Giro Stage 12 – Breakaway Winner

After the epic stage the day before, there was another extreme day in the saddle for the riders on Stage 12 of the Giro d’Italia won by Andrea Vendrame who was the first from the day’s breakaway to cross the finish whilst the peloton came 10 minutes down with most of the GC riders present

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Giro Stage 12 – Breakaway Winner

After the epic stage the day before, there was another extreme day in the saddle for the riders on Stage 12 of the Giro d’Italia. The stage had breakaway written all over it and so it was but it did take the breakaway a long time to get clear.

The stage though was a very short one for several riders after a crash near the back of the peloton brought down half a dozen riders. Marc Soler was seen talking to the doctor getting something for his back but that didn;t work and he retired whilst Italian Alessandro De Marchi left the race in an abulance with a broken collarbone, six broken ribs and two broken vertebrae. Other abandon’s included stage 6 winner Gino Mader, Fausto Masnada, Kobe Goosens and Britain’s Alex Dowsett.

Meanwhile, in the race, the attacks jept on coming for over 60km with the likes of Peter Sagan and Irish veteran Nico Roche among the litany of riders who tried to go clear as the race weaved its way through the beautiful Chianti wine region south of Florence.

Finally, a breakaway did stick and it included many a familair name; Geoffrey Bouchard, Andrea Vendrame, Dries De Bondt, Simone Ravanelli, Natnael Tesfatsion, Mikkel Frølich Honore, Vincenzo Albanese, Simone Petilli, Guy Niv, George Bennett, Chris Hamilton, Victor Campenaerts, Gianluca Brambilla, Diego Ulissi, Giovanni Visconti and Nicolas Edet. Of the riders in the breakaway, New Zealand champion Bennett was the best placed rider in the break, and clearly eyeing a maiden Grand Tour stage win after seeing his GC hopes go up in smoke in the first half of the race.

The gap to the breakaway went out to 13 minutes but the four categorised climbs (two 2nd & 3rd cat climbs) did have their effect on the group especially as the rain came down making the descents more treacherous thna normal. Campenaertswas liking the dangerous descents and the Belgian was the first of the escapees to be swept up by the peloton inside the final 45km. The majority of the break remained intact as the leaders started the fourth and final climb, the Cat.3 Passo del Carnaio, which preceded the final descent to the finish.

Supposedly a sprinter by trade, Vendrame powered clear on a little downhill section near the top of the climb before being joined by compatriot Brambilla and the Down Under duo of Bennett (NZ) and Hamilton (Aus). Attacks from his group followed but it was the ‘sitting up’ by Bennett and Brambilla which was the big talking with the two of them having seemingly having had some words during the time in the breakaway.

So the four became two as Vendrame and Hamilton went full gas to the finish where Vendrame outsprinted easily his Australian rival. Bennett crossed the line in third ahead of Brambilla. The rest of the breakaway then came in bit by bit whilst in the peloton, which was in cruise mode, there were some late attacks from from teammates Giulio Ciccone and Nibali who went again after they were brough back and came in seven seconds ahead of the rest of the GC group.

The Giro continues on Friday with the pan-flat 198km Stage 13 from Ravenna to Verona, which will reopen the doors to the sprinters and the battle for the maglia ciclamino ahead of Saturday’s pink showdown on Monte Zoncolan.

Andrea Vendrame: “I’m happy because I came close in 2019, when my chain came off, and unfortuntely I was second. Since then, I’ve had lots of placings… I was one of the fastest, but I worked for the Maglia Azzurra Bouchard, then we won the stage with me. It was a hard stage. I’d put a star against it, we looked at it last night and prepared a plan, and we carried it out today. Brambilla was there, he’s quite fast. Hamilton went early, I chased him. I knew I was one of the strongest, and I worked so that there were only the two of us. I didn’t get a change from Hamilton. In the end, I sprinted as hard as I could to bring it home.”

Egan Bernal (IGD) (Pink Jersey) “Yes, for sure, there was a lot of elevation today, it was a really hard day for eveyrone, so, yeah, we are happy because we have finished well, but, yeah, it was a really tough stage. Actually, they [Nibali and Ciccone] attacked on the uphill, but we closed the gap because the moto was really close to them, it was really fast, then Nibali attacked again on the downhill, but we didn’t want to take the risk of following, so I think we did well. I think we need a flat stage, for sure, but, I mean, somethimes this kind of stages are the more, difficult, so anyway we have to be focused, it’s a Grand Tour, and for the GC guys there is no easy stage, you know, we need to go for every day, so for tomorrow we need to be really focused.”

George Bennett (Jmbo Visma): “Today was an opportunity to go for the stage win, but in the final I had to gamble”, Bennett said. “You have to be willing to lose if you want to win. I can’t react on every attack either, because then I would still finish in third or fourth place. Competing for stage wins in breakaways is something I don’t do often. So maybe it takes a while before I get to understand the cat- and mouse play. I think the high mountain stages that are yet to come offer more opportunities. In these stages it’s more about the legs and someone’s fitness than the cat and mouse game we played today. After last week’s disappointments, I haven’t lost my confidence. I’m going to try to make the most of it to try and win a stage.”

Chris Hamilton (DSM): “It was a pretty hard day and I think everyone was expecting to be,” smiled Hamilton at the finish. “It was the longest stage and it had the most altitude metres we’ve had at the Giro so far. We thought it would be a good opportunity to go for the breakaway. Nico Roche and I were given the green light to do that and after a massive fight I made it in. From then on it was about being as efficient as you could, not laying your cards out too early. Coming into the final with the four of us fighting for the win was pretty cool. I haven’t had so many chances for myself to go for a stage result so I’m really thankful to the team that I got the chance. Of course I would have loved to win but second in a Grand Tour, yeah, I can say I’ve been there, you know. There’s not much else I could have done and I’m really happy with the day.”

Gianluca Brambilla (Trek Segafredo): “The regret of not being able to play my chance for the win is strong,” explained Brambilla. “We struggled all day. The first 65kms were full gas to find the breakaway, then almost 150kms on the attack to gain enough time. Having no chance to make the sprint is a pity and makes me sorry, first for the team. We came to the Giro primarily to win the stages, and today we have lost an opportunity.”

“Vendrame won with merit; in the final group, he was the fastest. I knew it, and that’s why I tried several times, uphill and downhill, to make a further selection. I rode to win the stage even though I knew I could lose. That’s how it went, and I can’t do anything but look forward to the next opportunities. The condition is good; I’ll try again.” On the downgrading to fourth place, “I accept the jury’s decision. The way I saw it unfold is this: I was in the lead, Bennett always stayed on my wheel, the finish pulled to the right, and I kept a trajectory to the left. That’s all.”

Simone Petilli (8th): Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert “I was disappointed with my first week, because I came on this Giro with a good condition and I crashed twice. But today I was determined to be in the breakaway. Because of the rainy conditions, I spent way too much energy in the descents and there was not much left in the tank for the last climb. I am happy, however, to have honored the team at the front of the race. For our first participation in the Giro, we are delivering strong performances and we intend to continue on this path until Milan.”

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