Denz Wins Stage 12 of Giro d’Italia 2023
Thursday’s stage 12 of Giro d’Italia 2023 was designed as a 185-kilometer ride from Bra to Rivoli in Piedmont. The route would take the Giro cyclists further north on a hilly route that featured one category 3 climb (Pedaggera) and, more importantly, the category 2 Colle Braida late in the stage. The Colle Braida features steep sections of up to nine percent.
In the first 30 kilometers of the stage, the riders would travel through the famous Barolo wine district, known for its powerful and full-bodied red wines. The region also produces the Barbaresco wines. Both Barolo and Barbaresco are made from Nebbiolo grapes grown on the sunny slopes.
Race organizer RCS Sport had designed the stage so it would feature an intermediate sprint where the points classification favorites were expected to fight for important points because of the stage finish being unsuitable for the heavy sprinters.
The Bra area is known as the birth location of the slow food movement that was founded around 1986. Rivoli is situated further north in the outskirts of Turin.
The stage was initiated with a one-minute silence ceremony in honor and memory of the victims of the recent unusually heavy rainfalls in the Apennine Mountain region.
Immediately after the start of the stage a myriad of attacks were launched. Active riders at the front included Derek Gee (Israel-PremierTech), Ben Healy (EF Education-EasyPost), Patrick Konrad (Bora-Hansgrohe) and Davide Formolo (UAE Team Emirates).
Eventually a large breakaway group featuring no less than thirty riders escaped from the main peloton and built a three-minute lead. Noteworthy riders featured in the front group included Konrad, Alberto Bettiol (EF Education-EasyPost), Sepp Kuss (Jumbo-Visma), Michael Matthews (Jayco-Alula), Mads Pedersen (Trek-Segafredo), Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo), and Formolo.
Meanwhile, Ineos-Grenadiers moved to the front of the peloton and initiated their cruise speed control in protection of Giro d’Italia leader Geraint Thomas.
Pedersen won the intermediate points sprint from the front group ahead of Matthews and Jascha Sütterlin (Bahrain-Victorious). Pedersen thereby gained 12 valuable points for the points classification.
Following the intermediate sprint, the large front group was split into smaller groups and eventually a front quartet formed featuring Nico Denz (Bora-Hansgrohe), Alessandro Tonelli (Green Project-Bardiani CSF-Faizane), Sebastian Berwick (Israel-Premiertech), and Toms Skujins (Trek-Segafredo). The group quickly built an advantage of 02:15 minutes, while a larger group ought to be chasing from behind, but conflicts between the riders was reducing their speed and only a few riders, such as Bettiol, contributed to a serious chase.
Finally, a group of three riders agree to engage in an honest attempt of catching the front group. The trio featured Bettiol, Christian Scaroni (Astana), and Alex Baudin (AG2R-Citroen). The group, however, was 02:15 minutes behind the front quartet.
The trio was later caught by group 3 and then their time deficit increased again.
With ten kilometers left of the race for the front group, Denz and Skuijns dropped Berwick and Tonelli. Berwick later rejoined Denz and Skuijns. In the main peloton Ineos-Grenadiers still led the chase closely followed by Team Jumbo-Visma.
Berwick launched an attack with 500 meters to go but was unable to establish a gap. Denz countered and won the sprint to take the victory in stage 12 of this year’s Giro d’Italia. Skuijns finished second, while Berwick completed the stage podium.
The main peloton cruised slowly to the finish to save energy for tomorrow’s stage 13 battle.
Geraint Thomas (Ineos-Grenadiers) remains overall race leader following today’s stage 12.
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