211th time lucky for Stefano Oldani
If at first you don't succeed, try, try, and try again. Stefano Oldani (Alpecin-Fenix) has certainly been trying, completing 210 race days in his professional cycling career before getting a win on stage 12 of the Giro d'Italia. The Italian joined the Belgian team from Lotto-Soudal in the winter, and will be delighted to get off the mark for his new employers.
He has come close-ish at the Giro d'Italia in the past, finishing in the top ten five times in the two previous editions, both on bunch sprint days. However, he seems at least a level below the top fast men like Mark Cavendish, Caleb Ewan and Arnaud Démare.
To find himself in a group of three at the finish in Genoa must have been a dream then, as Oldani was comfortably the fastest in a group where none of the trio had ever won before. Perhaps this is how he will be able to win in the future, by getting up the road and being active in the breaks.
One thing is for certain now, however, which is that people will know what to expect from the Italian when he escapes from the peloton. One to keep an eye on.
Winning teams keep winning at this Giro
12 stages gone at this Giro, and ten teams have won stages so far. That means there are 12 teams who haven't won yet, and they only have nine days left to do it in. Taking out the three invited teams, and so it would take a different empty-handed WorldTour team to win each day in order to satisfy them. That is ignoring the claims of the three invited squads at this race.
There will quickly become more desperation for stage victories as the race veers towards Verona. While there are more opportunities left for teams looking to win from the break, or the GC hopefuls to stamp their name on this race, quickly these will disappear.
The other thing to note is that winning teams keep on winning. The three men on the podium in Genoa this afternoon were all members of squads that had already triumphed at this year's race: Alpecin-Fenix, Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert and Jumbo-Visma.
Victories breed confidence, and so there will be belief in the ten winning teams that they can win again in the remaining nine stages. Bad news for those without anything so far.
Wilco Kelderman back up on GC, but doesn't want to race for overall
At the start of stage 12, Wilco Kelderman (Bora-Hansgrohe) was in 23rd place on general classification, 11-02 behind the maglia rosa wearer Juan Pedro López (Trek-Segafredo). At the end of the day, Kelderman was just 2-51 behind López, now in 13th place.
The Dutchman's escapades in the day's escape meant he gained over eight minutes back on the main contenders. Now he's within three minutes of the race lead, one would think he was intent on being back in the GC picture. Not so.
"I wanted to go for the stage win but there were too many guys in front," Kelderman said after the stage
"GC doesn't matter for me anymore. I'm just not good enough on the long climbs. It's still really far. I think you have to stand on one minute to be in GC. For me, I'm just not good enough to be able to fight for GC. I think Jai [Hindley] and Emu [Buchmann] are in really good shape and they can really fight for the podium."
He is still a useful card for his Bora team, however, as the third rider they have within three minutes of the lead. Kelderman can go up the road and force other teams to chase, while his teammates sit on. While he's unlikely to win the Giro, he does still have a big part to play.
This was a fast day, which is an understatement
How fast do you go when you are out on a bike ride? Obviously, most of the people reading this won't be professionals, nor will they riding in a big bunch, at a bike race. I'm going to guess and say you normally average about 25km/h on your own.
On a hot day in the regions of Emilia-Romagna and Liguria, the peloton at the Giro averaged a frankly ridiculous 45.88km/h. Stage 12's winner, Stefano Oldani, completed the 204km course in 4-26-48. It wasn't a flat day, either, with almost 3000 metres of climbing.
Partly this was due to the battle to be in the day's break, with some really intense riding early on. The tantalising prize of a stage win meant that there were lots of competing interests wanting to go up the road. One move went, the speed increased to catch it, and this happened again, again, and again.
It was the opposite of stage six, where the riders seemingly almost gave up on trying. This is a lot more fun, but I can't imagine how many calories the peloton burned on an incredibly hot day.
Trek-Segafredo continue to impress in defence of pink
Stage 12 was Juan Pedro López's eighth day in the maglia rosa, and he looks increasingly comfortable in the race lead. The Spaniard didn't come into the race wanting to be on top of the general classification, he came to try and win a stage, which he narrowly missed out on stage four on Etna.
His Trek-Segafredo team did not come to the corsa rosa looking to do anything on GC either, and yet they have expertly managed their young Andalusian's time in pink. The team are made up of stage hunters, as shown by Bauke Mollema going up the road on stage 12, and yet have defended López's lead well.
This was in evidence on Thursday again, as the full team chased as soon as the break had gone up the road to ensure that the general classification wasn't shaken up too much. It was the kind of day where slip ups might happen, but Trek allowed nothing of the sort.
It means that López will have a ninth day in pink, and there is no reason he can't keep going until at least Sunday if Trek continue to support him.
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