Wet and wild finish to stage 12 of Giro d'Italia

Thu 21 May 2015

Wet conditions shaped a hazardous day of racing for stage 12 of the Giro d’Italia, stage three winner Michael Matthews getting through unscathed to be with the front group on the short climb to the finish.

BMC Racing led a late catch of two escapees in the final kilometre to launch Phillippe Gilbert to victory, whilst Matthews lost contact in the final metres to roll across the line in 32nd place.

“It took 70km for the break to go today, it was incredible,” White said of the day’s racing. “There were very straight roads, not too much wind and attack after attack.”

“By the time the break went there were cross winds and it got really nervous, so we got on the front to chase straight away to make sure it didn’t blow out.

“Then the rain came and it stayed nervous all the way to the final.”

Earlier in the stage, 2014 Liege – Bastogne – Liege champion Simon Gerrans suffered from yet another fall that ruled him out of contention on a day he and his ORICA-GreenEDGE teammates had targeted. 

“It’s obviously really disappointing for Simon today,” White said. “There hasn’t been much time for medical staff to assess too deeply yet but the good news is that whilst it is sore it looks to be just some skin off.”

The 35-year-old will not line up tomorrow as a precautionary measure.

How it unfolded

It was a hard and fast start to the twelfth stage of the Giro d’Italia but after 70km of racing, the rare sight of a full peloton could still be seen as racing remained together. 

Eventually, after relentless attacking, five riders formed for a well-earned stint off the front.

But the group, including Patrick Gretsch (AG2R La Mondiale), Davide Appollonio (Androni Giocattoli - Sidermec), Enrico Barbin (Bardiani – CSF Pro Team), Kenny Elissonde (FDJ) and Nick Van der Lijke (LottoNL - Jumbo) weren’t given much hope, the chase of ORICA-GreenEDGE and Etixx-Quickstep ending their day ahead of the first classified climb.

The next move was a solo attempt by Louis Vervaeke (Lotto – Soudal) but race leaders Tinkoff – Saxo were on a mission too at the head of the peloton and brought it back together on the biggest climb of the day with 30km remaining.

Wet roads made for a very dangerous decent of the category three climb as may riders went off-road and crashed, including Gerrans, and the remaining peloton was split into pieces.

Another solo attack, this time by Franco Pellizotti saw the Androni Giocattoli - Sidermec rider enter the final ten kilmetres with 20seconds advantage.

Tanel Kangert (Astana Pro Team) joined Pellizotti but the pair was shut down in the final kilometre by BMC Racing to set up the Gilbert victory.

Tomorrow’s stage 13 is one of the shorter days of the three-week Tour and is pan flat. Having missed a rare opportunity for a bunch kick in recent days, no doubt the sprint teams will want to redeem themselves on one of the few remaining opportunities left for their fast men.