Another stage for the sprinters, another stage with a late hill which was part of a previous world championships circuit. Today is also a relative rest day for the overall contenders ahead of this weekend’s mountain showdown.
Stage 12 review: the late climb of Tre Monti has just the desired effect, albeit with an added downpour, gusting winds and a sudden drop in temperatures which made the finish of what was otherwise a straightforward stage even harder. Tim Wellens again stirred up the race and in the final Matej Mohorič and Carlos Betancur were caught just before the line by Sam Bennett who surged out of what was left of the pack to win. It was a sprint, just, rather than a late attack and it worked well given nobody else had team mates or help to close him down. Elia Viviani still leads the points competition but is on 184 points to Bennett on 162 and the competition has come alive.
The Route: 180km north and a route so flat the race struggles to climb beyond 20m above sea level for ages, railway bridges become climbs before the race reaches Nervesa della Battaglia and a circuit, the same used for the 1985 World Championships. The joke goes that Joop Zoetemelk was so pale after finishing second in the 1970 Tour de France because he’d spent the month in Eddy Merckx’s shadow. 15 years later he won on this circuit aged 38. It’s a steady ascent through the vineyards and up to La Dorsale, the backbone-like ridge across the Montello, a popular local climb and the mountains point with 19km to go and a gentle descent but a road where you rarely see ahead more than a couple of hundred metres as it bends down through woodland.
The Finish: a fast and flat finish into town with a roundabout at 600m to go that’s not in the roadbook which either means the local authorities have removed it and the accompanying diving islands before and after for the Giro… or it’s there and an added danger. It’s followed by a narrow river bridge, nothing drastic but just a moment where there’s no room on either side of the road in case of emergency. Otherwise it’s a straightforward run to the line.
The Contenders: Elia Viviani needs the win today. He was dropped yesterday, a jours sans or a problem? If not then the late climb and the bunch sprint is no problem for Sam Bennett. As usual Sacha Modolo and Niccolò Bonifazio are the alternative picks and there’s a chance of a late breakaway although today’s descent is faster and better for the chasing pack so if they’re to stay away they’ve got to have a big engine nor have a sprinter left, think Tony Martin or Mads Pedersen.
|Sam Bennett, Elia Viviani|
|Bonifazio, van Poppel|
Weather: cloudy and a good chance of rain showers, 21°C if the sun pokes out.
TV: Host broadcaster RAI offers the best coverage, Eurosport has the rights for many countries across Europe and Australia and it’s streamed via Fubo in the US and Dazn in Japan. The finish is forecast for 5.15pm.