Time bonuses on all road stages to return to the Giro d’Italia in 2013
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Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Time bonuses on all road stages to return to the Giro d’Italia in 2013

by Ben Atkins at 10:13 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Giro d'Italia
 
Seconds to be on offer on mountain stages once more, plus extra intermediate sprints

ryder hesjedalTime bonuses will return for all stages in the Giro d’Italia in 2013, with the exception of the individual and team time trials, race organiser RCS Sport has announced. Seconds were awarded at the finish of all but five of the road stages in the 2012 edition of the race, with the high mountain stages excluded; next year, even the mountaintop finishes will have 20, 12 and 8 seconds on offer to the first three finishers, which RCS Sport hopes will see the general classification riders fighting all the way to the line.

In addition the bonuses at all finish lines, intermediate sprints will also come with five, three and two seconds for the first three across the line. New for 2013 will be a second sprint on each stage, where there has only been one in recent years. This could potentially offer those riders chasing the red jersey an early chance to take the pink one, although the early team time trial, and early medium mountains, will likely see the sprinters quickly disappearing down the general classification.

The awarding of time bonuses at stage finishes, and the way that they can alter the general classification in a close race, is not popular with everybody. The 2011 Vuelta a España was won by Juan José Cobo by 13 seconds over Chris Froome, despite the British rider covering the course in a shorter time. Defenders of bonuses defended the result, which they said rewarded Cobo’s aggression.

Had time bonuses been available on all stages of the 2012 Giro, the final result could well have been different. Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Barracuda) beat Joaquim Rodríguez (Katusha) by just 13 seconds but, had there been seconds on the line in the mountains - and the results been the same - the Spanish rider would have won.

Rodríguez finished second on stage 15, first on stage 17, and third on stage 19; while Hesjedal finished third on stage 17, and second on stage 19. This would have given Rodríguez an extra 40 seconds, and Hesjedal only 20, meaning that Rodríguez would have won the race by seven seconds.

Also, had there been some seconds available on the line, Rodríguez may have tried harder to outsprint Farnese Vini-Selle Italia’s Matteo Rabottini at the finish on stage 15 to take and extra eight.

The Tour de France experimented with time bonuses on the first few stages only, which gave the sprinters a chance to take the yellow jersey from the prologue winner without actually affecting the overall result. They were later extended to all stages, before being abolished entirely for the 2008 race.

With the 2012 edition of the Giro finishing as one of the closest in history, RCS Sport clearly hopes that this latest decision will see the overall contenders fighting right to the line on every stage.

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