(Reuters) - Team Sky’s Mikel Nieve negotiated the tough mountain climbs between Palmanova and Cividale del Friuli to win the 13th stage of the Giro d’Italia on Friday, as Andrey Amador claimed the leader’s pink jersey.
Nieve, who won a Giro stage five years ago, set the tempo for much of the later part of the 170km ride.
The 31-year-old Spaniard finished 43 seconds ahead of second-placed Giovanni Visconti, to give a boost to Team Sky, who lost Mikel Landa to illness earlier in the week.
Movistar’s Amador became the first Costa Rican to lead a grand tour after wresting the coveted pink jersey from Etixx-QuickStep’s Bob Jungels to take a 26-second advantage in the race.
Pre-race favorites Vincenzo Nibali and Alejandro Valverde were involved in an exciting sprint finish, with Italian Nibali edging out the Spaniard to finish third and snatch the four bonus seconds on offer.
Nibali moved third in the overall standings, 41 seconds adrift of Amador and two clear of Valverde.
The next stage of the Giro d’Italia will take the riders from Alpago to Corvara on Saturday.
Reporting by Nivedita Shankar in Bengaluru; Editing by Toby Davis