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Nibali wins Giro del Trentino with final-stage attack

"The Shark" strikes at Sega Di Ala to take his second stage-race overall of 2013

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Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) won the Giro del Trentino on Friday with a late attack in stage 4 in Sega Di Ala, Italy. Nibali took a solo stage win and pulled on the leader’s jersey on the race’s final day.

Mauro Santambrogio (Vini Fantini-Selle Italia) was second after the pair attacked late on the finish climb.

Przemyslaw Niemiec (Lampre-Merida) was third.

Nibali entered the day 3:57 behind overnight leader Maxime Bouet (Ag2r La Mondiale), but the Frenchman lost contact with the GC contenders early on the finish climb and ceded the overall lead.

“The plan from the beginning of the Giro del Trentino was to win the race and also to put Fabio Aru in a good position on the climbs, where we know he has a very strong pedaling style and we know he can do well,” said Nibali. “Today, under pressure, Fabio responded like a champion.”

The 166-kilometer final stage ran from Arco to Sega Di Ala, finishing atop the 16.6km hors category climb. With only a brief interlude between the Cat. 2 Brentonico climb and the finishing climb, the stage was drawn out to be decisive in the four-day tour.

Nibali’s Astana teammate Paolo Tiralongo upped the pace midway up the finish climb, briefly distancing teammate Vincenzo Nibali and the group of favorites. Mauro Santambrogio (Vini Fanti-Selle Italia), Cadel Evans (BMC Racing), and another rider followed, but Bradley Wiggins (Sky) was forced to close the four-second gap on his own.

Ivan Basso (Cannondale) was unable to do the same and lost contact with the leaders.

Wiggins suffered a mechanical, however, dropping off the back of the group a couple of times before dismounting and pushing his machine across the road. The 2012 Tour de France took a new bike, but with teammate Kanstantin Sitsouv in the red, Wiggins was forced to chase alone.

He pushed on past Basso and then Pierre Rolland (Europcar). Tiralongo carried on pressing at the front of the group, but Wiggins continued to make up ground.

As the group rolled onto the steep, 12-percent section of the climb, Nibali and Santambrogio shot off on their own, Evans leading the pursuit on his own.

Niemiec and Fabio Aru (Astana) surged past Evans when the road tilted up further, but the Australian hunched and pressed his shoulders over his bars to try and match the pace.

Behind them, Wiggins faded.

Nibali was chasing the overall and dumped Santambrogio off just before a steep, right-hand switchback with about 3km to go. “The Shark” was on his own, his countryman trailing at about four seconds. Nibali entered the day fourth overall, 3:57 behind Maxim Bouet (Ag2r La Mondiale) and nine seconds off the pace of Wiggins. With Bouet faltering on the finish climb, Nibali pushed his way onto the more moderate upper pitches of the climb.

Nibali rode under the flame rouge with more than three minutes on the overnight leader and almost 10 seconds over Santambrogio.

Niemiec continued to chase, Aru tucked in his wheel, unwilling to chase his Sicilian teammate.

Nibali took the time to celebrate as he crossed the line to secure his second major stage race of the season, after his Tirreno-Adriatico victory in March.

Down the road, Bouet pushed on in the purple jersey of the overall leader. Sitsouv tucked into the wheel and Bouet could not make the time, losing his grasp on the overall lead inside the final 500 meters.

Nibali took the race lead, 21 seconds ahead of Santambrogio. Bouet held on for third overall, 55 seconds in arrears.