Di Luca fights to limit losses, Leipheimer finishes 2nd, Rogers the big loser

Denis Menchov (Rabobank) stormed to a superb win taking 1:34:29 to complete a very hard 60Km individual time trial today at the Giro d'Italia. Danilo Di Luca who had held the maglia rosa for much of the race finished in 6h place but also put in a brave display to limit his losses.

Di Luca now lies in 2nd place overall 34 seconds back on Menchov and still very much in contention. Di Luca was always down on Menchov and at one point looked to be struggling but from the mid-point on he really poured it on to claw back time in a monumental effort. He almost had a moment though when a tifosi stupidly tried to grab his arm as he rode past. The incident may even have helped a visibly angered Di Luca who seemed to channel it into his ride. The big loser on the day was Michael Rogers (Columbia Highroad) who finished 2:46 down and dropped from 3rd to 6th in the general classification.

Levi Leipheimer put in a superb performance to finish in second place 20 seconds down on Menchov and his young Astana teammate Janez Braikovic also had an impressive day to finish in fourth. Sandwiched between them was Stefano Garzelli (Aqua & Sapone) who finished 1:03 back from Menchov – Garzelli who won the Giro back in 2000 also had a big day on Tuesday in Stage 10 when he took the lead in the mountains classification.

Franco Pellizotti (Liquigas) was another rider to impress he finished in fifth and further underlined that he is the main contender on his team rather than compatriot Ivan Basso who finished just outside the Top 10 in 11th place, but holds on to 7th on the GC. Pellizotti moves up one place from fifth to fourth overall.

Of the other contenders Carlos Sastre who rode with a hybrid road/time trial bar from 3T looked to be struggling during the middle section of his ride, but he got things back together to finish strongly in 12th place 2:26 back and he moves up to fifth place, like Pellizotti, at Rogers' expense.

Bradley Wiggins was one of the surprise packets of the day, the Briton has had a good Giro so far and today finished in 7th place, at one point he lead and while he can be considered a time trial specialist his forte is usually considered to be much shorter prologue courses.

For the second day in a row Lance Armstrong showed that there is still considerable life left in the old dog yet, finishing in 13th on the stage and moving up the general classification to 12th.

Top 10 Giro d'Italia Stage 12

1) Denis Menchov (Rabobank) 1.34.29
2) Levi Leipheimer (Astana) 0.20
3) Stefano Garzelli (Acqua & Sapone - Caffe Mokambo) 1.03
4) Janez Brajkovic (Astana) 1.14
5) Franco Pellizotti (Liquigas) 1.27
6) Danilo Di Luca (LPR Brakes - Farnese Vini) 1.57
7) Bradley Wiggins (Garmin - Slipstream) 1.59
8) Gabriele Bosisio (LPR Brakes - Farnese Vini) 2.04
9) Jose Serpa (Serramenti PVC Diquigiovanni-Androni Giocattoli) 2.13
10) Marzio Bruseghin (Lampre - N.G.C.) 2.17

Giro Stage 12: Selected other results
13) Lance Armstrong (USA) Astana 2:26
31) David Millar (GBr) Garmin - Slipstream 5:17
34) Christopher Froome (GBr) Barloworld 5:36
83) Charles Wegelius (GBr) Silence-Lotto 9:18
121) Daniel Lloyd (GBr) Cervelo Test Team 10:43
146) Ian Stannard (GBr) ISD 11:46
154) Jeremy Hunt (GBr) Cervelo Test Team 12:11
158) Ben Swift (GBr) Team Katusha 12:27
171) Mark Cavendish (GBr) Team Columbia - Highroad 13:31
Top 10 on Giro general classification after stage 12
1) Denis Menchov (Rabobank) 50.27.17
2) Danilo Di Luca (LPR Brakes - Farnese Vini) 0.34
30 Levi Leipheimer (Astana) 0.40
4) Franco Pellizotti (Liquigas) 2.00
5) Carlos Sastre (Cervelo Test Team) 2.52
6) Michael Rogers (Team Columbia - Highroad) 2.58
7) Ivan Basso (Liquigas) 3.00
8) Gilberto Simoni (Serramenti PVC Diquigiovanni-Androni Giocattoli) 4.38
9) Marzio Bruseghin (Lampre - N.G.C.)                                             5.26
10) Thomas Lövkvist (Team Columbia - Highroad)                                         5.53 

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