The fallen face of Fabio Aru (Astana) said it all as he crossed the finish line after the 190km stage to Vicenza. He finished the stage in 26th place, eight seconds behind Alberto Contatdor (Tinkoff-Saxo).
Contador showed his strength on the uphill run to the finish line, with his second place stage finish earning him another six seconds in time bonuses.
Richie Porte (Sky) also lost time to the maglia rosa. Porte played it safe in the wet and dangerous conditions, a strategy that saw him finish in 12th position for the stage, three seconds back from Contador.
"It was really fast in the first part of the stage," said Sky Sports Director Dario Cioni. "They couldn’t get the break to go so it was over 50km/h up to the first sprint. The second half was also tough because you had the climb and the bad weather came in. That made it quite a tough day.
"The guys looked in control. There were quite a few crashes on the descent. Richie did well to be in the front group and then we were able to get more guys in the group for the final."
While Porte continued to ride a controlled and strategic race given the wet conditions of the day, Aru blamed a hunger flat for the critical seconds he lost in the final metres of the race.
“I cracked in the finale after not eating enough,” said Aru, according to Cyclingnews.
“There wasn’t much time to eat and bring things around, so I was empty on the final climb to the finish. It was inevitable to lose something. But the Giro is still long and we’re focused for the stages ahead.
“I developed as a cyclo-cross rider and so I’m used to racing in cold and wet conditions like this. But if you make a mistake with your feeding strategy, you pay for it. That’s what happened to me today. But a bad day can happen, the important thing is to fight back.”
Contador now leads Aru on the general classification by 17 seconds, while Porte's deficit extends to 3min 18sec.
While Stage 13 is marked for the sprinters, anticipation builds for the Stage 14 individual time trial. The 59.4km race against the clock will see a much bigger shake up to the leaderboard and show the real impact of these smaller gains and losses in the first half of this Grand Tour.