Almeida
Carthy finishes now with V.Paret-Peintre.
And a few seconds later it's Thomas, Roglic, Almeida and a couple of others, who sweep up Dunbar.
The GC group at the finish (a few seconds behind Carthy) was: Thomas, Roglic, Almeida, Caruso, Kuss, Dunbar, Kamna.
Leknessund trailed home a few seconds later. Then Arensman a few after that.
So, Einer Rubio (Movistar) wins stage 13 of the Giro d'Italia, with no major developments from a GC perspective.
We can see Pinot hunched over his bars, head in hands, at the finish. He's gutted.
Pinot will move up on GC, to the cusp of the top 10.
The mini pink jersey group at the line.
Let's hear from the race leader, Geraint Thomas
"We stayed calm, we knew it [the breakaway] was a small group. The first big group that went had three EF guys and was a strong move so we wanted to close that down, then when Pinot went with five guys, we stayed in control. We knew Swifty and Pavel were not far behind, it was a really good ride from them to stay close. They came back on the descent and could ride the valley and the first part of the climb. It was all under control. Obviously it wasn't ideal, Pinot is a great rider and we don't want to him to gain a heap of time, but the boys had it under control.
"The way the wind was at the end, it made it hard for attacks. I was waiting for some big attacks, but I think Primoz was happy to leave me in the jersey for a few more days, let us control the race, and bide his time for next week, that's the feeling I get."
Rubio heads onto the podium
Another day in pink.
Pinot does appear on the podium after taking back the mountains jersey today.
Let's hear from the stage winner, Einer Rubio
"Today is a beautiful day, for Colombia, for my family, for Boyaca, for me hometown. I hope they all feel proud. I have worked very hard to come here and obtain a good result in the Giro d'Italia. I don't know what to say. I'm lost for words. It's a great emotion.
"I profited a bit from that [the tension between Pinot and Cepeda]. They showed themselves to be very strong from the start of the climb. But I knew I had enough strength, that I had an opportunity and that I could take advantage of it. It's experience, it's luck as well, and today we have the victory.
"I was asking my director how the final was, and he explained the last kilometre in detail, so I launched when I had to. As I crossed the line I thought 'I've achieved what I was seeking in my first Giro'. It's my third Giro now, I've gained a lot of experience, and it shows.
"Unfortunately, the other day, because of the weather, I dropped out of the GC race. I stopped to change clothes and I couldn't come back to the peloton. But I said 'I'll now have more freedom to hunt stage wins'."
We can now hear from Thibaut Pinot
"I was fired up today. I was fired up the whole climb. Unfortunately I payed for my efforts in the sprint, but I gave everything. I left my guts out on the road. That's how it is. I hope there will be other opportunities to come. If I could raise my arms at this Giro, that would be welcome.
"There was a headwind and the gradient was quite steady. Crans Montana is not the hardest. It's a beautiful climb, but at those percentages it's very complicated to drop guys, especially when they leave you do to all the work. It was complicated. There was nothing else to be done. If I don't ride, we're taken in the pink jersey group and we're left with nothing.
"The blue jersey is a consolation. I'll try and keep it, and it can become an objective, but the road is still long."
Here's how things now stand on GC
Only one change of order in the top 10, as Paret-Peintre drops from 10th to 12th, with Pinot rising five places to 10th, and Carthy gaining a few seconds so move one place to 11th.
Leknessund shipped seven seconds but remains fourth, while Arensman lost 13 seconds but stays eighth and De Plus lost 32 seconds but stays ninth.
The other developments are that Jack Haig, after his crash yesterday, fell four places after losing nearly four minutes, while Patrick Konrad lost yesterday's gains to drop from 13th out of the top 15.
There wasn't much to write home about GC wise, but it has to be said Thomas looked sharp at the finish there. His teammates worked all day but he was happy to give it a little nudge in the final kilometre as the GC group whittled to around six. Not a big hit-out, but he's looking good. That said, Roglic looked perfectly comfortable in the wheel, and might have been able to come around, but perhaps preferred not to take the pink jersey and the responsibilities that come with it, for now.
Everyone talked about the big final week and it's going to come down to that.
Tomorrow's stage features a big early climb but is otherwise flat, while Sunday's stage is more of a medium mountain affair. That means that, with two weeks on the clock, the GC battle will have come down to two tight time trials and a few misfortunate abandons, with the two proper mountain stages so far falling flat because of headwinds.
The final week kicks off with the big Monte Bondone summit finish, then a sprint stage, then a four (out of five) star mountain stage before the big Dolomite tappone finishing on Tre Cime di Lavaredo on stage 19, then the crucial mountain time trial on stage 20 ahead of the final ride into Rome.
That's it from us for today. We'll have all the biggest reaction stories coming in shortly, and we'll once again have all the weekend's stages covered live right here. Ciao!