Greipel claims his third stage win in Giro d’Italia 2016

André Greipel sprinted to his third victory of this Giro d’Italia on the pan-flat stage 12, benefitting from the work of his Lotto Soudal teammates before out-sprinting Caleb Ewan (Orica-GreenEdge) and Giacomo Nizzolo (Trek-Segafredo).

A wet and overcast morning welcomed the riders to the start of stage twelve in Noale near Venice with a pan flat 182kilometres ahead. The race began uneventfully with large crowds turning out to wave off the riders despite the unpleasant weather conditions.

Attacks began to fly as soon as the flag dropped to signal the end of the neutral zone but nothing actually broke away until Daniel Oss (Trek-Segafredo) escaped alone.  After 20kilometres of racing Oss had nearly three minutes on the peloton with two riders in no-mans land trying to bridge across.

Mirco Maestri (Bardiani-CSF) managed to make the jump across to Oss and the pair pushed out their lead to four minutes with around 40kilometres covered. The peloton appeared to be content to allow the duo up the road the space to develop their lead and duly sat up from their initial chase.

Indeed that was the case but only for the next ten kilometres as the Lotto-Soudal led peloton began to increase their speed yet again and halved the advantage of the two leaders back down to two minutes.

The two-minute gap between the leading duo and the peloton seemed fixed for the next 50kilometres as the race traversed the bland, monotonous countryside of the Po valley. Flat, windy and wet it was certainly not a day for picturesque and dramatic landscapes.

With 65kilometres remaining the two leaders were still out front but now their lead was beginning to fall under the two minute mark, not surprising considering Oss and Maestri had been up there alone in foul conditions for the best part of 110kilometres.

As the race neared the finish town of Bibione the rain started to ease off with 40kilometres to go the two leaders had a slim advantage of 40seconds on the peloton. The finish was comprised of two eight-kilometre circuits of central Bibione with a technical non-linear course that included sixteen tight corners before the line.

Due in part to the earlier rain and also the potential for crashes on the tight and complicated finishing circuit the race judges announced that general classification times for the stage would be taken from the first passage of the finish line. This meant that there would be no available time bonuses over the two closing laps.

Movistar, Etixx-Quickstep and Lotto-Soudal were the three teams leading the chase for the peloton going into the last 30kilometres. Time was now up for Oss and Maestri who were caught with 22kilometres to go.

A crash occurred towards the back of the group leaving around twenty-five riders racing towards the finishing straight. Luka Mezgec was fighting for space with Caleb Ewan alongside all the way into the final kilometre. The Slovenian pulled off with 350metres to go leaving Ewan in a great position to fight it out with Greipel.

The Lotto-Soudal rider had the edge in the finale using his size and experience to limit Ewan’s opportunity with the young Australian almost getting around him in the last 100metres before Greipel gained a bike length and held on for the line.

Stage thirteen takes place tomorrow and covers 170kilometres from Palmanova to Cividale del Friuli and is a full on mountain stage. After an initial flat run of 45kilometres the route then covers four consecutive categorised climbs followed by technical descents and undulating rolling roads to the finish.

Giro d’Italia 2016 – stage 12 results (Noale – Bibione):

1 André Greipel (Lotto Soudal)

4:16:00

2 Caleb Ewan (Orica-GreenEdge)

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3 Giacomo Nizzolo (Trek-Segafredo)

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4 Sacha Modolo (Lampre – Merida)

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5 Alexander Porsev (Katusha)

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6 Moreno Hofland (LottoNl-Jumbo)

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7 Ivan Savitskiy (Gazprom-Rusvelo)

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8 Heinrich Haussler (IAM)

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9 Rick Zabel (BMC)

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10 Sonny Colbrelli (Bardiani CSF)

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General classification after stage 12:

1 Bob Jungels (Etixx – Quick-Step)

49:32:20

2 Andrey Amador (Movistar)

+24”

3 Alejandro Valverde (Movistar)

+01’07”

4 Steven Kruijswijk (LottoNl-Jumbo)

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5 Vincenzo Nibali (Astana)

+01’09”

6 Rafal Majka (Tinkoff)

+02’01”

7 Ilnur Zakarin (Katusha)

+02’25”

8 Esteban Chaves (Orica-GreenEdge)

+02’43”

9 Gianluca Brambilla (Etixx – Quick-Step)

+02’45”

10 Diego Ulissi (Lampre – Merida)

+02’47”

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andre greipel Caleb ewan corsa rosa Giacomo Nizzolo Giro d'Italia lotto soudal stage 12 tour of italy

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