Philippe Gilbert (BMC) made a perfectly timed attack on the steep finishing climb of stage 12 of the Giro d’Italia to take victory on a fast, rainy day for the peloton.
Gilbert’s BMC teammates lead him perfectly into the Ardennes-esque 1km climb to the finish, with the 2012 World Champion launching his attack just at the right time to catch Tanel Kangert (Astana), who was up the road, and allow him to put a significant gap between him and possible stage rivals like Diego Ulissi (Lampre-Merida).
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For a while it looked like Kangert and fellow escapee Franco Pellizotti (Androni-Sidermec) would make it to the finish after jumping off the front on the penultimate climb of the day, but were unable to maintain the pace as a reduced peloton closed them down.
Race leader Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) was the main cause of creating that reduced bunch of around 30 men, having upped the pace with around 27km to go on the category climb Crosara to drop a whole host of riders.
The Spaniard then managed to navigate the treacherous, wet descent, which saw a number of riders hit the tarmac, to power to second place on the stage behind Gilbert and extend his lead over second place Fabio Aru (Astana) by 14 seconds, thanks to a bonus and Aru falling behind on the final climb.
It means that Contador sits 17 seconds ahead of Aru and still over three minutes ahead of Team Sky’s Richie Porte who also finished in the front group.
But the day’s victory belongs to BMC and Gilbert, who takes his second career stage victory at the Giro.
Friday’s stage 13 is as flat as it gets, with bunch sprint almost certain on the 147km parcours to Jesolo.
Giro d’Italia 2015 stage 12: Imola – Vicenza (Monte Berico) 190km
1. Philippe Gilbert (Bel) BMC, 4-22-50
2. Alberto Contador (Esp) Tinkoff-Saxo, at 3 seconds
3. Diego Ulissi (Ita) Lampre-Merida
4. Simon Geschke (Ger) Giant-Alpecin
5. Enrico Battaglin (Ita) Bardiani-CSF
6. Paolo Tiralongo (Ita) Astana, all same time
7. Ion Izagirre (Esp) Movistar, at 6 seconds
8. Carlos Betancur (Col) Ag2r-La Mondiale
9. Jurgen van den Broeck (Bel) Lotto-Soudal
10. Mikel Landa (Esp) Astana, all same time
Overall classification after stage 12
1. Alberto Contador (Esp) Tinkoff-Saxo, 51-17-06
2. Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana, at 17 seconds
3. Mikel Landa (Esp) Astana, at 55 seconds
4. Dario Cataldo (Ita) Astana, at 1-30
5. Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Tinkoff-Saxo, at 1-55
6. Rigoberto Uran (Col) Etixx – Quick-Step, at 2-18
7. Giovanni Visconti (Ita) Movistar, at 2-21
8. Damiano Caruso (Ita) BMC, at 2-28
9. Andrey Amador (CRC) Movistar, at 2-38
10. Leopold Konig (Cze) Team Sky, at 2-44