Vincenzo Nibali took more time out of all his main GC rivals Friday, winning stage 13 of the Tour de France. The Italian yellow jersey holder blasted away from main group near the end of the 18.2 hors categorie Chamrousse climb that concluded the 197.5km stage that started in Saint-Etienne.
After dashing away from the leading bunch, Nibali quickly reeled in the lone remnants of the day’s early break, Rafal Majka (Tinkoff-Saxo) and Leopold König (NetApp-Endura). Nibali then dropped the pair to take his third stage win of this year’s Tour. Majka and König were second and third on the day, 10 and 11 seconds back.
More importantly, the Astana captain took another 50 seconds out of Alejandro Valverde (Movistar), who moved up to second place overall after former second place rider Richie Porte (Team) came unglued on the final climb, losing nearly nine minutes and plummeting to 16th in the overall standings. Valverde is now 3:37 behind Nibali, with France Romain Bardet (Ag2R La Mondiale) third overall at 4:24.
American Tejay van Garderen had a solid day, finishing sixth on the stage and moving to fifth in the overall standings. The BMC rider is less than a minute off third place overall, a gap he could conceivably make up in the Tour’s lone time trial two Saturday’s from now.
But first Van Garderen and the rest of the Tour peloton will have to survive several more days in the mountains, starting with Saturday’s 177km stage 14 grind that includes three monster climbs and finishes atop the summit of the 12.6km cat. 1 Risoul ascent. See stage 13 results here.
Bucolic scenery early in stage 13 gave no indication of the grueling climbing to come. Photo by Graham Watson
With team leader Andrew Talansky no longer in the race, Garmin-Sharp riders such as Ben King were free to ride for themselves. Photo by Graham Watson
Race leader Vincenzo Nibali led a large group onto the early slopes of the stage’s final climb. Photo by Graham Watson
Soon the leading group was reduced to only the strong, with Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) leading Thibaut Pinot (FDJ.fr), Nibali and Dutchman Laurens Ten Dam (Belkin). Photo by Graham Watson
Former GC challenger Richie Porte (back center, Team Sky) had an awful day, losing contact with the leaders and tumbling out of the top 10 of the overall standings. Photo by Graham Watson
Back at the front, Nibali dropped the other GC challengers, then caught the remnants of the early break and dropped them, too. Photo by Graham Watson
American Chris Horner (pink jersey) finished 17th on the day, and is 15th overall. Photo by Graham Watson
At the finish, Nibali had ample time to zip and celebrate his third stage win of this year’s Tour. Photo by Graham Watson
Nibali exults, but knows Saturday brings another tough day of climbing. Photo by Graham Watson
American Tejay van Garderen had a solid day, finishing sixth on the stage and moving to fifth in the overall standings. The BMC rider is less than a minute off third place overall, a gap he could conceivably make up in the Tour’s lone time trial two Saturday’s from now. Photo by Graham Watson