The Tour Take | GIRO D'ITALIA Stage 12
1st – Sam Bennett
2nd – Danny Van Poppel
3rd – Niccolo Bonifazio
A mostly flat 214km stage, finishing on the Imola racetrack. A 15km finishing loop at Imola included the Tre Monti climb, a fairly irregular 4km climb at 4%, but with sections at 10%. A small descent led back down to the racetrack for what was presumed to be a big bunch finish.
Simon Yates holds the Maglia Rosa for another day, with no real GC action occurring on the stage. Viviani’s lead has been heavily cut in the points competition with Bennett winning another stage. Richard Carapaz holds the Young Riders’ jersey, while Esteban Chaves holds the KOM jersey.
An all pro-conti break, made of two from Bardiani, Mirco Maestri and Manuel Senni; two from Willier Triestina, Jacopo Mosca and Eugert Zhupa; and Marco Frapporti of Androni-Giacatolli. They got a maximum lead of just over four minutes with a long day on the cards, and not a hugely strong composition. They were all brought back with around 20km to go.
The Winning move
Rain fell consistently for the last two hours, but it got significantly harder in the last 30km, while winds helped create splits too. The weather and a long day made the finale super challenging; Viviani was distanced in the crosswinds, as were some GC threats. Tim Wellens, had a dig in the final 15km, while Matej Mohoric and Carlos Betancur gapped the field over the top of the final climb.
But Sam Bennett hung tough - this felt like a classics finish, and he’s no stranger to those. With Mohoric and Betancur still dangling out front in the final kilometre, he took the chase up himself, opening the sprint from 450m out and passing the two escapees like they were standing still. He knew he’d won with 150m to go, and even had time to sit up for a victory salute.
The GC Movers and Shakers
Carapaz and Pozzovivo were both gapped in the echelons that formed with 20km to go, but luckily found their way back into the main group. Rohan Dennis has ridden well in two very chaotic finales in the last two stages; coping with days like this is part and parcel for GC riders - he’s showing he can do it. No big losers today.
30rd- Adam Hansen +0
58th- Ben O'Connor " ( 13th on GC @ 3:25)
84th- Zak Dempster "
87nd- Rohan Dennis " (7th on GC @ 2:36)
88st- Chris Hamilton "
116th- Jack Haig "
167th- Mitch Docker @ 10:57
Another flat-ish stage, but a sprint seems nailed on here. 180km from Ferrara to Nervesa Della Bataglia, the riders pass through the finish line with 30km to go and head out of town for a 30km loop then back to the line. The finishing loop incorporates a cat 4 climb with 20km to go, but it doesn’t look too challenging. The sprint itself in uncomplicated as well, the final 5km are mostly straight, with only a few kinks in the road.
We still haven’t had a sprint with all the main sprinters since Stage 7; we should get one here, and we’ll back Viviani to take the chocolates.