Cadel Evans behind pink jersey wearer and race leader Rigoberto Uran during stage 14 pf the Giro d'Italia.

Cadel Evans behind pink jersey wearer and race leader Rigoberto Uran during stage 14 pf the Giro d'Italia. Photo: AP

OROPA: Cadel Evans made up five seconds on Giro d'Italia leader Rigoberto Uran on Saturday as Italian cyclist Enrico Battaglin of the Bardiani team won the 14th stage, a 164km mountain run from Aglie to Oropa.

Colombian Uran of Omega Pharma lost ground on the final 11.8km climb but held onto the leaders' pink jersey with a reduced margin of 32 seconds ahead of Evans.

The Australian former Tour de France winner finished 21st on the stage, a few lengths clear of Uran to make a statement on the first day in the mountains.

The race ended in the Oropa sanctuary where the late Italian climber Marco Pantani, who died in 2004, produced a memorable performance after being held up with a chain problem on his way to victory in the 1998 edition.

Battaglin, 24, led a long breakaway group to finish ahead of fellow Italian Dario Cataldo with Colombian Jarlison Pantano 0.07sec off the pace in third.

"I didn't believe it until the final kilometre. I had used up a lot of energy in the breakaway which started early," explained Battaglin.

"But I saw that ahead the others were having problems so I gave it everything I had to come back."

Battaglin was among a group of 21 riders who had made an early break including BMC Racing's Manuel Quinziato, building up a lead of 9min 15sec before attacking the final climb with a four-minute advantage.

Quinziato pushed the pace onto the final climb but, with less than 10km to go, the Italian suffered gear problems.

BMC rider Evans made his move in the final 50 metres to remind Uran of his intentions in the final week.

"It might have been a few more seconds, but there was a bit of a wave (other riders) in front of me," the Australian said.

"Someone set a really hard tempo at the start of the climb.

"That eliminated a lot of riders who might have ridden tempo - Samuel Sanchez or Steve Morabito - who could have been by my side later in the climb. So all the leaders were isolated quite early."

Pre-race favourite Nairo Quintana of Colombia, who has been hit by a series of health problems in the past week, also clawed back 25 seconds on his compatriot to sit sixth.

Canada's Ryder Hesjedal, the 2012 Giro winner, remains over six minutes behind Uran in 12th.

The riders are set for back-to-back summit finishes with Sunday's 15th stage over 225km to the difficult Montecampione climb where Pantani duelled with Russian Pavel Tonkov on the final 19.4km summit finish in 1998.

AFP