Monselice, Italy: Italian Diego Ulissi claimed a career eighth Giro d'Italia stage when he won Friday's 13th stage, a 192km ride between Cervia and Monselice.
The UAE Team Emirates rider outsprinted Joao Almeida (Deceuninck–Quick-Step), who consolidated his overall lead as second place earned the Portuguese a six-second time bonus. Austrian Patrick Konrad took third place.
The peloton was split in three in the final short but brutal climb of the day, with the sprint specialists being dropped.
Diego Ulissi sprints to the line ahead of Joao Almeida to win stage 13. Credit:LaPresse
Frenchman Arnaud Demare (Groupama-FDJ), winner of four stages and leader in the points classification, could not sustain the pace and abandoned all hope of victory with 18km left while triple world champion Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) chased in vain and was also left out of the sprint for victory.
The 22-year-old Almeida now leads Dutchman Wilco Kelderman (Sunweb) by 40 seconds.
"We did a great job on the last climb to drop the sprinters and arrive with a small group. [Teammate Brandon] McNulty was very good in the final, how nice to get another success in the Giro," said Ulissi, who also won the second stage in this year's edition.
Saturday's 14th stage is a 34.1km individual time trial between Conegliano and Valdobbiadene.
Diego Ulissi celebrates after winning his second stage of this year’s Giro d’Italia. Credit:LaPresse
The Giro is being held amid growing COVID-19 fears after two teams, the Australian-registered Mitchelton-Scott squad as well as Dutch outfit Jumbo-Visma, pulled out earlier this week following positive tests for coronavirus.
Meanwhile, Australian Michael Matthews has returned two negative test results for COVID-19 after testing positive for the virus on the first rest day of the Giro, which he consequently withdrew from.
Matthews (Sunweb) did not start stage 10 on Tuesday after it was announced he was one of eight people across five teams who tested positive on the first rest day on Monday.
The 30-year-old sprinter underwent a rapid test on Tuesday, which was negative and another PCR test on Wednesday that also came back negative. However, his Sunweb team in a statement on Friday said the two negative results did not prove the test taken on the rest day in Italy was a false positive.
"This is good news as Michael is also feeling good and still without symptoms. The first PCR test remains to be a reliable snapshot of that moment. The two negative tests since do not mean Monday's test was a proven false positive," a team spokesman said in a statement to Cyclingnews.
Sunweb, who are abiding by strict internal testing protocols as well as those set out by race organiser RCS, has supported the continuation of the Giro despite the exit of two teams and pressure from others to end the race before it is due to finish in Milan on October 25.
"These strict procedures are in place to ensure health, whilst at the same time allowing professional cycling to take place in these challenging times of COVID-19," the spokesman said.
"This is in the interest of all of pro cycling's stakeholders and the fans to show that professional cycling can still exist in this COVID-19 era."
Reuters – with staff writers
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