Here's how Ulissi made it two
Watch the reduced sprint finish between the Italian and his rival in pink...
Watch a 'strange old sprint' as Ulissi and Almeida duke it out in Stage 13
Almeida prettier in pink
Deceuninck Quick-Step still without a win in this year's Giro, but their Portuguese debutant Joao Almeida is now 40 seconds clear of Wilco Kelderman (Team Sunweb) on the overall standings ahead of tomorrow's time trial.
Today's top 10
You probably didn't expect to see this today but all the fast men - except Ulissi - were spat out the back on those climbs. So Sagan misses out on an opportunity to take a second win and prise the maglia ciclamino jersey from Arnaud Demare's back. The Slovakian almost got back on but in the end he finished 23 seconds down. The Demare group was 41 seconds back.
Almeida extends lead
Yes, the photo finish has given it to UAE-Team Emirates' Diego Ulissi with Joao Almeida taking second - and six bonus seconds - ahead of Patrick Konrad of Bora-Hansgrohe. The GC guys gate-crashed that sprint and the win did go to the fastest finisher.
Victory for Diego Ulissi!
The Italian doubles up just ahead of Joao Almeida and Patrick Konrad... we await confirmation from that photo finish...
It's going to be a sprint among the main GC riders for the stage win as they go under the flamme rouge with 20 seconds on the Sagan chasing quartet. Ulissi has a teammate and must be a favourite with Almeida...
3km to go: Flawless for Quick-Step
Almeida still has three teammates in this leading group, with Mikkel Honere primed to lead out the Portuguese for the sprint. Behind they have Ballerini in the Sagan chase group should they return to the fold. It looks like Demare has given up - but it's not so bad for the Frenchman, who will keep his maglia ciclamino because Sagan doesn't look like he'll pick up any points.
5km to go: Sagan still chases
The Slovakian has ridden clear of his chase group alongside De Gendt, Swift and Ballerini. They're 25 seconds down and this is a last-ditch attempt to get accross. They have 20 seconds on the Demare group.
And in the front group, it's not Torres who is there for Movistar but Samitier and Pedrero. Fascinating finale here.
7km to go: Felline crashes!
Fabio Felline has hit the deck on the descent. We're not sure which group he was in but we've just seen him wincing on the side of the road in pain.
Looking at the replay, that crash occurred in the second Sagan group, towards the back. Felline lost his front wheel and skidded off the road.
9km to go: Quick-Step eyeing the win
Remember, Quick-Step's bread and butter in Grand Tours is usually stage wins - something they have yet to do in this Giro. They have had Almeida in pink for 10 days but today they have sniffed out a chance to see their young Portuguese rider take a victory.
The Sagan group is now 30 seconds down with the Demare group 52 seconds down. It's all in the balance. But the GC group here look to be pulling this one off. Almeida would face competition from Ulissi and Movistar's Torres, who is still here - they seem to be the fastest finishers...
12km to go: Sagan still in the mix
Peter Sagan is 15 seconds down on the front of the race, where James Knox is pushing on for Quick-Step. They clearly fancy their man Joao Almeida sprinting to the stage win - and bonus seconds - which is feasible, providing Sagan doesn't return to the fold. Further back, Demare is at 55 seconds.
16km to go: Geoghegan Hart attacks!
The British rider zips clear near the summit and he has the blue jersey of Ruben Guerreiro, his old teammate, chasing him down. Almeida is right there as it comes back together before the EF rider goes clear. The two escapees were reeled in, by the way.
Guerreiro takes the 3pts over the top and now we wait to see what the gaps are. Demare is over a minute back it seems, with Sagan somewhere in between.
17km to go: Splits as Ulissi attacks
Diego Ulissi has strung it all out. Quick-Step's Honore is there as is Geoghegan Hart of Ineos. In fact, it's turned into a GC battle as a group of around 20 riders go clear around the maglia rosa. The two escapees have almost been caught. Sagan is off the back, and Demare further in arrears. But the gaps are not huge...
18km to go: Cat.4 Calaone
Time to climb! It's the final climb, which is 2.1km at 9.8%. The two leaders have 30 seconds on the pack. That Groupama trio came right to the front after Demare made it back, tucking in alongside Deceuninck Quick-Step. But then Ineos took over the reinms ahead of the climb before UAE's Valerio Conti came to the front...
20km to go: Demare is back!
What a superb effort by Killian Frankiny and Ignatas Konovalovas who have managed to bring their sprinter back to the fold ahead of the final climb. Demare will need those two again if he's dropped on the ascent - for there's a 12km ride to the finish at the foot of the climb.
23km to go: Demare chasing back
The Frenchman has two teammates with him as they push to rejoin the main pack. But they're 20 seconds back on them, with the two leaders another 30 seconds clear. That Groupama trio were riding so hard they momentarily split clear of the chasing group. But it's closing down fast...
And Ravanelli is now caught. I thought he'd already been swallowed up, but no. So just the two of the original seven out ahead now.
29km to go: Bouchard takes KOM points
It's the Frenchman Geoffrey Bouchard who takes the 3pts over the top ahead of Alessandro Tonelli. They have about 30 seconds on the pack, who have caught all the other escapees. Sagan and Swift are still in this main pack - they are the big favourites for the stage now. But there's still that second climb, where it could all explode once again. It's shorter, but steeper...
30km to go: Ineos and Swift primed
Ben Swift is still present and correct for Ineos just behind Fabbro. The two leaders are actually Bouchard and Tonelli, who rode clear of Vanhoucke, Ravanelli and Rota. They're about 500m from the summit and have 30 seconds on the maglia rosa group, with the Demare-Viviani group now 1'10" back.
31km to go: Splits galore
Matteo Fabbro continues to drive the pace for Sagan. They have split the pack and dropped Demare and his Groupama teammates - but they're only 10 seconds back in a second pack. Joao Almeida is still there in his pink jersey, while on the front it's Vanhoucke who leads ahead of Ravanelli and Rota.
33km to go: Cat.4 Il Roccolo
Simone Ravanelli has ridden clear of the break on the small hill ahead of the first climb. The Italian has a small gap as he hits the Cat.4 Roccolo (4.1km at 8.3%).
Back with the pack, which has now caught Pellaid and Contreras, it's Bora-Hansgrohe who are driving the pace for their man Sagan.
35km to go: Break fragments
The dynamic changes as Pellaud and Contreras are dropped from the break on the rolling roads ahead of the first climb. Bahrain-McLaren have come to the front ahead of Deceuninck Quick-Step. They have Pello Bilbao in third place on GC and came close to the win yesterday with Mark Padun.
37km to go: Pellaud wins sprint
That man Pellaud, the one-man breakaway machine, darts clear of the break to win the intermediate sprint and give his Androni team a bit more prize money and TV kudos. Meanwhile, on the front of the pack, Filippo Ganna is driving the pace - warming up his legs ahead of tomorrow's time trial, for which he will be the favourite.
40km to go: Tempo high
After three hours of next to nothing, it really feels like we have a race on our hands now. Ineos have come to the front again and are really driving the pace in the peloton, with the likes of Astana, Sunweb, Bahrain-McLaren and Groupama all getting involved in the jostle for positions ahead of the sprint and then those hills. The gap has come down to 1'20" accordingly.
The pack rides during the 13th stage of the Giro d'Italia 2020 cycling race, a 192-kilometers route between Cervia and Monselice, on October 16, 2020
Image credit: Eurosport
45km to go: Second sprint
We're around 5km away from the second intermediate sprint at Galzignano Terme. After that the focus shifts to those two seriously steep hills, so it's about to get very exciting.
50km to go: Quiet before the storm
Ineos and Sunweb are on the front as the race approached Monselice before the finishing circuit up into the hills, keeping their men Swift and Kelderman out of trouble - the Brit for today's stage, the Dutchman for the maglia rosa battle. Still just over two minutes for the break.
71km to go: Ballerini bleeding
Davide Ballerini of Deceuninck Quick-Step is bleeding from a gash on his left cheek. It looks like he's cut himself somehow. He hasn't fallen so perhaps something came up from the road - or a sharp edge of an object, perhaps his sunglasses? He's receiving some attention from the race doctor at the moment - and that's a setback for the Italian because he's an outsider for today's stage.
72km to go: Another point for Demare
Frenchman Arnaud Demare is led out by his Groupama teammates for the final point available over the line. So the maglia ciclamino has extended his lead to 37 points over Sagan. But if Sagan wins today and his rival is nowhere to be seen, it will be the Slovakian with a 13-point lead in the standings... A fascinating duel this is proving to be between the pair.
75km to go: Rivigo here we go
The peloton is all strung out as it enters the town of Rivigo where we will have the intermediate sprint. On the front, there's an attack from Simon Pellaud who wants to win the sprint, milk the applause, pick up the prize money and, probably, get noticed by a WorldTour team.
There are two steep climbs on a closing circuit in the last 30km of today's stage as the riders enter the Euganean Hills rising from the Padovan-Venetian plain near the town of Monselice. The first climb, the Roccolo, comes in a series of steep steps; it's 4km long at an average of 8.3% but a maximum ramp of 20%. The second climb, the Calaone, is half the length but steeper - an average gradient of just under 10% and a max peak of 18%.
It's going to be tough even for an in-form Demare to stay in touch. Although there is a 12km flat run back to the finish in Monselice so an opportunity for the dropped riders to fight back. Peter Sagan tackled those kinds of gradients on his way to victory in Stage 12 but he did so from the breakaway and not on the front of a fast peloton. It will be a whole new kettle of fish. In fact, we could even see the maglia rosa battle kick off on these climbs...
90km to go: Lunch time
The peloton has passed over the River Po and picked up musettes through the feed zone. Cesare Benedetti is on the front for Bora-Hansgrohe with the gap just under two minutes. The Italian veteran was in the break yesterday in Stage 12 perhaps for reasons of sentimentality: his first - and last - pro win came in Stage 12 of last year's Giro.
Remember that? Here's Rob Hatch's commentating on the moment Benedetti broke his duck...
95km to go: No joy for the breakaway
The peloton is really giving nothing to this move, who once had three minutes to play with, but now have just 1'30". The intermediate sprint at Rovigo is coming up in 30 klicks. But with just the single point available for the riders in the pack behind the break, there may not be much activity from the maglia ciclamino Demare and his rival Sagan.
100km to go: How to beat a man like Demare?
It's a question Orla Chennaoui asked Cofidis manager Cedric Vasseur, whose sprinter Elia Viviani was not done any favours two days ago after being knocked off his bike by a race motorcycle.
‘It’s almost impossible to beat Demare, we need to find a Plan B’ – Cofidis manager Vasseur
105km to go: No change in status quo
Bora, Israel Start-Up Nation and Ineos Grenadiers are still in control of the chase with the seven-man break at 1'55". None of the escapees has ever won a stage on a Grand Tour before, and that probably won't change today.
Orla on conflicting Covid views after EF Pro Cycling letter
Matthews tests negative again
We're hearing that Team Sunweb's Michael Matthews, who left the race on Monday because of a positive Covid-19 test, has tested negative once again. The Australian had a second test two days ago and it came up negative, so that is two negatives in a row. Was his first test a false positive? Quite possibily...
As for the mid-week tests carried out by RCS - apparently they all came back negative.
120km to go: Gap grows
We have the rare sight of the veteran Spanish climber Dani Navarro leading the peloton on the flat for Israel Start-Up Nation. The gap is back up to 2'15" for the seven leaders. Still the rain has yet to come down - and although there are storm clouds overhead, there is also a bit of blue sky.
125km to go: Almeida - fifth youngest winner?
Should Joao Almeida go on to win this Giro he will, at 22 years and 79 days, be the fifth youngest winner in the race's history. Younger winners are Fausto Coppi in 1940 (20 years and 268 days), Luigi Marchisio in 1930 (21+43), Giuseppe Saronni in 1979 (21+257) and Gino Bartali in 1936 (21+325).
130km to go: Grey, stormy clouds
If it's not raining right now, it will be soon. Grey clouds have gathered overhead and they look very ominous. The race leaves Emilia-Romangna and enters the Veneto today with two climbs peaking out at 20% before the finish.
135km to go: Gap comes down
Just 1'50" now for our seven escapees, who are really on to a hiding to nothing in fairness. On the front of the peloton it's Bora-Hansgrohe and Israel Start-Up Nation doing the pulling. Ineos Grenadiers have men there, too, so perhaps they're thinking about a win for Ben Swift today. He's the kind of rider who should be able to get over those climbs in and keep in touch.
140km to go: More on Pellaud
Before yesterday's stage, Simon Pellaud hadn't finished higher than 94th. In fact, his remarkable consistency saw the Swiss always finishing within a 23-place sweep between 94th and 117th. Then he went and ruined that by coming fifth at Cesenatico after pocketing maximum KOM points over the first four climbs, putting him up to sixth in the maglia azzurra standings.
Ruben Guerreiro still leads that competition with a gap of 8pts over his nearest rival, Gio Visconti. With only 6pts up for grabs today, the Portuguese is guaranteed to be in blue until the end of Sunday's stage in the Dolomites at the very least.
150km to go: Pellaud... again
Simon Pellaud has been indefatigable in this year's Giro. He was involved in yesterday's break to move ahead of teammate Mattia Bais in the breakaway classification: the Swiss has now ridden 458km ahead of the peloton, with his Italian teammate on 450km. Marco Frapporti is third on 415km and Salvatore Puccio fourth on 319km.
After today's stage, Pellaud should be well over 550km in breaks. The gap, meanwhile, stays around the three-minute mark.
155km to go: Three minutes
The gap for the leaders quickly grows to three minutes as the Bora-Hansgrohe team of Peter Sagan come to the front of the peloton to keep a lid on things. A young move, this is, with all seven riders between the ages of 23 and 28. The best-placed on GC is than man Vanhoucke, who was wearing the white jersey for the opening week. He's 31'45" down on GC.
160km to go: Seven go clear
We have some movement off the front as seven riders finally managed to get a gap on the peloton. They are: Geoffrey Bouchard (Ag2R-La Mondiale), Simon Pellaud and Simone Ravanelli (both Androni Giocattoli), Rodrigo Contreras (Astana), Alessandro Tonelli (Bardiani-CSF), Harm Vanhoucke (Lotto Soudal) and Lorenzo Rota (Vini Zabu-KTM).
170km to go: Fifth flattest stage
It looks like a very long walk in the park but today's stage isn't the easiest for the riders. Those climbs means it has a total of 825 vertical metres. There are four stages with less climbing: the opening day time trial only had 74m, stage 7 with those crosswinds to Brindisi had 450m, tomorrow's time trial has 649m of ascent, while the final stage to Milan only has three metres of uphill.
In fact, we may be 13 days into the race, but the riders have so far only completed 50.4% of all the climbing on this year's Giro - which gives you an idea of the kind of terrain that's in store from Sunday onwards. Many thanks to the folk at ProCyclingStats for these invaluable nuggets.
180km to go: No break so far
A fast start but no move has yet stuck. It's worth mentioning that Ineos Grenadiers, with their third stage win yesterday, moved to the top of the prize money table. They now have amassed €69,612 with the Deceuninck Quick-Step team of pink jersey Joao Almeida second with €61,296 and Demare's Groupama team third on €55,870.
We're hearing that Fernando Gaviria has been trying to get into today's break - and why not? He won't survive those climbs at the end so his only chance of being involved in any kind of sprint finish is by having an advantage to play with before the two ascents.
Will the Giro end this Sunday?
Yesterday, Jonathan Vaughters' request on the behalf of his EF Education First team for the Giro to end ahead of the next rest day was dismissed by both RCS, the race organisers, and the UCI, the sport's governing body. With more Covid-19 positive tests possible for Monday, the race may yet end then even if the intention remains to go all the way to Milan.
I took at look at Stages 13, 14 and 15, and asked the question of who had the most to gain from the Giro ending on Sunday after the next summit finish in the Dolomites...
192km to go: They're off!
Today's stage is now under way and Thomas De Gendt is instantly on the front for Lotto Soudal, with Androni Giocattoli also looking keen to force a move.
Riders in the neutral zone
The remaining 143 riders are rolling through the neutral zone as the Giro survives to fight another day. The general consensus is that the sprinters will be distanced on the climbs today and the likes of Peter Sagan, Diego Ulissi and Andrea Vendrame will battle it out for the spoils. Let's see. I've learned never to discount Demare in this year's Giro.
Stage 13: Day for the sprinters? Not necessarily...
Judging by the first four-fifths of today's 192km stage from Cervia to Monselice, today is nailed on for a bunch sprint. But those two climbs near the finish could whittle things down and do for the chances of the fast men. Although the Cipressa and Poggio duo didn't do for Arnaud Demare's chances in Milan-San Remo in 2017 and the in-form Frenchman is on fire right now. Can he make it five wins?
Wiggins: Is it not Vaughters' duty to pull out team if he's so concerned?
Bradley Wiggins has questioned why Jonathan Vaughters is not pulling his team out of the Giro d'Italia on the latest episode of The Bradley Wiggins Show.
Eurosport exclusively revealed that EF Pro Cycling wrote a letter to the UCI and race organisers asking for the Giro d’Italia to be stopped after the second week of racing.
The proposal from the team to halt the race on the second rest day of the race, because of "a clearly compromised bubble", had been refused by the UCI, Eurosport reported.
But Wiggins suggested on his latest podcast that if EF Pro Cycling manager Vaughters was so concerned about the situation he should have pulled his team out of the race rather than make the stand.
- Exclusive: EF Pro Cycling call for Giro to be stopped early
- 'We’re not threatening to leave the race' - EF Pro Cycling boss
"It seems a strange one, given the stances of Jumbo-Visma and Mitchelton–Scott," Wiggins said on the podcast, in reference to the two major teams who have already pulled out of the race.
For someone who is so concerned about this bubble that has been burst and the health of the race and everything, is it not his duty to pull his own team out if he is that concerned?
Stage 12 recap
Fresh in the tyre tracks of teammate Richard Carapaz, the winner of last year's Giro, and compatriot Jonathan Caicedo, winner of Stage 3 to Mount Etna earlier this month, 23-year-old Jhonatan Narvaez became the third Ecuadorian to win a stage of La Corsa Rosa after an epic ride over the undulating training roads of the late Marco Pantani around Cesenatico.
Narvaez's win was helped by an untimely mechanical sustained by his fellow escapee Mark Padun of Bahrain-McLaran, the Ukrainian requiring a bike change with 25km remaining of the 204km stage following a broken front wheel on the descent of the fifth and final categorised climb.
The determined Padun time-trialled himself to within nine seconds of the lone leader on the flat run back towards the Adriatic coast – but once the elastic snapped, Narvaez was able to ride clear to win by a yawning gap of just over a minute.
Relive Jhonatan Narvaez making it a terrific three for Ecuador at the Giro.
Highlights: Narvaez solos to rain-soaked Stage 12 triumph
How to watch the Giro d'Italia live – TV & live streaming
The 103rd edition of the Giro d'Italia is live on eurosport.co.uk and the Eurosport app.
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