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HomeRaceRace ReviewsGiro d'Italia 2013 - Stage 5: Cosenza - Matera, 203km. Intacto,...

Giro d’Italia 2013 – Stage 5: Cosenza – Matera, 203km. Intacto, or, a Solo Bunch Sprint.


There’s a great Spanish movie from 2001 starring Max von Sydow called ‘Intacto.’

The premise of the film is that for some people luck isn’t a matter of sheer chance; it’s a commodity which they possess and which they can trade – or steal.

Argos fast man John Degenkolb may be one of them.

Degenkolb celebrates a solo win in a bunch sprint. Photo©Gian Mattia D’Alberto

Granted it wasn’t luck that he was actually in the group of 95 which contested the finish – which is more than can be said for Cav, Gavazzi, Goss and Modolo – that was due to his ability to get over the climbs; something I’d expected Goss to do.

But the German still had Bennati, Bouhanni, Ferrari, Ventoso and Viviani to worry about stealing from him.

When Degenkolb’s Argos team mate Luca Mezgec went down near the front inside the last kilometre – causing a chain reaction on the slick white paint of a pedestrian crossing – it looked like Bardini’s Marco Canola, who was on lead out duties for Battaglin, was going to score a fabulous double for the men in lurid green.

After one of the several simultaneous crashes, Marco Marcato and Ramunas Navardauskas get themselves untangled. Photo©Ferrari
Oscar Gatto puts his chain back on. Photo©Ferrari

Being on the front he’d missed the carnage and was well clear at the front.

But while others, fell, braked and hesitated, not Degenkolb – despite being in the middle of the chaos, he stayed upright, launched, made up an impossible gap and took the stage.

Lots of watts – but more than a touch of luck; Max von Sydow would be proud.

Respect to Degenkolb – but lose the moustache, John.

Degenkolb is delighted with his win. Photo©Gian Mattia D’Alberto

I’ve told everyone before that Fabio Baldato was the only pro ever, in the history of cycling to get away with a moustache and beard.

It was just possible that a break could sneak clear on the closing ‘lumps’ today, but despite the lack of QuickStep and GreenEdge to nitrous oxide boost the chase, the lesser Italian teams took up the challenge – they know that come the chrono and mountains, TV time will be harder to come by.

Rabottini was away again for Vini Fantini, but looking a bit weary on it.

The weather was atrocious during the day, but thankfully improved towards the stage end. Photo©Ferrari

Saxo made an appearance for Bennati but his days of winning mass Grand Tour charges may well be over.

BMC rode well to keep Cuddles out of trouble – and again he looked comfortable in the finale.

Cadel Evans kept out of trouble today. Photo©Ferrari