Tour of Italy: Calm before the storm?

Nico Denz

 RIVOLI - Thursday’s stage was a 185-kilometre run from Bra to Rivoli. After heavy weather and COVID-19 disturbances at several stages, this 12th stage was the final transitory stage the organisation had designed. At 28 kilometres before its finish line, stage number 12 included a hill followed by a rolling descent.

 With still 172 kilometres to go, a large group of 26 cyclists broke away. Four Italian cyclists would soon join them. This scenario was the one all the overall contenders had hoped for: an early breakaway of a large group of cyclists no one which could shake the general classification. The peloton let them do. At some point in the race, the leading group was advancing the peloton by more than eight and a halve minutes! Friday, the Giro will finally enter the mountains. The first mountain stage will also be the first real test of the contenders in the general classification. Wednesday’s breakaway granted the overall contenders a quiet day before the giro might hit the fan.

 The early breakaway soon fell apart into smaller groups. At the head of the race, German cyclist Nico Denz could barely follow his two fellow escapees on the “Colle Braida.” Yet he would win the stage: after a first attempt to ride away from his last two rivals, being the more explosive type of cyclist, he beat them in a sprint.

 Eight minutes and nineteen second later, the peloton unhurriedly crossed the finish line. Stage 12 from Bra to Rivoli did not change the general classification at all. Leader Geraint Thomas was rather pleased to see his team mate Pavel Sivakov, who yesterday was a victim of a collective crash, take the peloton’s lead for 40 kilometres.

 After Wednesday’s stage, the participants still had a staggering 1.483,6 kilometres to dispute before finishing in Rome on May 28. Five of these stages will finish uphill. “Che la festa cominci.”

 General classification (top 10) after stage number 12:

1. Geraint Thomas (GBR) INEOS Grenadiers

2. Primož Roglič (SVN) Team Jumbo-Visma +2”

3. João Almeida(PRT) UAE Team Emirates +22”

4. Andreas Leknessund (NOR) Team DSM +35”

5. Damiano Caruso (ITA) Bahrain-Victorious +1’28”

6. Lennard Kämna (DEU) Bora-Hansgrohe +1’52”

7. Eddie Dunbar (IRL) Team Jayco AlUla +2’32”

8. Thymen Arensman (NLD) INEOS Grenadiers +2’32”

9. Laurens De Plus (BEL) INEOS Grenadiers +2’36”

10. Aurélien Paret-Peintre (FRA) AG2R Citroën Team +2’48”