Vendrame the latest breakaway rider to triumph at the Giro
Bernal keeps hold of leader’s pink jersey despite late scare
Bouchard extends lead in mountains classification
Egan Bernal retained the pink jersey as Andrea Vendrame won an attritional stage 12 of the Giro d’Italia from the breakaway in Bagno di Romagna.
Crashes, illness and the affects of Wednesday’s frantic stage across the white gravel roads of Tuscany took their toll as six riders abandoned the race during the course of its second longest stage – covering 212km and 3,700 metres of climbing from Siena.
By the end of it there was no major change at the top of the general classification as Ineos Grenadiers rider Bernal continues to lead by 45 seconds from Astana-Premier Tech’s Aleksandr Vlasov.
But Movistar’s Marc Soler abandoned from 11th place overall after a crash early in the day, while two-time winner Vincenzo Nibali, more than four minutes down in 13th place, used a late attack to claw back a few seconds and show he still has ambitions in the race.
Nibali’s attack did draw a brief response from Bernal’s team-mate Gianni Moscon, only for the Italian to crash on a corner, though he completed the stage without losing time.
“I think today was a really hard day for everyone,” Bernal said. “We are happy it finished well. When Nibali attacked in the downhill we didn’t want to take the risk to follow him so I think we did well.”
Simply surviving was easier said than done. Alessandro De Marchi, who spent two days in the pink jersey last week, was taken to hospital after a nasty crash, while his team-mate Alex Dowsett, stage six winner Gino Mäder, Fausto Masnada and Kobe Goossens were also non-finishers.
Damiano Caruso remains third overall, 72 seconds down, just ahead of Lancastrian duo Hugh Carthy and Simon Yates.
The general classification contenders will hope for a quieter day on Friday, with a pan-flat stage from Ravenna to Verona pointing to a sprint finish.
But this was yet another day for the breakaway, with Ag2r-Citroën’s Vendrame beating Chris Hamilton of DSM to the line as the last survivors of a 16-man breakaway.
“I’m super happy because I tried in 2019 but I was second and [Esteban] Chavez won that day, and I tried also last year but I was in a bad position,” the Italian said.
“I have been training hard this year and I made a dream come true. I’m really happy. We’ve been working to try to get the blue jersey for [Geoffrey] Bouchard and then in the finish we made it so I could try and get the victory.”
Kiwi George Bennett was awarded third place after Gianluca Brambilla was relegated for an irregular sprint, with the pair having been in something of squabble for many of the final kilometres. PA
Bernal retains lead after Nibali bites back
Vincenzo Nibali (Trek-Segafredo) crosses the finishing line seven seconds ahead of the maglia rosa, but Egan Bernal (Ineos Grenadiers) retains pink as leader in the general classification while there are no other major changes in any of the jersey classifications.
Bernal takes a 45sec lead over Alexandr Vlasov (Astana-Premier Tech) into Friday’s panflat stage, while Damiano Caruso (Bahrain Victorious) is third. Britons Hugh Carthy (EF Education-Nippo) and Simon Yates (BikeExchange) are fourth and fifth respectively.
Back in the peloton, Vincenzo Nibali puts himself on the front going into the descent in an attempt, presumably, to test the mettle of Ineos Grenadiers who really don’t need to chase. Chase they do, however, and Gianni Moscon comes a cropper on bend. The Italian will pick up some road rash for his troubles, but is back in the saddle.
Nibali pushes on, gaining himself a few seconds which won’t really have an impact on the race, not for now at least. It may, however, place a seed of doubt or two into the minds of Egan Bernal and his team-mates going into a tough few days in the high mountains.
Vendrame wins stage 12 at the Giro!
Andrea Vendrame (Ag2r-Citroën) opens up his sprint around 150 metres out from the line, beating Chris Hamilton (DSM) fairly conclusively. Gianluca Brambilla (Trek-Segafredo) beats George Bennett (Jumbo-Visma) 15 seconds later to take third spot. Shortly afterwards, however, Brambilla was relegated to fourth after he was rule to have crossed Bennett’s sprint line.
Delighted at the finish line, Vendrame said: “What an incredible feeling! I can’t even speak or find the right words to describe how I feel now. I just won a stage at the corsa rosa: a dream has come true!
“Thanks to my team-mate and breakaway companion Geoffrey Bouchard,” the Italian added. “I managed to bring home some success for our team. After a difficult period where I had an injury, this win at the Giro is something indescribable.”
1km to go
Andrea Vendrame and Chris Hamilton, neither of whom have won a grand tour stage in their careers, are into the final barriered stretch of road, poised and ready to challenge for the line honours.
1.5km to go
Andrea Vendrame gains an advantage, but again Chris Hamilton reins the Italian back in.
2km to go
Andrea Vendrame and Chris Hamilton lead the stage, George Bennett and Gianluca Brambilla appear to be bickering behind – they really ought to be working together now.
3.5km to go
Gianluca Brambilla is reined in, the quartet watching each other closely. In theory Andrea Vendrame is in pole position for the stage win, but after putting 4,500 meters of climbing into the legs form may go out of the window.
5km to go
Over the top of the climb goes Giulio Ciccone and Vincenzo Nibali, and Egan Bernal rises out of his saddle and chases the pair down. At the other end of the race, it is the turn of another Trek-Segafredo rider Gianluca Brambilla to put in an attack.
8km to go
George Bennett, Gianluca Brambilla, Chris Hamilton and Andrea Vendrame are all together at the front of the race, while further back Giulio Ciccone and Vincenzo Nibali are around four or five bike lengths up the road from Ineos Grenadiers. As it stands, the pair have not really gained much time … but it is exciting to see them taking the race to Egan Bernal.
Back in the peloton, Giulio Ciccone (Trek-Segafredo) who dropped down the general classification yesterday has attacked the maglia rosa, the climber has team-mate Vincenzo Nibali for company.
The finale to today’s stage
The upcoming descent is fairly technical – several curves and hairpins – followed by the below false flat finish. The final kilometres are dotted with roundabouts.
12km to go
All back as one at the front of the race. George Bennett, Gianluca Brambilla, Chris Hamilton and Andrea Vendrame appear set to challenge for the stage today – the peloton is over 12 minutes down – but they still must get over the top of this climb, navigate the descent, and then race the false flat section to the finish.
13km to go
Andrea Vendrame has company after Chris Hamilton catches him.
14km to go
Andrea Vendrame is doing the ride of his life. and hanging on here, but Chris Hamilton has ridden George Bennett and Gianluca Brambilla off his wheel and is off in pursuit.
15km to go
Andrea Vendrame battles away on this steep incline, George Bennett, Gianluca Brambilla and Chris Hamilton are around 300 metres down the road but that gap appears to be closing. They really need to catch him before the summit if they want to take the stage, in theory Vendrame would win a sprint out of this quartet of riders.
16km to go
The trio of George Bennett (Jumbo-Visma), Gianluca Brambilla (Trek-Segafredo) and Chris Hamilton (DSM) are in pursuit of stage leader Andrea Vendrame (Ag2r-Citroën), trailing the Italian by just 10sec. Nicolas Edet (Cofidis) and Giovanni Visconti (Bardiani-CSF-Faizane) have lost contact as the road rises up on this final climb that ramps up to 14% at its steepest part – potentially where Vendrame may be caught by the chasing trio?
17.5km to go
George Bennett has attacked. Andrea Vendrame, who I thought was more suited to the classics, counter-attacks and is off up the road. The Ag2r-Citroën leads the stage by 12sec.
18km to go
Chris Hamilton leads a small group over to Gianluca Brambilla, the injection in pace looking to be enough to shell one or two.
19km to go
Gianluca Brambilla is the latest to put in a wee attack, the 33-year-old Italian is marked out by compatriot Simone Ravanelli. But then the Trek-Segafredo rider goes again to gain a minor gap.
20km to go
The sun is out, the road is now dry and the peloton passes beneath the 30km to go banner, meaning they are exactly 10 kilometres behind the stage leaders. Not too far from the day’s final climb.
25km to go
A number of riders from the breakaway have been dropping back to their team cars for some food or drink, while Geoffrey Bouchard is struggling with his rain jacket. The Frenchman doesn’t look too comfortable at removing it while riding – it was his team-mate Lawrence Naesen who crashed earlier while battling with a jacket, perhaps Ag2r-Citroën need to start practising their de-robing skills.
27km to go
Mikkel Honore again puts in a little attack off the front of the break, but he is being marked closely by Simone Ravanelli and Giovanni Visconti. Geoffrey Bouchard, Simone Petilli and Natnael Tesfatsion have lost contact with the leading group and the trio are chasing back on. The peloton, meanwhile, trail by 11min 40sec.
34km to go
Mikkel Honore, the 24-year-old Deceuninck-Quick Step rider, rolls off the front of the breakaway briefly, but he is soon reined back in on this fast descent. The Dane, by the way, landed the first race of his career in Italy this yearat Settimana Internazionale Coppi e Bartali, before adding a WorldTour race to his palmarès with a memorable win at Itzulia Basque Country alongside team-mate Josef Cerny.
37km to go
The breakaway is whizzing down the other side of that climb, the road relatively dry but a bit patchy in places. Once they have completed the descent, there will be one more categorised climb, the Passo del Carnaio that is 10.8km long with an average gradient of 5.0% but pitches up to 14%!
Surprise, surprise . . .
. . . Geoffrey Bouchard goes over the summit of the category two Passo della Calla to take maximum points in the mountains classification and tighten his grip on the maglia azzurra. The Frenchman won the mountains classification at the Vuelta a España in 2019 and is going well at the Giro where he may add to his jersey collection, albeit a small collection. The Ag2r-Citroën rider said the other day that he wasn’t especially bothered about the jersey but instead wanted to win a stage: he may get his wish here today.
51.5km to go
Gianluca Brambilla bounces out of his saddle, the Italian who got his season off to a flyer with a stage win and the overall at the Tour des Alpes Maritimes et du Var, is looking sprightly, but is he doing too much work too early? There are some strong riders in this group, none of whom are any threat to the general classification – hence them being allowed to ride in the breakaway – and all of them will be desperate to challenge for the honours in Bagno di Romagna.
52.5km to go
The sun is out again and the breakaway has almost completely regrouped – just Dries De Bondt and Victor Campenaerts are off the back, the pair of Belgians trailing by around 30sec.
The peloton is a shade over 10 minutes down the road as the break presses on, around 4km from the summit of this longish climb.
58km to go
As the road winds up the Passo della Calla, Natnael Tesfatsion has bridges over to the lead group to ensure that along with Simone Ravanelli Androni-Giocattoli-Sidermec has two riders up front.
The peloton trails by over 11 minutes, meaning this could be another day for the breakaway. If that’s the case, that would mean 50% of the stages at this year’s Giro will have been won by a breakaway rider: five of the stages so far have been won by a rider from the break, four ended in sprints and the opening day was the time trial in Turin.
60km to go
Geoffrey Bouchard, who is leading the mountains classification, is in the second group on the road alongside Dries De Bondt (Alpecin-Fenix), Nicolas Edet (Cofidis), Guy Niv (ISN), Simone Petilli (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux) and Giovanni Visconti (Bardiani-CSF-Faizane), but the Ag2r-Citroën rider’s team-mate Andrea Vendrame is riding on the front of the lead group. Intriguing.
62.5km to go
A further split has formed in the breakaway, leaving a six-man group comprising Vincenzo Albanese (Eolo-Kometa), George Bennett (Jumbo-Visma), Gianluca Brambilla (Trek-Segafredo), Chris Hamilton (DSM), Mikkel Honore (Deceuninck-Quick Step), Simone Ravanelli (Androni-Giocattoli-Sidermec), Diego Ulissi (UAE Team Emirates) and Andrea Vendrame (Ag2r-Citroën) out in front.
65km to go
Victor Campenaerts of Belgium and Natnael Tesfatsion, the Eritrean who won the Tour of Rwanda last year, are chasing back on but have lost over 30secs on the stage leaders. The rain has stopped for now, but the roads are still very wet with large sections of ‘resting water’.
Lawrence Naesen (Ag2r-Citroën) takes a tumble, the Belgian was attempting to put a rain jacket on but managed to lose his balance.
70km to go
Victor Campenaerts (Qhubeka-Assos) and Natnael Tesfatsion (Androni-Giocattoli-Sidermec) lose contact with the breakaway on the descent, both taking the corners relatively gingerly. Further back and young British rider Simon Carr (EF Education-Nippo) has pulled up, he appears to have something wrong with his bike.
74.5km to go
The breakaway is on the descent and it is tipping it down. Not the sort of conditions anybody likes riding, or descending, in. The sporting directors and families watching at home will be nibbling on their nails right now.
75km to go
The rain is falling heavier now. Some are wrapping up, getting their rain capes on, while others are not bothering. I think it was Kiwi rider George Bennett (Jumbo-Visma) that I just saw putting a second jacket on. Must admit, it doesn’t look that cold, but who knows how the riders are suffering following a tough few days of racing.
78km to go
Geoffrey Bouchard takes maximum points atop the category two Passo della Consuma to extend his lead in the mountains classification. There was a little coming together between a few riders in the peloton just over nine minutes down the road, but nothing too serious for anybody to worry about.
Another one bites the dust . . .
Fausto Masnada (Deceuninck-Quick Step), the Italian who won a stage at the Giro two year’s ago while riding for Androni Giocattoli- Sidermec, is the latest rider to abandon during today’s stage. Masnada arrived at this year’s race to play a key role in the mountains for Remco Evenepoel so that will come as a huge blow to the team. He has, according to the team, been suffering with knee tendinitis.
85km to go
Good day for this young man yesterday who climbed up to second overall on general classification. Aleksander Vlasov, as most of you will know, has been widely touted as the next big thing in grand tour racing, and is living up to the billing following a disappointing outing at last year’s race. The Russian is dressed in the best young rider’s jersey today, although race leader Egan Bernal actually leads both competitions.
The breakaway is being held on a relatively controllable leash by Ineos Grenadiers, their advantage holding at around the eight-minute mark.
90km to go
Filippo Ganna and Salvatore Puccio are sharing duties on the front of the peloton, the maglia rosa riding at around fourth or fifth wheel and looking fairly relaxed. The breakaway keeps on tapping away, their lead having increased to a shade over eight minutes now, and the rain jackets are coming out. A few spots of rain are falling as the riders inch ever higher. The rain is not too heavy, but may play a role once over the other sideand the riders are onto the descent.
95km to go: Big climb incoming . . .
. . . and here’s what the category two Passo della Consuma looks like. This is the longest uphill section of the day, 17.1km at an average gradient of 5.7% that pitches up to 10% at the steepest point.
100km to go
The breakaway may be into the second half of today’s stage, but fear not with three categorised climbs to follow there is plenty of action to follow today. Their lead over the peloton, by the way, has grown slightly to 7min 40sec. It will surprise nobody to learn that Ineos Grenadiers are sat on the front monitoring that gap, while keeping the maglia rosa positioned safely out of harm’s way.
As it stands . . .
Hello again. As mentioned in an earlier, today is one of the longest stages in this year’s Giro d’Italia as so it was an earlier start that normal with 170 riders passing through KM0 at 10.36am (BST).
It was a fairly frenetic start and it too some time for the breakaway to stick. But stick it did after just over 50 kilometres of racing, with 16 riders – Vincenzo Albanese (Eolo-Kometa), George Bennett (Jumbo-Visma), Dries De Bondt (Alpecin-Fenix), Geoffrey Bouchard (Ag2r-Citroën), Gianluca Brambilla (Trek-Segafredo), Victor Campenaerts (Qhubeka-Assos), Nicolas Edet (Cofidis), Chris Hamilton (DSM), Mikkel Honore (Deceuninck-Quick Step), Guy Niv (ISN), Simone Petilli (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux), Simone Ravanelli (Androni-Giocattoli-Sidermec), Natnael Tesfatsion (Androni-Giocattoli-Sidermec), Diego Ulissi (UAE Team Emirates), Andrea Vendrame (Ag2r-Citroën) and Giovanni Visconti (Bardiani-CSF-Faizane) – now lead by 7min 40sec with 113km to go.
The formation of that strong looking breakaway, however, is thus far a mere footnote in the tale of today’s stage. Already there have been four riders abandon. Alessandro De Marchi, the Italian who wore the maglia rosa for a couple of stages last week, was taken away from the race by ambulance after crashing, before later on his British team-mate Alex Dowsett bailed following stomach complaints.
Marc Soler, the Spaniard who was carrying the general classification hopes of his Movistar team, also crashed and as a result also abandoned. Gino Mäder (Bahrain Victorious), the young Swiss rider who won a hilly stage last week before taking the maglia azzurra as leader in the mountains classification, was also forced to quit. Following the withdrawals of Mikel Landa (DNF stage five) and Matej Mohoric (DNF stage nine), just five Bahrain Victorious riders remain in the race. At this rate Bahrain Victorious will be ditching their team bus before the race reaches Milan, and hiring a Cinquecento for their staff and riders. A real shame that as I felt they had, along with Ineos Grenadiers, one of the strongest teams going in the race.
Today’s menu . . .
Today’s roller-coaster of a stage is the joint second longest of this year’s Giro d’Italia, but with almost 4,500 metres of vertical elevation the riders will be more concerned with the amount of climbing rather than the distance. Following a brief shuffling of the general classification pack following Wednesday’s enthralling stage, one suspects those with hopes of challenging for the pink jersey may use today as a launchpad for any assault they are planning on making.
With no fewer than four categorised climbs – Monte Morello (category three), Passo della Consuma (cat. two), Passo della Calla (cat. two) and Passo del Carnaio (cat. three) – there are plenty of opportunities for ambushes, while the race for the mountains classification can also expect a much-needed boost following a couple of quiet days. There are, of course, also the two customary intermediate sprints where points are up for grabs in the race for the maglia ciclamino in Sesto Fiorentino, while the second one just over 20km from the line in Santa Sofia bonus seconds are up for grabs.
Here’s what the roadbook says about the day ahead: “A challenging stage across the Apennines. Starting in Siena and crossing the Chianti region all the way to Florence, the route passes through Ponte a Ema [Bartali], Florence and Sesto Fiorentino [Martini].
“Here, the riders will negotiate a succession of ascents: Monte Morello (see above profile – with peaks exceeding 15%), Passo della Consuma (see below – average gradient of 6%) . . .
. . . Passo della Calla (below – 5%) . . .
. . . and Passo del Carnaio (below), featuring some challenging bits with gradients up to 14%, followed by a technical descent leading to the final 5km.
“Starting from 3,500m from the finish, the last kilometres either descend, or are a false flat up.
“The route drops down quickly on wide roads, with several curves and hairpins, and briefly touches the centre of San Piero in Bagno. The final kilometres (see below for final 3km) are dotted with roundabouts. The stage homes in on asphalt road.”
Catch up: Highlights from yesterday’s stage
Hello and welcome to our live rolling blog from stage 12 at the Giro d’Italia, the 212-kilometre run from Siena to Bagno di Romagna.
The stage winner on Wednesday may have been relatively unknown to some of our readers, but I think we can all agree that Mauro Schmid‘s (Qhubeka-Assos) victory was thoroughly deserved and came at the end of a thrilling day of racing. While there were winners and losers, predominantly in the general classification, none of the top spots in the main classifications – the ones deemed worthy of a leader’s jersey – changed. Here’s a quick look at those standings.
Race leader Egan Bernal (Ineos Grenadiers), the 24-year-old Colombian, once again showed that he was the strongest rider at this year’s race with a blistering attack in the finale of yesterday’s stage, a move that saw him gain 23 seconds over Alexandr Vlasov (Astana-Premier Tech), who moved up to second overall, as the Colombian extended his lead in both the general and youth classifications and will for the third day today wear the maglia rosa, or the pink jersey.
Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) took control of the maglia ciclamino, the cyclamen jersey, as leader in the ponts classification thanks to his stage win on Monday and there were no changes in the top three of that fiercely contested competition following yesterday’s stage.
Geoffrey Bouchard (Ag2r-Citroën), took control of the maglia azzurra during Sunday’s mountainous stage, and will again wear the blue jersey as overall leader in the mountains classification.
The top three in the youth classification mirrors that of the overall and so Alexandr Vlasov (Astana-Premier Tech) will wear the maglia bianca, or the white jersey, on behalf of the maglia rosa Bernal.