Vuelta a España 2013 stage 13
Valls to Castelldefels 169km



The discussion before the start of stage thirteen of the Vuelta was about whether or not sprinters could get back after the tough first-category climb that tops out with 50km remaining of the 169km (105mi) stage from Valls to Castelldefels. If the fastest sprinter could get back on he might be able to take the stage. But then there was debate about whether the finishing hill was a slight rise or a legit climb.

With the terrain largely unknown, Cannondale Pro Cycling knew they had to be ready for anything. Maybe it would be a day off and a break would cruise, maybe the heads of the race would attack and look for time gains. Their top rider, Ivan Basso was ready.

One thing for sure was that someone would try to go for the early break. Someone turned out to be over 20 riders. And that was too big for race leader Vincenzo Nibali's Astana team. So they brought it back. And then another group went away. And as they were even larger, they were brought back. After 50km, (31.1mi) a break finally fought and clawed and drove and was given a gap. Seventeen riders making up the break with Lampre's Michele Scarponi holding the highest GC position. But he had a ten-minute deficit on Nibali, so Astana only needed to ride tempo and the gains would be minimal.

On the Alto del Rat Penat, a brutal 4.3km (2.7mi) rise, and the big obstacle of the day, Scarponi rode away from his companions. A small group chased him while the rest crumbled. The peloton, which had been riding three minutes behind, closed the gap down to 1:47 at the summit. On the descent, Scarponi sat up and waited for nine riders to join him. The ten quickly grew the gap back over three minutes.

Once on the flats, and dropped riders joining the Red Jersey group from the rear, Cannondale went to the front to pick up the pace. They were joined by FdJ. Under the pressure of these two teams, the gap dropped to two minutes with nine kilometers (5.6mi) remaining.

Then the break started attacking each other. Cofidis' Jerome Coppel, the best time trialist had a dig and brought out a few riders. The remainder of the group chased and chased and caught the three leaders with 2.5km (1.5mi) remaining. Coppel had another dig, but he was countered by Argos-Shimano's Warren Berguil. Berguil had picked the perfect moment. Far enough that anyone chasing would doom his own chances and close enough to ride the distance solo. Barguil roared up the final incline to a great win. Second went to AG2R's Rinaldo Nocentini, third to Belkin's Bauke Mollema.

The field arrived 2:43 behind Barguil. Basso was at the front, making sure that none of the favorites stole any time, and that he couldn't lose time if a tired rider let a gap open. He came in sixteenth, on the same time with his competition.

The mountains return to the Vuelta tomorrow. Stage fourteen goes from Bagá to Collada de la Galina in 155.7km (96.7mi). To the riders, it will feel like the entire stage is going uphill. The first climb is the Port de Envalira. While the climb proper is only 27km (16.8mi), when you include the climbing leading up to it, it's more like 48km (29.8mi). The Envalira is followed by the second category Coll de Ordino, the second category Alto de la Comella, and then the stage finishes atop the first category Collada de la Gallina. Cannondale Pro Cycling will shepherd Basso as long as they can, but by the time the Gallina is reached, the race will be mano a mano amongst the strongest Vuelta strong men.

Vuelta a España 2013
Stage 13:Valls to Castelldefels

Stage Results

1. Warren Barguil (Fra) Team Argos-Shimano 4:00:13
2. Rinaldo Nocentini (Ita) AG2R La Mondiale 0:00:07
3. Bauke Mollema (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling Team same time
4. Ivan Santaromita (Ita) BMC Racing Team same time
5. Xabier Zandio Echaide (Spa) Sky Procycling same time

Stage Results Cannondale Pro Cycling

16. Ivan Basso (Ita) 0:02:43
42. Maciej Paterski (Pol) 0:02:54
55. Cayetano José Sarmiento Tunarrosa (Col) 0:03:02
72. Paolo Longo Borghini (Ita) 0:03:12
80. Cameron Wurf (Aus) 0:03:22
135. Lucas Sebastian Haedo (Arg) 0:15:23
142. Daniele Ratto (Ita) same time
146. Tiziano Dall'Antonia (Ita) same time

General Classification

1. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana Pro Team 49:29:02
2. Nicolas Roche (Irl) Team Saxo-Tinkoff 0:00:31
3. Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Movistar Team 0:00:46
4. Christopher Horner (USA) RadioShack Leopard same time
5. Joaquim Rodriguez Oliver (Spa) Katusha 0:02:33

General Classification Cannondale Pro Cycling

7. Ivan Basso (Ita) 0:02:52
49.Cayetano José Sarmiento Tunarrosa (Col) 0:41:20
69. Cameron Wurf (Aus) 1:02:20
76. Maciej Paterski (Pol) 1:06:43
91.Paolo Longo Borghini (Ita) 1:20:26
113. Daniele Ratto (Ita) 1:29:52
129. Tiziano Dall'Antonia (Ita) 1:46:20
158. Lucas Sebastian Haedo (Arg) 2:06:37