Mark Cavendish of HTC-Highroad became the first rider to win two stages in this year's Giro d'Italia as he just edged out Tea Sky's Davide Apollonio in a sprint finish in Ravenna, with Alessandro Petacchi of Lampre-ISG third. Riding at the head of the race, those riders were among a select group to avoid a big crash around 1.5km out in what was a technical closing few kilometres. With the crash happening inside the final 3km, all riders weree given the same finish time, meaning no change to the general classification, headed by Alberto Contador.
The crash appeared to be caused by an Acqua & Sapone rider running wide coming out of one of the bends in a twisting finale to the stage, a couple of riders going down behind him holding up the rest of the peloton on the narrow road, although thankfully no-one appeared to be badly hurt.
There had been crashes earlier in the stage too, one at 50km out involving yesterday’s stage winner in Castelfidardo, John Gadret of AG2R, whose team mates had to pace him back to the peloton.
Four riders had got away early on in today’s 184km run up the Adriatic coast from Castelfidardo to Ravenna, once capital of the Roman Empire, the escapees being Michal Golas of Vacansoleil, Davide Ricci Bitti from Farnese Vini-Neri Sottoli, Rabobank’s Stef Clement and Miguel Minguez of Euskaltel.
Today was the last chance for the sprinters to fight it out in this year’s race, with the likes of Cavendish leaving the Giro as the race heads into the Alps tomorrow, so there was no way that the quartet would be allowed to build too much of an advantage.
As a result, they were kept on a tight leash until finally being swept up with a little over 10km left to race as HTC-Highroad towed the peloton along, their position at the front of the race keeping them out of trouble and away from the crash, withl Mark Renshaw unleashing Cavendish a couple of hundred metres out to allow the Manxman to take what turned out to be a hard-fought win.
There’s now a big transfer in prospect for those riders continuing in the race tonight before tomorrow’s stage start in Spilimbergo, around 70km northeast of Venice, with the race heading into the Alps and across the Austrian border with a summit finish on the Grossglockner.
Giro d’Italia Stage 12 Result 1 CAVENDISH Mark HTC-Highroad 4:17:25 2 APPOLLONIO Davide Team Sky same time 3 PETACCHI Alessandro Lampre ISD “ 4 FERRARI Roberto Androni Giocattoli “ 5 CIOLEK Gerald Quickstep “ 6 SABATINI Fabio Liquigas-Cannondale “ 7 BELLETTI Manuel Colnago-CSF Inox “ 8 SELVAGGI Mirko Vacansoleil-DCM “ 9 RENSHAW Mark HTC-Highroad “ 10 CARDOSO Manuel RadioShack “ 11 RASMUSSEN Alex HTC-Highroad “ 12 VAN WINDEN Dennis Rabobank “ 13 BARRY Michael Team Sky “ 14 HONDO Danilo Lampre-ISD “ 15 RIGHI Daniele Lampre-ISD “ 16 MORKOV Michael Saxo Bank-SunGard “ 17 FRAPPORTI Marco Colnago-CSF Inox “ 18 MONTAGUTI Matteo AG2R “ 19 BEPPU Fumiyuki RadioShack “ 20 VISCONTI Giovanni Farnese Vini-Neri Sottoli “ Giro d’Italia Overall Standings after Stage 12 1 CONTADOR Alberto Saxo Bank-Sungard 40:37:51 2 SIVTSOV Kanstantsin HTC-Columbia at 0:59 3 NIBALI Vincenzo Liquigas-Cannondale 1:21 4 LE MEVEL Christophe Garmin-Cervelo 1:28 5 SCARPONI Michele Lampre-ISD 1:28 6 ARROYO David Movistar 1:37 7 KREUZIGER Roman Astana 1:41 8 SERPA Jose Androni-Giocattoli 1:47 9 CATALDO Dario Quickstep 2:21 10 CARRARA Matteo Vacansoleil-DCM 2:21
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.