Giro d’Italia: Pozzato wins in yet another bizarre stage finish
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Thursday, May 20, 2010

Giro d’Italia: Pozzato wins in yet another bizarre stage finish

by Ben Atkins at 11:35 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Giro d'Italia, Race Reports and Results
 
Favourites reassert themselves on what should be a day for the sprinters

Filippo Pozzato

Filippo Pozzato (Katusha) won the twelfth stage of the Giro d’Italia between Città Sant’Angelo and Porto Recanati. The Italian champion outsprinted a small group of riders consisting almost entirely of the race’s big overall favourites as they sought to reassert themselves after yesterday’s big time losses. Thomas Voeckler (Bbox Bouyges Telecom) was second, with stage 5 winner Jérôme Pineau (Quick Step) third.

In any other race, the 206km stage along the Adriatic coast would have followed the normal pattern of a breakaway hauled in before the end, followed by a mad dash by the sprinters. This Giro d’Italia though, refuses to perform to type.

With the weather improved once more, the stage began quite normally enough as Rabobank’s Rick Flens got away in the early stages. He built up a good lead on his own but was chased down and joined by Yuriy Krivstov (AG2R-La Mondiale) and Olivier Kaisen (OmegaPharma-Lotto). After 50km the trio led the Garmin-Transitions and HTC-Columbia led peloton by 6’12”.

After another 40km the lead still stood at 5’50” with the whole race taking it easy after yesterday’s events. The stage was to continue in this relaxed way as Flens took the Traguardo Volante sprint in Monte San Giusto with 72.9km to go 4’51” ahead. With Garmin-Transitions on the front of the peloton, the lead was falling slowly but steadily and was down to 3’17” at the top of the Macerata climb with 55km to go.

As the breakaway trio crossed the finish line to enter the 25km finishing circuit the lead had been reduced to 1’37”, and as the peloton accelerated it was reduced to just 35 seconds with 20km to go.

As could have been predicted, the three riders were finally reeled in on the 3rd category Potenza Picena climb with 11.7km to go. It was also predictable that a number of riders would use the climb as a springboard for a potentially stage-winning counterattack; the names of the attacking riders were less predictable.

Krivstov dropped Flens and Kaisen but was soon caught and passed by Francesco Failli (Acqua & Sapone); he was quickly joined by Voeckler, Marco Pinotti (HTC-Columbia) and Alessandro Bisolti (Colnago-CSF Inox). Suddenly though, a mass attack came from almost all of the overall contenders that lost time yesterday, they joined the front riders and crossed the top of the climb ahead.

The race took an extraordinary turn once again as there was now an escape group consisting of: Alexandre Vinokourov (Astana), Stefano Garzelli (Acqua & Sapone), Ivan Basso and Vincenzo Nibali (both Liquigas), Michele Scarponi (Androni Giocattoli), Damiano Cunego (Lampre-Farnese Vini), Pinotti, Pozzato, Voeckler and Pineau. All ten riders helped to make the pace as the peloton struggled to organise behind them.

The lead rose to just over 20 seconds as all the teams that had missed out found their efforts to chase disrupted by riders from Katusha, Liquigas-Doimo and Lampre-Farnese Vini. Cadel Evans (BMC Racing), one of the top riders to have missed the move, once again found himself leading the chase. The World champion almost came to blows with Daniele Righi (Lampre-Farnese Vini) and a rider from Katusha as they infiltrated the front of the peloton.

As the peloton chase was being frustrated, David Millar (Garmin-Transitions) made an attempt to get teammate Svein Tuft across, but the attempt was unsuccessful. The lead of the front group began to fall, but the twists and turns of the closing kilometres into town were far better suited to a small group than a large peloton and they still held more than 10 seconds as they approached the final kilometre.

Vinokourov and Nibali pulled away from the front of the group but the move was made just too soon and they were caught by the other eight riders as they approached the line. Pozzato launched his sprint early and Voeckler almost came past him on the line, but he held on to take Italy’s first stage of this year’s race.

Robbie McEwen led the peloton home just 10 seconds behind them, so time gains were minimal, especially with all of the overall contenders missing out on the bonus seconds. Richie Porte (Saxo Bank) retains his hold on the pink jersey, but with this act of defiance the riders he usurped in yesterday’s incredible stage have made their intentions clear.

Result stage 12
1. Filippo Pozzato (Ita) Katusha
2. Thomas Voeckler (Fra) Bbox Bouyges Telecom
3. Jérôme Pineau (Fra) Quick Step
4. Stefano Garzelli (Ita) Acqua & Sapone
5. Alexandre Vinokourov (Kaz) Team Astana
6. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas-Doimo
7. Marco Pinotti (Ita) HTC-Columbia
8. Michele Scarponi (Ita) Androni Giocattoli-Serramenti PVC Diquigiovanni
9. Damiano Cunego (Ita) Lampre-Farnese Vini
10. Ivan Basso (Ita) Liquigas-Doimo

Standings after stage 12
1. Richie Porte (Aus) Saxo Bank
2. David Arroyo (Spa) Caisse d’Epargne @ 1’42”
3. Robert Kiserlovski (Cro) Liquigas-Doimo @ 1’56”
4. Xavier Tondo (Spa) Cervélo TestTeam @ 3’54”
5. Valerio Agnoli (Ita) Liquigas-Doimo @ 4”41”

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