Giro d'Italia 2013 Stage 1
Naples to Naples 130km

The 96th Giro d'Italia started in the coastal city of Naples today, beginning the 3,454km, 21-day trek around Italy with an appetizer. The Giro is, in many respects, the most freewheeling of the Grand Tours, as the race organization is known for embracing novelty and change. This debut stage demonstrates how free-thinking the organization can be. Rather than starting with a time trial or a point-to-point race, they opted for a circuit race, 130km (81mi) in total, with two different circuits. Four 16.25km (10mi) circuits with a hill each lap and eight 8.1km (5mi) circuits totally flat.

The stage was not about climbing but about speed and tactics. The course pretty clearly favored sprinters. Omega Pharma-Quickstep's Mark Cavendish, widely regarded as the fastest of the fast men, was the rider everyone was watching, which meant that teams with sprinters who wanted to challenge Cavendish needed to take the race to Omega Pharma.

Cannondale Pro Cycling, led by sprinter Elia Viviani, took the initiative early. Their Australian, Cameron Wurf, infiltrated the early break of seven, drove the break to a two-minute lead, and then went out on his own with 85km (53mi) to go

With Wurf in front, Cannondale could sit back while the other sprinter teams chased, getting a free ride while the other teams tired themselves in the process. This classic tactic "softens" rivals while Cannondale stays fresh. The longer Wurf is out there, the more this tactic helps. Argos-Shimano, for John Degenkolb, and Orica-Greenedge, for Matthew Goss, joined with Omega Pharma to first keep Wurf's lead in check, then reel him in.
 
At 19km remaining (12mi), after 66km (41mi) solo, Wurf was finally brought back by an Omega Pharma and Sky-led field. A battle commenced between the sprinter teams. Cannondale came to the front with three kilometers (1.8mi) to go and ramped up the pace. With the field strung out behind, a crash occurred, gapping most of the field.

Under the flag for the final kilometer (.625mi), Cannondale's move looked like it was about to pay off. Then Orica-Greenedge started their lead out for Goss. It burned out early and Viviani dashed into the lead on the left, while Cavendish passed two Leopard riders on the right. Rapidly eating up road between himself and Viviani, Cav' passed the Cannondale sprinter in the closing meters for an impressive sprint win.

While they crossed the line virtually right next to each other, Cavendish is in the pink jersey of race leader by eight seconds, thanks to time bonuses awarded to the top three finishers. Viviani is now in second place overall, eight seconds back, and FDJ's Nacer Bouhanni lies another four seconds back in third.

Wurf, the solo artist, whose ride earned him the lead in the Traguardo Volante (aka intermediate sprint) competition, reached after the finish, was happy with the team's ride. "The important thing is to give it a go. It's important to get started on points for the climber's jersey. That could be an objective later in the Giro. We're here to show that Cannondale is here to race. Elia is a great rider and can show it. I knew in the finale the boys would give everything they had for him. I'm so pleased with his ride."

Tomorrow they have a chance to build on today's success. Stage Two is a 17.4km team time trial from Ischia to Forio on the volcanic island of Ischia. The nine riders on each team start together and race the watch and each other. Omega Pharma and Cannondale are going for the victory to make sure to keep their sprinters in contention for the pink jersey, while teams with overall contenders, like Garmin-Sharp, Sky, and Astana will be racing to gain a little edge on each other. Because the course is relatively technical, meaning lots of turns and narrow roads, the smartest, smoothest teams might have an edge on the stronger teams. Time gaps will be close, and the stage victory should be in question until the last team finishes.

Giro d'Italia 2013
Stage 1: Naples to Naples-130km

Stage Results

1. Mark Cavendish (GBr) Omega Pharma - Quick Step    in  2:58:18             
2. Elia Viviani (Ita) Cannondale                                  at  0:00:08            
3. Nacer Bouhanni (Fra) FDJ                                                             0:00:12             
4. Danilo Hondo (Ger) Radioshack - Leopard                        0:00:19             
5. Giacomo Nizzolo (Ita) Radioshack - Leopard                     0:00:20           

Stage Results Cannondale

60. Cristiano Salerno (Ita)                                                       0:00:18
82. Fabio Sabatini (Ita)                                                            0:00:18           
101. Cayetano Sarimento Tunarrosa (Col)                              0:00:18
144. Paolo Longo Borghini (Ita)                                             0:00:18
152. Damiano Caruso (Ita)                                                      0:00:18
161. Alan Marangoni (Ita)                                                       0:00:18
177. Tiziano Dall'Antonia (Ita)                                                0:00:18
188. Cameron Wurf (Aus)                                                      0:02:38

 

           
General Classification

1. Mark Cavendish (GBr) Omega Pharma - Quick Step         2:58:18             
2. Elia Viviani (Ita) Cannondale                                       0:00:08            
3. Nacer Bouhanni (Fra) FDJ                                                             0:00:12             
4. Danilo Hondo (Ger) Radioshack - Leopard                        0:00:19             
5. Giacomo Nizzolo (Ita) Radioshack - Leopard                     0:00:20           

 

General Classification Cannondale

60. Cristiano Salerno (Ita)                                                       0:00:18
82. Fabio Sabatini (Ita)                                                            0:00:18           
101. Cayetano Sarimento Tunarrosa (Col)                              0:00:18
144. Paolo Longo Borghini (Ita)                                             0:00:18
152. Damiano Caruso (Ita)                                                      0:00:18
161. Alan Marangoni (Ita)                                                       0:00:18
177. Tiziano Dall'Antonia (Ita)                                                0:00:18

188. Cameron Wurf (Aus)                                                      0:02:38