Italian rider Sacha Modolo (Lampre Merida) celebrates on the podium after winning the 13th stage of the 98th Giro d'Italia. Photo: AFP

Unlucky 13 for Alberto Contador as crash sees Fabio Aru take Giro d’Italia overall lead

Italian Sacha Modolo won the stage in a sprint to the finish against two other compatriots, while the Spaniard fell off his bike losing a crucial 40 seconds

Italian Astana rider Fabio Aru took over as leader of the Giro d’Italia from crash victim Alberto Contador on Friday after the rain-hit 13th stage was won by Sacha Modolo.

Modolo, also an Italian, hung on in a sprint finish to edge compatriots Giacomo Nizzolo and Elia Viviani at Jesolo, near Venice.

A mass crash less than 5km from the line saw long time race leader Contador fall of his bike and the 40 seconds dropped on Aru saw the pink jersey handed to the Italian by 19 seconds heading into Saturday’s time trial.

Spanish rider Alberto Contador (left) of the Tinkoff-Saxo team talks with Italian rider Fabio Aru of the Astana Pro team. Photo: EPA

Australian Richie Porte also took a tumble and lost over 2 minutes and is now well down the rankings and out of contention at nearly 6 minutes off the pace.

The 24-year-old Aru, who finished third overall last year, takes the leader’s jersey for the first time in his career.

“It’s a great feeling to finally wear the pink jersey,” said the delighted Aru.

“I’ve waited since the beginning of the race to finally take the lead and now I can look forward to the time-trial tomorrow [Saturday].

“It’s a tough stage like many others, but I’ll just try and stay in contention and protect the jersey.” he added.

Spaniard Mikel Landa is third overall at 1min 14secs.

It’s a great feeling to finally wear the pink jersey
Fabio Aru

On a day of steady rain and run over 147km of flat racing, a trio of Italian Marco Frapporti, Frenchman Jerome Pineau and German Rick Zabel opened up an escape before being reeled in towards the finale.

The mass accident then played havoc with the chances of several contenders, including Contador, before the rest of the pack raced for home.

It then came down to a long sprint finish that Modolo won by half a bike length after being led in by two of his Lampre teammates.

Saturday will feature a tough 59.4km time-trial from Treviso to Valdobbiadene and is guaranteed to shake up the overall standings and give Contador a chance to recover his lost time.

Sacha Modolo (Lampre Merida) celebrates as he crosses the finish line to win the 13th stage in Jesolo. Photo: AFP