Gilbert Wins Stage 12 of Giro; Contador Extends Lead
Philippe Gilbert (BMC), who went winless during the classics season, has made up for it in the Giro d’Italia. The 2011 world road race champion attacked on the Category 4 climb to the finish to take Stage 12, a lumpy, 190-km ride from Imola to Vicenza, in 4:22:50. Maglia rosa Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo Bank) outsprinted Diego Ulissi (Lampre-Merida) for second at 0:03. Contador has extended his overall lead.
The stage was ridden in the rain. At 70 km, Patrick Gretsch (Ag2r-La Mondiale), Davide Appollonio (Androni Giacattoli-Venezuela), Enrico Barbin (Bardiani-CSF), Kenny Elissonde (FDJ), and Nick van der Lijke (LottoNL-Jumbo) sallied off of the front. The Orica-GreenEdge-led peloton kept the quintet on a short leash, and the escape’s lead never exceeded two minutes. With 57 km to go, the bunch reeled in the break.
On the Category 4 Castelnuovo, Gianfranco Ziloti (Androni-Sidermec) attacked. Louis Vervaeke (Lotto-Soudal) countered and dropped the Italian. The Belgian stayed clear until he was reeled in with 30 km left, at the base of the Category 3 Crosara.
Crashes occurred on the descent from the Crosara. Perhaps most important of these was the one involving Simon Gerrans (Orica-GreenEdge). The Australian suffered road rash and dropped out of the race.
Franco Pellizotti (Androni-Sidermec) attacked on the flat. On the uncategorized climb to Peracolo, the Italian veteran led the peloton by 0:20.
With six km remaining, Gilbert and Jon Izagirre (Movistar) attacked. They were reeled in, but Tanel Kangert (Astana) bridged up to Pellizotti one km later. At the one-km banner, the pair led the field by 0:21.
Kangert dropped Pellizotti on the Category 4 ascent to the finish. Behind, BMC led the chase. Gilbert jumped out of the bunch, caught and dropped Kangert, and soloed home for the win. Behind, Contador attacked, dropping his GC rivals and taking bonus seconds.
According to Gilbert, the team was motivated to win today because the stage’s parcours favored him. That led to great teamwork. "This is amazing and it is a great feeling," the BMC man said. "Before the stage this morning, we had a talk and the entire team was really focused because we knew this would be a good stage for me. All of the guys did a great job for me, especially the tremendous effort to bring two guys back late."
Contador was pleased with the outcome of a difficult stage. "It was yet another very hard day,” the Spaniard said. “We rode at 50 km/h for the first two hours and then the rain started. The peloton broke apart because of the high speeds, but I felt that I had good legs. Philippe Gilbert was strong on the final climb, but I was focusing on the general classification and I’m very pleased with the outcome today.”
In the overall, Contador leads Fabio Aru (Astana) by 0:17 and Mikel Landa (Astana) by 0:55. Stage 13 will be a pancake-flat, 147-km run from Montecchio Maggiore to Jesolo. This stage will be the sprinters’ last chance until Stage 21. Who will win? Andre Greipel (Lotto-Soudal)? Michael Matthews (Orica-GreenEdge)? Luka Mezgec (Giant-Alpecin)? Check in at www.roadcycling.com and find out!