This article originally appeared on VeloNews.com
Under mostly sunny skies and in cool conditions, Diego Ulissi (UAE Team Emirates) won stage 13 of the 2020 Giro d’Italia from a reduced bunch sprint, after his group distanced sprinters Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) and Arnaud Démare (Groupama-FDJ) with 20 kilometers to go.
Ulissi previously won stage two of this year’s giro, besting Sagan.
“I was confident, I knew I was in good shape,” said Ulissi after his eighth career Giro stage win.
Riding in the Deceuninck-Quick-Step sprint train to set up overall leader João Almeida, Ulissi jumped from teammate Brandon McNulty‘s wheel, and came around the pink jersey with little room to spare, and took the win by half a bike length.
The 192-kilometer stage was a mostly-flat affair but featured two, punchy climbs in the final 40 km.
A seven-man break of Simon Pellaud and Simone Ravanelli (Androni Giocattoli–Sidermec), Geoffrey Bouchard (AG2R-LaMondiale), Rodrigo Contreras (Astana), Rodrigo Contreras (Bardani CSF), Harm Vanhoucke (Lotto-Soudal), Lorenzo Rota (Vini Zabù–KTM) managed to apply pressure to the main group through the first climb, where the maximum advantage of 2:30 was all but erased.
Over the first of the day’s two climbs, Bora-Hansgrohe did the lion’s share of work, with Deceuninck-Quick-Step in their shadows. This bunch was towing Sagan, while forcing Démare to work really hard to keep pace.
Ravanelli attacked the break and managed to get some daylight between himself and chasers Bouchard and Tonelli, while Ben Swift (Ineos Grenadiers) and Davide Ballerini (Deceuninck-Quick-Step) made contact with the tail end of the frontmost group.
A quick descent and then onto the final climb put Sagan into trouble — his group was 20 seconds back, but also 20 seconds up on Démare — at the crest of the climb.
At 1.1km from the top, Tonelli — the lone survivor from the break — was caught by Tao Geoghegan Hart (Ineos Grenadiers) and Almeida’s group.
With just 15km remaining the GC favorites, including the pink jersey, were in a small bunch, and saw an opportunity to take a flat stage from the sprint specialists.
Deceuninck-Quick-Step had the superior numbers, offering Almeida protection behind three wheels, while UAE Team Emirates and Ineos Grenadiers each had several men in the group.
Swift and Geoghegan Hart rotated on the front, exchanging leadership with James Knox and Fausto Masnada (Deceuninck-Quick-Step).
Behind this bunch, Démare’s group made up the 20-second gap to Sagan’s group, who gave up chasing back onto the front with 6km to go.
Deceuninck-Quick-Step set a perfect lead-out for Almeida in the final technical 4km which included several 90-degree and greater turns.
With American Brandon McNulty offering shelter through 1km, Ulissi snuck into the Deceuninck-Quick-Step train.
In the final 100m, Almeida made a move to secure the stage win, but it was Ulissi who got to the line first.
With a second-place finish and time bonus, Almeida adds six more seconds to his overall lead.
“I’m a little disappointed, I wanted to win the stage,” said the wearer of the pink jersey.