Mark Cavendish (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl) is in “last-chance saloon” if he wants to add to his solitary stage victory at this year’s Giro d’Italia, according to Bradley Wiggins.
Friday’s run from San Remo to Cuneo appears to be the final opportunity for the fast men before the race hits the mountains, although they could also feasibly deny a breakaway on Stage 18 next week.
Cavendish is expected to complete the remainder of the Giro as he chases another win to add to his triumph in Hungary on Stage 3, a task that was made slightly easier after struggling sprint rival Caleb Ewan (Lotto Soudal) abandoned the race on Thursday.
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Looking ahead to Stage 13 after Stefano Oldani (Alpecin-Fenix) won the longest stage of this year's Giro, Wiggins said: “It’s not as hard as today. Certainly the heat is still going to play a part but there’s a lot of tired legs out there.
“It’s last-chance saloon for a lot of riders before we head into the hillier stages and the mountains. My money is on the likes of Arnaud Demare. I’m looking forward to it.”
Demare (Groupama-FDJ) is a surprise package in Italy with two victories helping him become the runaway maglia ciclamino.
One of those wins came on Stage 5, which bears a striking resemblance to Friday’s profile – a tough climb at the start, then a kinder run to the finish. Demare and Groupama-FDJ mounted a terrific fightback after being distanced on the early ascent to take victory, while Cavendish and Ewan were left with too much work to do behind.

‘He doesn’t care about that jersey’ – Why Cavendish turned down intermediate sprint

“It looks like a very similar day to Stage 5, where Alpecin-Fenix went to the front and dropped Caleb Ewan and Mark Cavendish,” said Dan Lloyd on The Breakaway.
“But we’re at a very different point in the race where some teams have got fewer riders, all teams have got less energy in their legs than they had before.
“It’s close to 100km from the top of the climb to the finish. It’s a long way to try and control things and prevent someone like Mark Cavendish getting back on, but you never know."
Cavendish declined to contest the intermediate sprint in the maglia ciclamino battle on Thursday, suggesting he was conserving his energy.
“He doesn’t care about that jersey, he’s concentrating on winning stages," added Adam Blythe.
“He might have been thinking, ‘I’m really not bothered, I want to save as much energy as I can, concentrate on tomorrow and recover as much as I can throughout today’s stage’.”
Stage 13 starts by following the route of iconic Monument Milan-San Remo, but in reverse, before diving inland.

Stage 13 profile and route map: San Remo - Cueno

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