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Savona - Cervere
Giro d'Italia - 18 May 2012
Giro d'Italia – Follow this cycling race live with Eurosport. The action starts at 20:25 on 18 May 2012. Our live coverage lets you follow all the key moments as they happen.
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No changes in the overall standings, with Joaquim Rodriguez entering the Alps tomorrow in pink.
1. Cavendish, 2. Kristoff, 3. Renshaw, 4. Modolo, 5. Favilli, 6. Goss, 7. Demare, 8. Haedo.
Easy win from Cavendish! For a minute he looked boxed in on the left, but he pulled it out of the bag.
Roberto Ferrari has crept up into the mix as GreenEdge move forward too - and take the reins.
Sky now lay down the hammer and blow Saxo Bank apart. Four Sky riders on the front, with Cav in fifth just behind Thomas.
A very tight bend almost catches out Orica GreenEdge. Rabobank have disappeared, with the exception of Renshaw, who holds Cavendish's wheel. Sky now edge up alongside Saxo.
All the teams forming now, with Saxo Bank working on the front for their man Haedo. Sky chosing to take a more reserved role today, perhaps because of the crashes on previous finales.
The three leaders are swept up. That was going nowhere. Farnese Vini are coming forward now. Easy to spot, those guys.
ATTACK: Ag2R breaks clear, with riders from Androni and Quick Step following. Julian Berard is the AG2R rider. Followed my Vermote of QuickStep and Felline of Androni.
Sky are now beginning to get organised. There's a chap from Movistar on the front as well. It's quite an undulating approach to the finish today.
CRASH: On the descent, Cesare Benedetti (Androni) and Dominique Rollin (FDJ) touch wheels and hit the deck. They echange a few angry words before getting back on their way. That's just why everyone wants to be on the front of the bunch.
They're onto a little climb ahead of today's finish. GreenEdge are setting the place for their man Goss. If there are no crashes today, it will be the perfect opportunity for the Tasmanian to renew his rivalry with Cavendish. For once there are no tight bends towards the finish, so hopefully we'll get a clean sprint.
Lampre, Liquigas, Astana and Katusha are all close to the front now, protecting the interests of their GC men.
Rabobank and GreenEdge are on the front of the pack now, working for their men Renshaw, Bos and Goss. FDJ are there too. They have Demare and Soupe.
That's it for the two leaders: Keizer and Failli sit up as the peloton approaches alongside the Tanaro River. It will be interesting to see if anyone tries to counter attack, or whether or not the whole bunch is resigned to a bunch sprint.
Eurosport spoke to Orica GreenEdge's Matt Goss this morning: "Hopefully it will be a bunch sprint at the finish. A group will go away but we'll do out best to pull it back. It would be nice to have another chance at taking a stage. I was set up for a good result the other day and I crashed, and then I crashed again yesterday. So I'm hoping for an easier day."
Confirmation of the intermediate sprint at Carru a few kilometres back: 1. Keizer (8pts), 2. Failli (6pts), 3. Cavendish (4pts), 4. Eisel (3pts), 5. Hunt (2pts), 6. Veikkanen (1pt). So, Cav increases his lead in the red jersey standings to 16 points over Matt Goss.
The finale of today's stage in Cervere includes a short climb and descent as the route passes through Cherasco and another rise climb at Roreto. The last five kilometres are on almost straight roads, with the occasional roundabout. The finishing straight is 2,600m long and seven metres wide. // The gap is still 1:10 for the leaders.
Sean Kelly and Dave Harmon are trying to predict the result today. Some of the names they have thrown into the ring are: JJ Haedo, Matt Goss, Mark Cavendish and Francesco Chicchi.
The two leaders pass the 40km-to-go banner with 1:07 over the peloton, which will cruelly let them dangle out ahead in all likelihood for at least another 10 clicks.
Keizer must be suffering: this is the fifth break he's been involved in over the past two weeks. The lead is down to two minutes. The peloton is back together as a large pack after that very fast, strung-out period.
Keizer and Failli, who broke away after just 1.5km of today's short stage, have seen their lead slashed to 2:50.
The peloton passes by the astonishing Santuario di Vicoforte. The speed is very high now and the whole bunch has become one long line. In fact, there are numerous splits forming on these long, straight roads. Everyone is riding in teams now, with Garmin tucked in behind Sky and FDJ. Movistar and Euskaltel take it easy on the back. The lead is still around 3:22.
Who do you think will win today's stage? Will the two escapees stay out or is this one destined for a bunch sprint bonanza - and if so, who will take the spoils? Have your say below...
The lead is dropping now: 3:30 at the latest check. There's no feeding zone today because of the short nature of the stage. The sun is out now, after a cloudy start on the coast.
France's Mickael Delage picks up some water bottles for his FDJ team mates. Also on the front of the peloton is Sky's Cavendish, who is in red today - but has the rainbow stripes of world champion on his bike frame. The gap's 4:22.
Keizer has a problem with his chain on a fast downhill, but the Dutchman manages to sort it out. Back in the bunch, Garmin's Ramunas Navardauskas has a joke with a FDJ rider, perhaps Sandy Casar.
The peloton power through the cobbled streets of a small hamlet with Jeremy Hunt of Sky on the front, followed by the FDJ train.
Michal Golas (QuickStep) jumps clear of the peloton to take the final point atop the climb to consolidate his lead in the king of the mountains standings. The Pole took the blue jersey yesterday after picking up maximum points over three of four classified climbs. The gap back to the peloton is 5:24.
Failli and Keizer combine well to stretch out their lead to over five minutes. They're approaching the summit now: Failli jumps out of his saddle to ensure he crosses first.
Hollenstein has been lifted onto a stretcher and into an ambulance after that fall. He's cradling his arm so it looks like a broken collarbone. The Swiss rider will have to withdraw from the race. A nasty way for the 26-year-old to leave his debut Giro.
The two escapees are onto the only classified climb of the day, the Cat.4 Montezemolo.
CRASH: Reto Hollenstein of NetApp goes down hard on a slight downhill, forcing riders to veer into a gutter to avoid his sprawling body.
Today could see a bunch sprint between old team-mates Mark Cavendish (Sky) and Matt Goss (GreenEdge). The Brit leads the Aussie by 12 points in the red jersey competition. This will be their last chance to amass points before the mountains kick in.
Keizer is 24 years old and joined Vacansoleil last year after three years in Rabobank's youth squad. He has a couple of minor wins to his name. Failli joined Farnese Vini in 2011 after previous seasons at Domina Vacanze, Liquigas and Acqua & Sapone. The 28 year old has won a minor TTT with Liquigas back in 2007 but otherwise has no major career wins to his name. This is his fourth Giro and he abandoned last year's race after a crash in the fifth stage.
Keizer and Failli pass the 100km-to-go banner with a lead of 3:25 over the bunch. Off the back of the peloton, Paolo Tiralongo (Astana) seems to be having some problems.
Off the back of the peloton, Bernard Eisel decides he's too hot and performs an elaborate striptease. Cav's lead-out man needs to take his Sky jersey off so that he can remove his vest. That involves pulling down the extended straps of his shorts. Either way, he reveals a six-pack to die for, and then winks at the camera. The gap is 4:05 now for the break.
The riders are over the first rise of the day after the first 11km uphill segment. Sky and FDJ are on the front of the pack controlling things, clearly thinking of their sprinters Cavendish and Demare and/or Soupe for the finish. Keizer and Failli continue further up the road. They cross a couple of speed bumps in a town centre and take it in turns pulling on the front.
Where Keizer finds the energy, I don't know. He was a spent force by the end of yesterday's stage, and was dropped by the break on the final climb before finishing 43 seconds back. He's now on the offensive again - and doing so in full knowledge that tomorrow he will suffer big time in the Alps. Chapeau. The gap is 3:15 for the two leaders.
ATTACK: It's that man Martijn Keizer of Vacansoleil-DCM. By my reckoning, this is his fifth break of the race. The Dutchman is joined by Italy's Francesco Failli (Farnese Vini). He's also been pretty active. In fact, both these riders were in the break in stage 10 a few days ago.
Spain's Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) still leads the overall standings by 17 seconds over Canada's Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin). But Sandy Casar's second place from the break yesterday lifts the FDJ rider into third place, 26 seconds down. The Frenchman's fellow escapee from yesterday, Ivan Santaromita (BMC) rises to fifth, 49 seconds down. Fellow Italian Paolo Tiralongo (Astana) splits the two newcomers, 32 seconds down in fourth.
They're off! Today's stage is underway. It's the shortest road stage of this year's Giro and comes just before the first Alpine showdown. As such, it has been pigeon-holed as a transitional calm-before-the-storm type affair. A bunch sprint is likely, although the first 12km are all uphill, so a break should go out and stay out over the next peak, the Cat.4 Montezemolo climb
It's a slightly overcast day today in Savona, with temperatures in the high teens. Savona may ring a bell to many cycling fans: it was here that the great Eddy Merckx was kicked off the 1969 Giro for a failed drugs test. It created a huge furore, with the Belgian claiming he had been set up. What's more, top Italian riders who failed similar tests a year earlier had been left off the hook.
Yesterday, Denmark's Lars Bak of Lotto Belisol won stage 12 of the Giro d'Italia on the Italian Riviera after outfoxing his fellow escapees inside the final two kilometres. Bak caught his rivals napping as he launched his decisive move in the pretty Mediterranean costal town of Sestri Levante at the conclusion of the undulating 155km stage through the Ligurian hills.
Welcome to live coverage of stage 13 of the Giro d'Italia, a short 121km ride from Savona to Cervere which should finish in a bunch sprint on the eve of the first big mountain stage.