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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Friday, May 24, 2019

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2018 Tour de France | 2018 Giro d'Italia

Let us dedicate ourselves to what the Greeks wrote so many years ago: to tame the savageness of man and make gentle the life of this world. - Robert Kennedy

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Giro d'Italia stage 12 team reports

We posted the organizer's and stage winner Cesare Benedetti's Bora-hansgrohe team's reports with the results

New GC leader Jan Polanc's UAE-Team Emirates sent me this:

After an exhilarating stage in the mountains, the first of this year’s Giro, Jan Polanc has risen up the GC rankings to take the pink jersey from team mate Valerio Conti, ensuring that UAE Team Emirates retains the iconic Maglia Rosa and takes it into the later half of the tour.

Jan Polanc

Jan Polanc will start stage 13 in pink. Sirotti photo

Polanc crossed the line in 6th place behind stage winner Cearse Benedetti (BORA – Hansgrohe), but the impressive team performance of the Emirati outift allowed the Slovenian climber to leap frog his closest rivals into the top spot. After the tactical masterclass played by UAE Team Emirates, Polanc now has a comfortable buffer of 4’07” over race favourite Primoz Roglic (Jumbo Visma) who sits in second spot and is 4’51” ahead of team mate Valerio Conti (UAE Team Emirates) who sits in third place.

The 158km mountain stage from Cuneo to Pinerolo was raced at a high pace, averaging over 42km/h, despite the peloton having to get over a challenging category 1 climb known as the ‘Muro’ or wall. The 9km ramp, which topped out at 14% played an instrumental role in splitting up the peloton and isolating a lot of the main GC contenders – making it difficult for them to chase down the 24 man breakaway. Jan Polanc was one of the GC hopefuls who managed to sneak into the early break and stayed with the group throughout the race. With 20kms to go the lead group was down to a handful of riders but Polanc remained in the mix and looked strong, driven on with the knowledge that he was the virtual Maglia Rosa. Polanc continued to ride hard, picking up 3 valuable bonus seconds at the intermediate sprint in Cavour and finally crossed the line in 6th place after over 3 hours and 42 minutes in the saddle.

Commenting on his first win of the season, Polanc said: “It was a great stage today and I achieved my goal. I was aiming for the stage win also, but the others knew I could take the jersey so I had to work extra hard. Myself and Valerio are similar riders and now after two stage wins in previous Giros I get to wear the pink jersey. It’s an absolute dream come true for me so I’ll fight to keep it as long as possible.”

Commenting on the race, Conti said: “Everything went as planned today. Tactically it was perfect. I think we took everyone by surprise. As for me, I had a wonderful week with some amazing days in pink. I think today I showed I’m a team player and I’m delighted for Polanc because he’s done a lot of work for me in the past week. I’m happy I lost the jersey to him – he deserves it.”

Tomorrow’s 196km stage from Pinerolo to Ceresole Reale showcases the first summit finale of the Giro and challenges the peloton with two categorised climbs before they hit the finish line, which sits at 2247m above sea level.

Third-place Eddie Dunbar's Team INEOS posted this report:

Eddie Dunbar rode to an impressive third place on stage 12 at the Giro d'Italia as the race hit the mountains for the first time.

In a blanket finish, the Irishman was just pipped by winner Cesare Benedetti (Bora-hansgrohe) and Damiano Caruso (Bahrain Merida) after spending the entire stage in the break.

Cesare Benedetti

Eddie Dunbar (right) finished third behind Cesare Benedetti and Damiano Caruso. Sirotti photo

Clearly one of the strongest on both of the day’s key climbs, Dunbar - racing in his first Grand Tour - impressed, and is sure to be back for more in the final 10 days of this race.

The Irishman looked to have played the finale perfectly, entering the final kilometre in third wheel behind Gianluca Brambilla (Trek-Segafredo) and Eros Capecchi (Deceuninck - Quick-Step) but Caruso and Benedetti caught the trio just as the sprint began to unfold and proved too strong.

It was an encouraging day for Team INEOS with Christian Knees key in helping Dunbar in the 25-man break ahead of the first category ascent to Montoso, while Pavel Sivakov enjoyed an impressive first day in the mountains, mixing it with the race’s key GC contenders to move up into the top 20 overall and third in the young rider competition.

Eddie Dunbar: “I’m a bit disappointed really. I felt like I was one of the strongest there. Not one of the quickest but certainly one of the strongest. I gambled in the finish, with Brambilla and Capecchi there. As they were Italian I thought they would be a bit keener to get to the finish so I gambled on that, but then we got caught by the two guys behind. That’s bike racing. You live and learn.

“Going into the final climb I didn’t feel super and was worried about what gear I was going to pick. I thought if I started at the back I’d be able to see who was strong. Normally guys, when they feel it on a climb like that, they ease back quickly, so I waited, took in who was strong and thought if I could get to the top two I’d have a chance. I did that, but just came up short.

“In the end it was who could push the biggest gear. The other guys probably have that experience on me and extra bit of endurance, but it’s a start for me.”

And here's the update from GC second-place Primoz Roglic's Jumbo-Visma team:

Primoz Roglic has finished the first mountain stage in the Giro d’Italia without problems. The leader of Team Jumbo-Visma finished the twelfth stage between the other GC favourites at just over eight minutes from stage winner Benedetti, who was part of a large leading group. Roglic retained his second place overall. He is now four minutes behind the new overall leader Jan Polanc.

Primoz roglic

Primoz Roglic heads to the start of stage 11. Sirotti photo.

A leading group of 25 riders animated the stage to Pinerolo. They were given a maximum of fifteen minutes before Team Jumbo-Visma took the lead to control the breakaway. There were multiple attacks on the first category climb, but Roglic didn’t face any problems.

“Today was a good day for me and the team”, Roglic said. “After a few relatively quiet days I had to get used to this type of racing again. The Giro is still long; there are still a lot of tough days to come. The team did a great job today and we are looking forward to the next days.”

“Today was okay for us. Primoz finished the stage without problems", Addy Engels explained. “He could easily maintain himself among the others on the climb and finished the stage in an elite group. Beforehand you know that Lopez and Landa are going to attack. Primoz did well not to worry about that. In the end, the difference was only half a minute. The team took the initiative towards the climb, and Antwan, Koen and Sepp were also not far behind after the ascent. These are good signals towards the next stages.”

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