Viviani burst through a seemingly tiny gap in the finale of Stage 13 of the Giro d'Italia, leaving the rest of the pack in his wake as he surged to another bunch sprint win.
The early break of five riders comprised Markel Irizar (Trek-Segafredo), Marco Marcato (UAE Team Emirates), Andrea Vendrame (Androni Gioccatoli-Sidermec), Alessandro Tonelli (Bardiani CSF) and Eugert Zhupa (Wilier Triestina).
It went away easily and came back as the peloton powered by the sprint teams regained the front of the race. Marco Coledan (Wilier Triestina) made it a messy finish, with a late attack seeing the normal sprint trains disrupted into the flat finish.
Nonetheless, a bold move by Viviani past Education First EF-Drapac's Sacha Modolo saw the Italian slip into the lead and power past Sam Bennett (BORA-Hansgrohe) and Danny van Poppel (Lotto NL-Jumbo).
Viviani talked about how the previous stages had set him up for the race win here.
“There was no need to think too much about yesterday or two days ago when I rode for 200km with [Esteban] Chaves," said Viviani after the stage. "I’ve had two bad days but it was more important to note what Bennett did in those two days: he was third in Gualdo Tadino and only [Peter] Sagan or [Fernando] Gaviria are able to sprint for 400 metres like he did today.
"Yesterday I was really empty. I was really cold, I couldn’t do anything. I haven’t done a Grand Tour in two and half years – it might have impacted my performances. Today we rode like in any other sprinters’ stages.
"This is my nicest and most emotional victory at the Giro because this morning I was nervous as I didn’t know if my legs would support me or not. I’m glad they did and my lead of 40 points in the Maglia Ciclamino (points jersey) is more comfortable than the 22 that we had yesterday."
It was an uneventful day for the pink jersey, Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott), with all the general contenders sights set on Stage 14's finish atop the Zoncolan.
"We’ve already done some high mountains in this Giro," said Yates," but tomorrow it’s gonna be difficult. I don’t know the Zoncolan, I’ve never reconned it – I've only seen it on TV.
"I hope to have good legs and, if so, I’ll try something. It’s been a hard race every day, except today – everyone is tired and everyone is talking about the Zoncolan. But if someone goes too deep tomorrow, they might pay the price the day after, which is another very difficult stage.
"I feel the responsibility of the Maglia Rosa but I came to win the Giro and I feel comfortable in leading the race.”