Cycling: Ulissi wins Giro stage 13 as Almeida strengthens overall lead

MONSELICE, Italy (Reuters) - Italian Diego Ulissi claimed a career eighth Giro d’Italia stage when he won Friday’s 13th stage, a 192-km ride between Cervia and Monselice.

The Team UAE Emirates rider outsprinted Joao Almeida, 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.

Frenchman Arnaud Demare, 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 chased in vain and was also left out of the sprint for victory.

The 22-year-old Almeida now leads Dutchman Wilco Kelderman by 40 seconds.

“We did a great job on the last climb to drop the sprinters and arrive with a small group. (Team mate 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 34.1-km individual time trial between Conegliano and Valdobbiadene.

The Giro is being held amid growing COVID-19 fears after two teams pulled out earlier this week following positive tests for the new coronavirus.

Writing by Julien Pretot; Editing by Christian Radnedge and Pritha Sarkar