Giro d'Italia: Mauro Santambrogio wins stage 14 as Vincenzo Nibali extends overall lead
By Matt Westby. Last Updated: 19/05/13 11:20am
Vincenzo Nibali, right, allowed Mauro Santambrogio, left, to take the stage win
Vincenzo Nibali strengthened his grip on the maglia rosa after finishing second behind Mauro Santambrogio on a weather-affected stage 14 of the Giro d'Italia.
The two Italians surged clear of their general classification rivals just over 1km out from the summit finish at Jafferau and crossed the line nine seconds ahead of Colombia's Carlos Betancur in third.
Team Sky's Rigoberto Uran, third overall, followed 30 seconds behind in fifth place, while Cadel Evans, second overall, was also dropped by the pair and came in sixth, 33 seconds adrift.
It means Nibali extends his lead over Evans to 1min 26sec, with Uran 2min 46sec down and now just one second ahead of Santambrogio, whose win elevated him to fourth.
The day's route had to be significantly amended ahead of the stage due to inclement weather, with rain and thick mist being compounded by forecasted snow on high ground.
The planned category-two climb to Sestriere was skipped and the parcours was consequently extended by 12km, to 180km, as the riders were instead diverted along the length of the Susa Valley, in north-western Italy.
Despite the cold and wet conditions, seven riders broke away from the peloton early, but after three of them crashed on the treacherous roads, it was left to Luca Paolini (Katusha), Matteo Trentin (Omega Pharma - Quick-Step), Sonny Colbrelli (Bardiani Valvole - CSF Inox) and Daniele Pietropolli (Lampre-Merida) to press on as a quartet.
They built up a maximum lead of over nine minutes and, despite Trentin dropping off after a puncture, the remaining trio still had 4min 40sec when they passed through the ski resort of Bardonecchia, 9km out, and embarked on the steep final climb to the finish.
The gap began to tumble, though, when riders started attacking out of the peloton in the final 5km, prompting Paolini kick on in a bid for solo glory.
He carried a lead of around 40 seconds into the final 1.5km, but his efforts were in vain, because behind, Nibali (Astana) and Santambrogio (Vini Fantini) had attacked their fellow GC contenders and swiftly came by him.
Although Betancur (Ag2r-La Mondiale) was able to respond, Evans (BMC) and Uran (Team Sky) were both left trailing and lost ground in the race for overall victory.
Michele Scarponi (Lampre-Merida), fifth overall, also struggled, losing 1min 28sec, while Robert Gesink (Blanco), who had been fourth on the GC, suffered a disaster by coming in 4min 16sec down as he dropped out of the top 10 overall.
Watch highlights of stage 14 on Sky Sports 1HD from 7.30pm
Stage 14 result
1 Mauro Santamborgio (Ita) Vini Fantini, 4:42:55
2 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana, st
3 Carlos Betancur (Col) Ag2r-La Mondiale, +9
4 Samuel Sanchez (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi, +26
5 Rigoberto Uran (Col) Team Sky, +30
6 Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC, +33
7 Domenio Pozzovivo (Ita) Ag2r-La Mondiale, st
8 Robert Kiserlovski (Cro) RadioShack-Leopard, st
9 Sonny Colbrelli (Ita) Bardiani Valvole - CSF Inox, +55
10 Damiano Caruso (Ita) Cannondale, +58
1 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana, 57:20:52
2 Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC, +1:26
3 Rigoberto Uran (Col) Team Sky, +2:46
4 Mauro Santamborgio (Ita) Vini Fantini, +2:47
5 Michele Scarponi (Ita) Lampre-Merida, +3:53
6 Przemyslaw Niemiec (Pol) Lampre-Merida, +4:55
7 Domenio Pozzovivo (Ita) Ag2r-La Mondiale, +5:12
8 Rafal Majka (Pol) Saxo-Tinkoff, +5:32
9 Carlos Betancur (Col) Ag2r-La Mondiale, +5:39
10 Benat Inxuasti (Spa) Movistar, +5:51
Red (points classification) - Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma - Quick-Step)
Blue (mountains classification) - Stefano Pirazzi (Bardiani Valvole - CSF Inox)
White (best young rider) - Rafal Majka (Saxo-Tinkoff)