Giro d'Italia stage 14 - 168km to Bardonecchia

Vincenzo Nibali extends his overall Giro d'Italia lead after finishing a gruelling mountain stage in second place.

18 May 2013 Last updated at 17:04

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As it happened

  1. 1703: 

    Right, time for me to call it a day. You can read the report about what happened (in the last five minutes) in today's stage here, and more reaction and analysis will be added there later... plus news of Sunday's stage too.

    If there is any racing in the high mountains - and I hope there is - then I will be back to talk you through it. I just hope I can see some of it while I do...

    Thanks for keeping me company today, in the circumstances I really appreciated it. Cheerio for now.

  2. 1657: 

    A reminder that we are waiting for official confirmation that Sunday's stage 15 will A) take place and, if so, B) which route it will take. An announcement is due at 1800 BST, apparently.

    Because of the horrendous Italian weather and the snow in the Alps, Sunday's climbs up Col du Mont Cenis and the legendary Col du Galibier were in doubt. The problem with Galibier was not the actualy snow on the roads - they have been clearing them using dynamite - but that the snow on the slopes is melting and there is a risk of avalanches.

    Sort of puts things into perspective about them having to ride in the rain, doesn't it?

  3. 1653: 
    Results of stage 14

    1. Mauro Santambrogio - Vini Fantini 4:42'55"

    2. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita/Astana) +0sec

    3. Carlos Betancur (Col/AG2R) +8sec

    4. Samuel Sanchez (Spa/Euskaltel) +26sec

    5. Rigoberto Uran (Col/Team Sky) +30sec

  4. 1649: 

    They didn't have text commentaries in 1913, though. It would probably have been more fun had I had only been doing one for the last three minutes of the stage, rather than the previous three hours too...

  5. 1647: 

    So, did you enjoy that folks? The lack of TV pictures apart from at the finish gave me the experience of being a cycling spectator in 1913, standing on the side of a mountain with no way of finding out who was going to win the race until they rode past me.

  6. 1642:  
    Pink Jersey, Giro d'Italia leader

    So, after a thrilling finish to stage 14, this is how things are looking at the top of the general classification.

    1. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita/Astana) 57:20'52"

    2. Cadel Evans (Aus/BMC Racing) +1'26"

    3. Rigoberto Uran (Col/Team Sky) +2'46"

    4. Mauro Santambrogio (Ita/Vini Fantini) +2'47

    5. Michele Scarponi (Ita/Lampre) +3'53"

  7. 1636: 

    Robert Gesink, who was fourth at the start of the day, has just finished. Four minutes down. His slim hopes are now over.

  8. 1636: 

    Vincenzo Nibali finished 30 seconds ahead of Rigoberto Uran and 33 seconds ahead of Cadel Evans

  9.   
    Rob Hayles, Former GB cyclist and 5 live sports extra commentator

    "Vincenzo Nibali has put the nail in the coffin for all his rivals with that finish. He has taken bits of time from them before now but today really was his day."

  10. 1632: 

    Michele Scarponi, who was fifth at the start of the day, has just crossed the line looking bedraggled and exhausted.

  11. 1631: 

    Cadel Evans is home. So is Team Sky's Rigoberto Uran. But Nibali has stolen a few seconds from both of them.

  12. 1631: 
    Mauro Santambrogio wins stage

    Mauro Santambrogio takes the stage win. Vincenzo Nibali is right behind him. He is going to gain time on his rivals, but how much... ?

  13. 1630: 

    Mauro Santambrogio is there with Nibali. About 150m to go. This finish is steep. Very steep.

  14. 1629: 

    The Giro's 'Maglia Rosa' Vincenzo Nibali is at the front of today's race. Unbelievable.

  15. 1629: 

    It's Nibali!

  16. 1629: 

    I can see a cyclist...

  17. 1629: 

    I can see motorbikes...

  18. 1628: 

    This could go down as the most exciting Giro stage that nobody saw.

  19. 1627: 

    Wow. Apparently Vincenzo Nibali has attacked. Will he be first to appear?

  20. 1626: 

    Just to update. I don't know what is happening today. And I don't know what will be happening tomorrow either. Stay with me for further updates.

  21. 1625: 

    The crowd on the slopes of Jafferau have been waiting in the freezing cold for hours now, without a Scooby Doo about what is happening in this stage. They are not alone, nobody has any official confirmation, and the race computer is saying different things to Italian TV.

  22. 1623: 

    Who will appear out of the mist to win this stage? We have so little information that it feels more like the 1913 Giro than the 2013 version.

  23. 1623: 

    Ah. Things change quickly when you cannot see what is happening. Sonny Colbrelli and Luca Paolini are now only one minute and 23 seconds clear of the peloton. Henao, Rosa and Pellizotti have been caught.

  24. 1622: 

    Another Italian rider Franco Pellizotti is up with Henao and Rosa, who are a minute clear of the peloton and about two minutes behind the front three: Luca Paolini (Katusha), Sonny Colbrelli (Bardiani) and Daniele Pietropolli (Lampre).

    Matteo Trentin, who was part of the initial breakaway, has been caught by the peloton after suffering a puncture.

  25. 1619: 

    Oh. That should read 'we HAD pictures'. Now we are back to waiting who will be the first to emerge from the mountain gloom at the finish line. Won't be long now...

  26. 1616: 

    We have pictures. I repeat: We have pictures. Team Sky's Sergio Henao, who was 11th at the start of the day, has broken away from the group containing race leader Vincenzo Nibali. Henao is with Italian rider Diego Rosa so he is not on his own.

  27. 1615: 

    Back at the front of the peloton, Team Sky are leading the chase to the front three, who have a lead of less than four minutes now. This would be exciting, if I could see any of it to tell you what is happening...

  28. 1614: 

    Oh dear. Think I spoke too soon. We've got pictures from the race motorbikes, but only at the finish line. The actual riders are not here yet.

  29. 1613: 
    CHAMPAGNE MOMENT

    I have pictures! The leaders have 4.4km of the 180km to go. Still, better late than never...

  30. 1610: 

    Interesting. Very interesting. A few more rumours are flying around the Giro pressroom about what is going to happen to Sunday's stage, according to 5 live sports extra's Simon Brotherton.

    Apparently the organisers have not officially confirmed the new route (see 1546 or so), and there is the possibility that Sunday will become a rest day and they will try to get the riders up to the top of Col du Galibier on Monday (which was meant to be the rest day) instead.

    An appointment is due at 1800 BST, apparently. The plot thickens...

  31. 1608: 
    GET INVOLVED

    Andy Schleck and Alberto Contador are still getting plenty of shouts on Twitter in answer to my earlier question of 'Who will win the Tour?' Richie Porte, Nairo Quintana and Joacquim Rodriguez have been mentioned too. And Good old Tommy Voeckler too! Sir Brad has picked up a few votes but Chris Froome is the overwhelming favourite for you lot, though.

  32. 1605:  
    BBC Radio 5 live sports extra

    The good news is that you are not just stuck with me anymore. BBC Radio 5 live sports extra commentary is now under way with Simon Brotherton and Rob Hayles. If you haven't already seen it, the link is on the right-hand side of this page or on the cycling index.

  33.  
    GET INVOLVED

    Britt Anderson: From USA. Tx for your wonderful coverage, Esp in these horrid conditions. Your live commentary my only link to Giro. Grateful

    Britt also wanted to hear more about Hamburg. I might save that for Sunday though...

  34. 1600: 

    Those three escapees have got less than 10km to go now. Their lead has dipped a fraction under five minutes but we probably won't see what state they are in until they emerge from the mountain mist at Jafferau.

  35. 1557: 

    News too, of Mark Cavendish. Even without having to face the slog up Sestriere, he was never going to enjoy today and has fallen off the back of the peloton. Not sure if he is on his own or in a grupetto (a group of riders who are struggling badly and just looking to survive the day) but the steep finish means things are not going to get any easier for him.

  36. 1555: 

    I think Colin has already switched off. Shame, he is going to miss the end of this stage. The breakaway bunch is down to three men because Matteo Trentin has had a puncture.

  37. 1550: 

    I see that Sunday's stage still includes the 1,566m Col Du Telegraphe. Does that help, Colin?

  38.  
    GET INVOLVED

    Colin in Ormskirk: "Stupid Italian weather has ruined this Giro, no Wiggo, no Hesjedal and now none of the best climbs, time to switch off.

    Don't switch off Colin. Please. I can tell you more about my cycling trip to Hamburg if you want?

  39. 1546: 

    That last tweet from Simon was the news that we have been expecting to be confirmed but were hoping wasn't true. In a word: booooooooooooooo.

  40.   
    Simon Brotherton, BBC Radio 5 live sports extra commentator

    "As expected, no Mt Cenis and no finish at snowbound Col Du Galibier tomorrow in @giroditalia. Shorter stage finishing at Valloire."

  41. 1543: 

    Back to the Giro, briefly. Still no TV pictures but with under 30 km to go, the four escapees still have a lead of 6'50'. The final 20km or so is mostly uphill, and steep too, so expect that lead to come down.

    In case you have forgotten in all this 'excitement', those front four are: Luca Paolini (Katusha), Sonny Colbrelli (Bardiani), Daniele Pietropolli (Lampre) and Matteo Trentin (OPQS)

  42.  
    GET INVOLVED

    WHO WILL WIN THE TOUR DE FRANCE?

    Steve at work in Durham: I would be happy with Froome or Wiggo to be honest. Keep the British banner flying high!

    Dave in London: FROOME, similarly skilled to contador but has a better team. Dave in London

    Tony Shaw: FROOME.....the course has his name all over it, at least it will following my trip up Ventoux a week before the tour hits it. Tony Shaw.

    Connor H: FROOME - Best GC ITT after Wiggo, will smash the big mountain stages and form is replicating last year's success at sky

    Pete, Hook: SCHLECK. Because his brother isn't there. Pete, Hook

  43.  
    GET INVOLVED

    It's appropriate, given the current wet weather in Italy that the Tweets for the big 'Who will win the Tour?' survey are, er, pouring in.

    Mathew Howells: Froome to win the tour as it's what he has trained for. Wiggo for Vuelta.

    George Thain: It's hard to look far beyond Contador I think. Certainly won't be Wiggins. Froome will be on the podium.

    Small Man Peaky: FROOME. Looking imperious, has beaten most of his main rivals on stages this season, and is the 2nd best TT rider behind Wiggo.

    Seb King: Contador - Sky will not have come up against anything like a fully fit Contador with a chip on his shoulder before.

  44. 1534: 

    By the way, this is officially the worst week of cycling weather since 2008 when a mate and I jumped on a ferry to Denmark and then rode from Esbjerg to Hamburg. We went along part of the North Sea Cycle Route but we may as well have just pedalled through the North Sea. It rained from the moment we got off the boat to our arrival in Hamburg. My time off the bike was largely spent trying (unsuccessfully) to dry out. I think I still enjoyed myself, though.

  45. 1531: 

    Right then. In the absence of anything else going on (that I can see), let's have a quick survey to see who you think will win the 2013 Tour de France...

    Tweet me using the hashtag #bbccycling or text me on 81111.

    Start it by saying: FROOME, WIGGO, CONTADOR, EVANS ... or whoever you fancy, really. Then briefly tell me why. Very briefly, actually! Make sure you put your names on those texts too.

  46. 1528: 

    This Italian weather is rubbish, isn't it?

  47. 1527:  
    BBC Radio 5 live sports extra

    We are going to have a delay to our 5 live commentary as well. Simon Brotherton and Rob Hayles are on top of that mountain at Jafferau, but they can't see anything. We won't be joining them until 1600 BST at the earliest. Sorry.

  48. 1522: 

    In case you were wondering, it has been snowing again at the finish line at Jafferau, where the mountain mist is closing in.

    I'm feeding on scraps of information at the moment, though. It is an absolutely horrific day in the Alps, and that's the main reason nobody has any TV pictures, because the race helicopters cannot get off the ground.

  49. 1520: 

    News that the gap to the front four riders is finally coming down. Luca Paolini (Katusha), Sonny Colbrelli (Bardiani), Daniele Pietropolli (Lampre) and Matteo Trentin (OPQS) are now about seven-and-a-half minutes clear, with about 40km left and that steep climb to the finish.

  50. 1514: 
    OUCH!

    I'm hearing that Alessandro Vanotti has also broken his collarbone in that crash earlier. That is bad news for race leader Vincenzo Nibali, because Vanotti is his right-hand man.

  51. 1511: 

    I mentioned they were in doubt earlier and there is now lot of speculation that the Giro organisers have officially dropped those two monster mountains - Col du Mont Cenis (2,094m) and the legendary Col du Galibier (2,642m) - from Sunday's stage. I'll confirm that as soon as I can.

    The Galibier was seen as unsafe, not because of the amount of snow up there, but because the snow is melting. As I said before, that increases the risk of AVALANCHES.

  52. 1502:  
    BBC Radio 5 live sports extra

    Er, there are still no live pictures coming through of today's racing. You are going to have to wait a little bit longer to hear from Simon Brotherton and Rob Hayles too. Sorry. They should be with us on 5 live sports extra from 1530 BST.

  53. 1453:  
    Simon Brotherton, BBC Radio 5 live sports extra commentator
    5 Live Sports Extra Giro commentary position

    "Our house on the hill. Comm box in the mist at the finish line in Bardonecchia atop cold, steep, nasty climb."

  54. 1447: 

    The gap to those front four riders continues to rise. Luca Paolini (Katusha), Sonny Colbrelli (Bardiani), Daniele Pietropolli (Lampre) and Matteo Trentin (OPQS) are now almost 10 minutes clear of the peloton, with 55km to go. I guess they didn't stop for that shandy then?

  55. 1445: 
    OUCH!

    Italian riders Alessandro Vanotti and Enrico Battaglin have also pulled out. You might remember that Battaglin nicked victory at the very end of stage four but he has been one of several riders to suffer crashes in the wet, cold and icy conditions today. A broken collarbone has finished his Giro.

  56.  
    GET INVOLVED

    From Phil Waud: So glad Wiggo pulled out, hope he recovers to SMASH the Tour!

  57. 1435: 

    Some news coming in and no, it doesn't involve crisps. British rider David Millar has pulled out of the Giro because of health issues. Like Sir Bradley Wiggins, he has been battling a chest infection. Like Sir Bradley Wiggins, he has decided not to continue. A wise decision.

  58. 1430: 

    Er, still not much info coming through about what is happening out on the road.

    The last anyone heard, the breakaway quartet of Luca Paolini (Katusha), Sonny Colbrelli (Bardiani), Daniele Pietropolli (Lampre) and Matteo Trentin (OPQS) had opened up a lead of more than nine minutes but, for all I know, they have decided to stop for a pint of shandy and a bag of cheese and onion crisps instead of carrying on in the pouring rain. I know I would have done by now.

  59.  
    GET INVOLVED

    Dave in Sheffield: Excellent win for Cav yesterday. Proves what a classy rider he has become. Can win with a lead out, or duck and weave on his own, or from a long way out, or when its technical, and many times when its wet and others don't fancy it. Brilliant.

  60. 1416: 

    If you are wondering why I am not telling you much about what is happening on the road, the horrendous weather has affected the TV coverage of today's stage and there is not much information coming through.

    So we'll have to imagine what is going on - I'm picturing the peloton, soaked to the bone as the rain keeps on falling.

  61. 1411: 

    James is being a bit sarcastic there folks, because our Cav will be absolutely cream-crackered after his efforts to win on Friday and is not exactly known for his love of going uphill anyway, let alone for 50km in the snow.

    With today's mountain-top finish still happening, we can safely rule the Manxman out of the running for a fifth stage win of this year's Giro this afternoon. He will just be looking to survive the mountains.

  62.  
    GET INVOLVED

    James Benson: Bet @MarkCavendish is gutted that climb up Sestriere has been cancelled after yesterday's exploits & Roche-esque collapse at finish.

  63. 1407: 

    Yep, Sir Brad does not have to worry about the Italian weather any more. He is back in the UK now... wherever he is, I hope he is wrapped up warm.

  64.  
    GET INVOLVED

    Guy in Copford: Awful conditions eh, Chris? Divine providence 4 Wiggo methinks :-)

  65. 1404: 

    A quick update on the weather at the finish line of today's stage. The good news for the riders is that it has stopped snowing. The bad news is that it is pouring with rain instead. And still freezing cold.

  66. 1400: 
    "Your bike can be a lonely place"

    If you want a snapshot on how some of the riders in this year's Giro have been suffering, then take a look at Team Sky rider Geraint Thomas's latest blog for the BBC website.

    Thomas is currently training in warmer climes in Tenerife but he describes what it is like to be taking part in a Grand Tour when you are battling illness, and explains why things were even harder for Sir Bradley Wiggins, who pulled out of the race on Friday.

    Thomas says: "I don't mind racing in wet weather most of the time - I grew up in Wales so it is nothing new to me! - but it is a different story when you are feeling absolutely rotten and you know you are not going to get any better. Everything adds up and your bike can be a lonely place."

  67. 1356: 
    OUCH!

    By the way, no decision has been taken yet on whether the race will stick to it's original route in Sunday's stage either. It is due to take in a couple more monster mountains, Col du Mont Cenis (2,094m) and the legendary Col du Galibier (2,642m), but is already in doubt because of AVALANCHE warnings on Galibier. I don't think any of the riders will want to go downhill quite that fast...

  68. 1350:  
    BBC Radio 5 live sports extra

    BBC Radio 5 live sports extra will have live commentary with Simon Brotherton and Rob Hayles from 15:00 BST to the end of the day's racing, which will also be available on this very page and on the cycling index. I've just seen a shot of Hayles at the finish line, and it is safe to say he looked cold, but happyu.

    Right now, though, the stage is yours. Tweet me your thoughts on the weather, Wiggo, Cav or the general classification - or anything you like - using the hashtag #bbccycling and text me on 81111. Remember to put your names on those texts, though.

  69. 1346: 

    No snow at the moment, by the way. Just rain. Relentless freezing cold rain. The riders have had six days of it in Italy this past week. I bet they would actually love a bit of snow, just for a change.

    Four riders have escaped in a break today: Luca Paolini (Katusha), Sonny Colbrelli (Bardiani), Daniele Pietropolli (Lampre) and Matteo Trentin (OPQS). They have about 95km to go, and have a lead of around eight minutes on the peloton.

  70. 1341:  
    Pink Jersey, Giro d'Italia leader

    This is how things are looking at the top of the general classification. Nibali is still sitting pretty, in pink.

    1. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita/Astana) 52:38'09"

    2. Cadel Evans (Aus/BMC Racing) +41"

    3. Rigoberto Uran (Col/Team Sky) +2'04"

    4. Robert Gesink (Ned/Blanco) +2'12"

    5. Michele Scarponi (Ita/Lampre) +2'13"

  71. 1338: 

    Don't go thinking that race leader Vincenzo Nibali & co are in for an easy ride, though. There is still a sting in the tail of today's stage, with a final 7.3km climb up a 10% gradient to Jafferau, where it is also snowing, just not as heavily.

    It should be fun, especially if Nibali's rivals at the top of the general classification try to, er, take a nibble out of his lead.

  72. 1334: 
    Cable cars at Sestriere

    Yep, today's route does not take in the 50km slog to the summit of Sestriere - which appropriately enough was a venue for the 2006 Winter Olympics - because the Giro organisers were concerned about the riders' safety on the way down. And no, they wouldn't have been allowed to use the ski lift to get up to the top either.

    Instead, the race will wind through the Susa Valley and the total stage distance has been increased by 12km.

  73. 1330: 

    Hello. I start with some bad news for us - but good news for the survivors in the peloton. Today's stage will miss the L-O-N-G climb up to Sestriere because of the amount of snow at the summit. A shame, because I was looking forward to seeing how Team Ski would get on.

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