CUNEO: Frenchman Arnaud Demare won a mass sprint for the line on the Giro d’Italia on Friday after the peloton caught an escape group just ahead of the home straight on stage 13.
Demare narrowly edged Phil Bauhaus and Mark Cavendish to the line while Spaniard Juan Pedro Lopez held on to the leader’s pink jersey.
On a short 150km run, only half the distance of the Milan-San Remo one-day classic, four riders opened a six-minute gap they only let slip in the final kilometer, setting up the sprint.
This was Demare’s third stage win on this year’s Giro and it extends his lead in the sprint points race.
“It was a monstrous lead-out,” said the winner. “They really resisted at the front,” he said.
The 30-year-old also won consecutive sprint finishes in the first week, leaving him on 238pts, while Cavendish is second on 121.
After showing strong form at the Giro, French climber Romain Bardet pulled out on Friday complaining of feeling sick.
The 31-year-old DSM man was fourth place in the standings heading into the mountainous final week of the 21-day race where he would likely have thrived.
Along with Ineos leader Richard Carapaz and Bahrain Victorious’ Mikel Landa, Bardet was a credible pretender to win this Giro.
Lopez will do well to survive in pink any further with Joao Almeida and Carapaz at 12sec in the overall, and a clutch of others lurking within a minute of the lead.
“Some guys will try to make a difference but I will do 100 percent and we’ll see what happens,” Lopez said after the race.
Published in Dawn,May 21st, 2022