Andrea Vendrame’s persistence finally pays off as he breaks Giro duck

Italian comes home to win the 12th stage as Egan Bernal hold on to race lead

 Italian rider Andrea Vendrame  of the AG2R Citroen Team celebrates while crossing the finish line to win the 12th stage of the  Giro d’Italia from Siena to Bagno di Romagna. Photograph: Luca Zennaro/EPA

Italian rider Andrea Vendrame of the AG2R Citroen Team celebrates while crossing the finish line to win the 12th stage of the Giro d’Italia from Siena to Bagno di Romagna. Photograph: Luca Zennaro/EPA

 

Having tried repeatedly to win a stage in the three previous editions of the race, Andrea Vendrame (Ag2r Citroën) finally succeeded in his fourth Giro d’Italia on Thursday, racing to victory in his home tour.

The Italian outsprinted Chris Hamilton (Team DSM) to the line in Bagno di Romagna, with two other riders from the day’s large breakaway, George Bennett (Team Jumbo Visma) and Gianluca Brambilla (Trek-Segafredo), squabbling between themselves over who should close the gap and ending up third and fourth.

The 212-kilometre stage was one of the most undulating of this year’s Giro yet ended up being one without any major gaps among the big names. Past Giro champion and 2014 Tour de France winner Vincenzo Nibali (Trek-Segafredo) did steal a march on the final descent, clipping away and gaining seven seconds, but he had started the stage over four minutes behind race leader Egan Bernal and was no immediate threat.

Bernal’s Ineos Grenadiers team controlled things throughout the stage for Bernal and neutralised all dangerous moves, including a last-climb effort by Giulio Ciccone (Trek-Segafredo), eighth overall starting the stage. He forged clear with team-mate Nibali but they were reeled in, with the latter then making his solo move. That was initially chased by Bernal’s team-mate Gianni Moscon, who fell on the descent but was able to finish the stage.

Less fortunate were Marc Soler (Movistar) and Alessandro Di Marchi (Israel Start Up Nation), who both crashed early on and left the race. Di Marchi led the Giro for two days last week, but was no longer an overall contender. The same wasn’t true of Soler, who had started the day 11th overall, just over three minutes back. His withdrawal saw Ireland’s Dan Martin (Israel Start Up Nation) move up one place to 17th overall in the general classification.

Martin rolled in 45th on Thursday as part of the Bernal group. He remains over seven minutes back after losing considerable time on Wednesday’s stage and will look for opportunities in the coming days to chase a stage win. Ditto for Nicolas Roche (Team DSM), who tried to be part of the breakaway on Thursday but ultimately missed out on the successful move.

Their stage-winning attempts will have to wait until after Friday’s 13th leg to Verona, however: it is pan flat and almost certain to come down to a bunch sprint.

Still, Bernal said that he and his team need to be wary. “Sometimes these kind of stages are difficult. We need to be focused, this a Grand Tour and for the GC guys, there is no easy day. We need to go full [gas] every day. We need to be really focused.”

Giro d’Italia

Stage 12, Siena to Bagno di Romagna: 1 Andrea Vendrame (AG2R Citroën Team) 212 kilometres in 5 hours 43 mins 48 secs, 2 C Hamilton (Team DSM) same time, 3 G Bennett (Jumbo-Visma) at 15 secs, 4 G Brambilla (Trek-Segafredo) same time, 5 G Visconti (Bardiani CSF Faizanè) at 1 min 12 secs, 6 G Bouchard (AG2R Citroën Team) at 1 min 25 secs.

Irish: 45 D Martin (Israel Start Up Nation) at 10 mins 14 seconds; 69 N Roche (Team DSM) at 15 mins 28 secs

General classification after stage 12: 1 Egan Bernal (Ineos Grenadiers) 48 hours 29 mins 23 secs, 2 A Vlasov (Astana-Premier Tech) at 45 secs, 3 D Caruso (Bahrain Victorious) at 1 min mins 12 secs, 4 H Carthy (EF Education-Nippo) at 1 min 17 secs, 5 S Yates (Team BikeExchange) at 1 min 22 secs, 6 E Buchmann (Bora-Hansgrohe) at 1 min 50 secs.

Irish: 17 D Martin at 7 mins 6 secs; 62 N Roche @ 1:02.21

Points classification: 1 Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) 108, 2 F Gaviria Rendon (UAE Team Emirates) 91, 3 D Cimolai (Israel Start-up Nation) 91

Mountains classification: 1 Geoffrey Bouchard (AG2R Citroën Team) 96, 2 E Bernal Gomez (Ineos Grenadiers) 48, 3 D De Bondt (Alpecin-Fenix) 24

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