18/05/13 - 11:45
Cervere - Bardonecchia
Giro d'Italia • Stage14

Cervere - Bardonecchia
Giro d'Italia - 18 May 2013

Giro d'Italia – Follow this cycling race live with Eurosport. The action starts at 11:45 on 18 May 2013. Our live coverage lets you follow all the key moments as they happen.
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New top five: 1. Nibali, 2. Evans +1:26, 3. Uran +2:46, 4. Santambrogio +2:47, 5. Scarponi +3:53. 6. Niemiec +4:55, 7. Pozzovivo +5:02, 8. Majka +5:32, 9. Betancur +5:39, 10. Intxausti +5:41.


Result: 1. Santambrogio, 2. Nibali, 3. Betancur +9, 4. Sanchez +20, 5. Uran +30, 6. Evans +33, 7. Pozzovivo +33, 8. Kiserlovski +33, 9. Colbrelli +55, 10. Caruso +58.


Robert Gesink, surrounded by Blanco team-mates, crosses the ilne more than four minutes down. The Dutchman will plummet down the standings today.


Scarponi comes home 1:30 down and in a fit of coughs. He looks pretty rough. We'll await confirmation on all this - it's utter confusion at the top of this mountain.


Cadel Evans comes in 34 seconds down with some other riders - it's hard to see who. Sanchez was just ahead, as was a Sky rider - either Uran or Henao.


Santambrogio takes the win with Nibali right in his wheel! Betancur crosses the line a few seconds back for third.


Santambrogio sets the pace - but Nibali will be keen for the win and bonus seconds...


It's a Vini Fantini rider! Santambrogio! With Nibali in his wheel!


The first camera functioning at the finish is at the 400m-to-go point so we're waiting to see who comes through the mist first... will it be a Katusha shirt or will it be the pink jersey?


Paolini has attacked! Nibali too...


It's just 43 seconds now for the two leaders! It looks like they will be caught and passed by the maglia rosa group.


Henao, Pellizotti and Rosa have been caught by the pink jersey group - we are hearing - and the leaders are just one minute clear. Pietropolli has been dropped by Colbrelli and Paolini.


The Henao trio are now said to be just 1:20 behind the leaders, so they could catch them.


Pellizotti has apparently joined Henao and Rosa. The chasing trio are two minutes behind the leading trio of Paolini, Colbrelli and Pietropolli.


Now we have reports of Franco Pellizotti has also attacked - perhaps earlier - and is two minutes down on the three leaders. Very confusing with no TV coverage.


Henao and Rosa have about 20 seconds on the peloton, but the three leaders still have three minutes on the pack so one of them will take the win.


Sergio Henao has attacked for Sky. Diego Rosa of Androni counters.


Paolini and Colbrelli have two minutes on Trentin and 3:20 over the main pink jersey pack. There has been an attack apparently...


Sky lead the peloton with Cataldo setting the pace ahead of Colombian duo Uran and Henao. Uran will look to attack today to ake some time back from both Nibali and Cadel Evans.


Pietropolli back with the leaders now so perhaps that was just a momentary blip.


Pietropolli has been distanced by Paolini and Colbrelli, who have a 10 second lead over their fellow Italian. That's a surprise - the Lampre man, on paper, is the best climber of the break.


The lead is down to four minutes for the three leaders.


Just before the climb, Colbrelli made it two out of two when passing through the second intermediate sprint in pole position ahead of Pietropolli and Paolini.


We're onto the final climb of the day, the Cat.1 ascent of the Jafferau. It has an average gradient of 9.7% and hits a maximum of 14%. It's a consistent slog meaning there's virtually no respite here on in. The last section of the road is also unsurfaced. Unfortunately, there are still no live TV images available for anyone and so updates will be patchy - apologies in advance.


Trentin is 1:30 down on the three leaders now.


The break are holding on. They have 4:50 ahead of the second intermediate sprint and the final climb up the Jafferau.


While we don't have live images from the race, we do have some images from the finish - and while it's misty and miserable, the rain isn't actually too bad. In fact, it's more of a drizzle at the moment.


The gap is down to five minutes for the three leaders Paolini, Pietropolli and Colbrelli. Trentin is about 45 seconds further back.


The latest rumour is that tomorrow's stage has been cancelled completely. Whether or not tat would mean riding an alternative stage on Monday's rest day remains to be seen.


Matteo Trentin is said to be in difficulty according to race radio. This isn't even the steep part of the climb, which won't get under way for another 10km after the second intermediate sprint. It may yet still come back together.


Sky and Astana have come to the front of the peloton ahead of this final climb, paving the way for their men Uran and Nibali. The gap is down to 5:35 for the four leaders. Some riders have been tailed off the back of the peloton, including the red jersey Mark Cavendish.


It's down to 6:50 now for the leading group with news in that the only TV images of today's finish will come with the final 300 metres.


The gap is coming down for the four leaders. 7:50 at the latest check - but there are still no live TV images owing to the adverse weather conditions.


Update on those two riders who crashed heavily and abandonded the race earlier today: Alessandro Vanotti has a frectured collarbone and Enrico Battaglin has a broken rib.


The gap is down to 8:25 for the escapees - and it looks like one of these four will win today's stage, with the peloton more concerned about simply getting through these horrific conditions and arriving home in one piece. Pietropolli is perhaps the strongest climber of the four, so he'll fancy a maiden win on the Giro.


Back with today's stage, and the road is beginning to edge upwards towards the town of Bardonecchia where we'll have the second intermediate sprint ahead of the final climb to the summit finish atop the Jafferau. The gap is 9:05 for the four Italian leaders and the weather continues to wreak havoc on this year's race. It really is miserable out there.


BREAKING NEWS: Both the Galibier and Mont-Cenis have been cancelled for tomorrow's stage. Race organisers are frantically trying to come up with an alternative parcours.


Bardiani Valvole's Sonny Colbrelli, 23, is riding his second Giro d'Italia and is still searching for his first major UCI win. The fourth and final Italian in this group is Matteo Trentin, the only race debutant in the break. The 23 year old is one of Mark Cavendish's lead-out men at Omega Pharma-Quick Step but today has been given a free role with the mountains looming. The former cyclo-cross star fractured his scaphoid during the Het Nieuwsblad semi-classic earlier in the season.


Of the four Italians in this break, Paolini is the only one to have won a stage on the Giro. Remarkably, this is the 36 year old's first ever appearance in his home tour - and he made it a debut to remember with victory in stage three followed by four days in pink. Lampre's Daniele Pietropolli is riding his sixth Giro d'Italia. The 32-yea-old Lampre rider finished 8th in the Tour Down Under earlier this season.


The red jersey Mark Cavendish - who won his fourth stage yesterday - needs a bike change after a mechanical problem. The gap is still 10 minutes for the leaders: Italians Luca Paolini (Katusha), Daniele Pietropolli (Lampre), Sonny Colbrelli (Bardiani Valvole) and Matteo Trentin (Omega Pharma-Quick Step).


Britain's David Millar of Garmin Sharp has retired from the race. Unsurprising: he came here to help Ryder Hesjedal defend his Giro crown. The Canadian has withdrawn and Millar has a new born baby waiting for him at home...


Details are a bit sketchy at the moment because the host broadcaster is experiencing serious technical difficulties. There are no live images - presumably because of the dire weather and the route change - and so we have to go with the updates from the race radio, Radio Corsa. In any case, the riders are currently on the extra flat detour along the Susa valley that was brought in following the cancellation of the climb to Sestriere. The gap is currently 9:15 for the four Italian escapees.


Astana, Sky and Vini Fantini lead the peloton, which trails the break by almost nine minutes. The average speed for the second hour of the race today was 45.2kmh.


Dave Brailsford on the decision to cut today's climb to Sestriere: "It was always going to be doubtful with this weather. It's a shame but I think it's good news - especially regarding safety."


That third rider to hit the deck was Robinson Chalapud of Colombia. He's third in the blue jersey standings. Unlike Battaglin and Vanotti, the Colombian continued on his way. His duel with Stefan Pirazzi lives to see another day.


Recorded images confirm that Vanotti and Battaglin went down hard in a high-speed crash in the peloton. Battaglin was in a bad way on the road while Vanotti was sitting up but holding his arm in such a way to suggest a collarbone break. A third rider was involved but i was hard to identify him because of a black rain jacket. He was more annoyed than hurt, throwing his bidon down in disgust while waiting for a new bike.


The rain is falling pretty hard now as the four leaders increase their advantage to 8:40 over the pack.


Confirmation that Enrico Battaglin (Bardiani Valvole) has abandoned the race. Fellow Italian Alessandro Vanoti of Astana has also abandoned. We're yet to know if they were both involved in the same incident. Vanotti's withdrawal will be a blow to race leader Vincenzo Nibali.


Eurosport's man in the field, Daniel Lloyd, is reporting on Twitter that the paramedics were tending to Enrico Battaglin of Bardiani Valvole, the stage four winner. More news when we get it.


We just saw a very brief images of an ambulance tending to a rider but the feed was cut. We'll bring you more on that when we get it. Actually, it was a recorded image - and it may not have been a rider but a spectator. We'll update this as soon as we find out more information.


Today's stage could shake things up in the white jersey standings: Polish climber Rafal Majka (Saxo-Tinkoff) currently leads Colombian Carlos Betancur (Ag2R-La Mondiale) by 1:05 with Dutchman Wilco Kelderman (Blanco) in fourth at 4:34. Betancur has finished second twice so far - including the first high mountains stage earlier in the week, won by Rigoberto Uran. As for Majka - he's one of two Poles in the top ten, with the experienced Przemyslaw Niemiec (Lampre) three places ahead in 7th.


Live pictures from the finish in Jafferau are pretty bleak: there's a thick drizzle which would be snow were it only a bit colder. There's also mist hanging to the side of the mountain a bit further down towards Bardonecchia.


As predicted, Sonny Colbrelli takes the intermediate sprint maximum points and bonus seconds ahead of Luca Paolini and Daniele Pietropolli. No threat for Mark Cavendish, who's red jersey is safe for today. The Manxman passes through Pinerolo in the bunch, 7:20 after the four leaders.


The leaders are approaching the first intermediate sprint at Pinerolo. None of the four will be too motivated - although you can expect, perhaps, a dig from Colbrelli, who is from one of the wildcard teams and so crossing first would give his sponsor, Bardiani Valvole, a bit more coverage.


The lead is up to 7:08 for this quartet of Italians.


Katusha have had a superb Giro so far with Paolini wearing the pink for five days following his stage win and Maxim Belkov adding a second stage win. Damiano Caruso came close yesterday with his late attack - and today Paolini's in the break once more. It was a bit of a headache for the race organisers when the Russian team had their appeal for reinstation into the World Tour upheld by CAS - but it's worked out just fine in the grand scheme of things.


The lead for the four Italian fugitives is up to six minutes now as the rain stops and the sun starts to occasionally peek through the clouds.


After netting his fourth win in this year's Giro yesterday, Mark Cavendish extended his lead at the top of the red jersey points standings. He's currently on 108 points with nearest rival, Cadel Evans, one point ahead of third place Elia Viviani on 73 points.


Altering today's stage has changed the dynamic considerably. Had that long Cat.2 ascent been still on the agenda, we could have expected an early break forming featuring riders keen to pick up points for the mountains classification. Italy's Stefano Pirazzi is the current blue jersey with 47 points. Venezuelan Jackson Rodriguez (Androni) is second on 26 and Colombian Robinson Chalapud is third on 23 points.


Italians Luca Paolini (Katusha), Daniele Pietropoli (Lampre), Sonny Colbrelli (Bardiani Valvole) and Matteo Trentin (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) have 1:30 over the pack. Former pink jersey Paolini, the stage four winner, is the best placed on GC - but trailing compatriot Vincenzo Nibali by 47 and a half minutes, he's no threat to the current maglia rosa.


Shades of that crash from stage 12 which saw four of five riders in the break hit the deck. The upshot is that the seven-man break is now an all-Italian four-man break.


CRASH: Stetina, Martinez and Weening have crashed in the break, leaving only the four Italians Colbrelli, Paolini, Pietropolli and Trentin out ahead.


American youngster Taylor Phinney was pleased with the decision of Giro organisers RCS to alter today's course by taking out the snow-capped climb to Sestriere. "Must thank @rcssport for having the riders' backs and altering today's route. Finish in Bardonecchia is the same but no Sestriere," the BMC rider tweeted before the start.


None of these seven escapees are much of a threat on GC: the best placed is Spanish veteran Martinez, who is 18:12 down on Nibali on GC. They only have 15 seconds on the peloton though, so it may yet come back together.


BREAK: Seven riders have edged ahead of the peloton. They are Spain's Egoi Martinez (Euskaltel), Dutchman Pieter Weening (Orica-GreenEdge), Italians Luca Paolini (Katusha), Daniele Pietropoli (Lampre), Sonny Colbrelli (Bardiani Valvole) and Matteo Trentin (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) and American Peter Stetina (Garmin-Sharp)


With that first climb to Sestriere today cancelled, some cycling commentators and writers - including Sky Sports' Richard Moore - joked that this year's Giro route was turning even more into a route that would have suited Bradley Wiggins. On paper, with all those time trials and, now, less climbs, he's right. But the continued bad weather would have not suited the sick Wiggins: after yesterday's rare sun and blue skies, the rain is back now - and it's falling fairly heavily now.


Apologies for the graphic at the top of the page: the stage alterations were made so late that we have not had a chance to update the profile. Just imagine that the whole of that first climb to Sestriere is taken out and replaced with a flat ride through the Susa valley and an extra 12km. The first intermediate sprint comes at Pinerolo after 71km and the second at Bardonecchia at 171km just ahead of the final climb up the Cat.1 Jafferau.


Race leader Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) of Italy finished safely in the peloton yesterday to retain his 41-second lead over Australian veteran Cadel Evans (BMC) in the general classification. Colombia's Rigoberto Uran - the stage 10 winner and now top dog at Team Sky following Wiggins's withdrawal - is 2:04 down in third place. Dutch 'eternal hope' Robert Gesink is fourth at 2:13 and Italian 2011 champion Michele Scarponi a further second down in fifth.


Yesterday, Britain's Mark Cavendish won the longest stage of the Giro d'Italia after another thrilling bunch sprint in Cherasco. Wearing the red jersey as leader in the points classification, Cavendish powered past his rivals on the closing straight of the 254km stage from Busseto to edge out Italian Giacomo Nizzolo and Slovenian Luka Mezgec in a pulsating finish after more than six hours in the saddle.


The remaining 183 riders get the show on the road. It's cloudy with some light rain and a temperature of 13 degrees Celsius.


Some non starters to round up this morning: Daniele Bennati and Karlston Kroon (Saxo-Tinkoff), Gert Steegmans (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) and Jack Bobridge (Blanco) have all decided to call it a day rather than tackle the third mountainous phase of the race.


The decision to alter the stage and cut the climb to Sestriere - which is covered in snow - was only made one hour before the scheduled start. The riders will now face a flatter parcours of 180km that will conclude with the showpiece finale at Bardonecchia with the Cat.1 Jafferau climb. They are due to get started in about five minutes' time...


BREAKING NEWS: The big news today is that the first of two climbs scheduled for the 168km stage from Cevere to Bardonecchia - the long Cat.2 ascent to Sestriere - has been cut from the route due to bad weather. In its place, the riders will take in the flat Val di Susa valley before the final climb to the summit finish at Jafferau. The change will add 12km to the length of the stage and make it all come down to just the one climb.


Welcome to LIVE coverage of stage 14 of the Giro d'Italia - the first of two back-to-back weekend tests in the high Alps where the GC favourites will be forced to come out and play.