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Stefano Oldani wins the first professional win of his career
Juan Pedro López keeps hold of his leader's maglia rosa
Démare keeps points jersey, Rosa on top in mountains
Stefano Oldani landed the first win of his career on Thursday after the Alpecin-Fenix rider won a sprint finish at the end of the longest stage of the race, the 204 kilometre hike from Parma to Genoa.
Following a frenetic start, Oldani and team-mates Oscar Riesebeek and Mathieu van der Poel got into the day's 25-man breakaway, the stage winner benefiting from being able to play the numbers game.
The breakaway splintered on La Colletta, the penultimate climb of the day, following an attack from Lorenzo Rota (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux), though with all eyes on pre-stage favourite Van der Poel, Oldani was able to bridge over to fellow Italian almost unnoticed, taking with him just Gijs Leemreize (Jumbo-Visma).
Having gained an advantage of around one minute on a four-man chasing group of Santiago Buitrago (Bahrain Victorious), Lucas Hamilton (BikeExchange-Jayco), Wilco Kelderman (Bora-Hansgrohe), Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo), the trio worked well together before going all the way to the finishing line in Genoa.
With the sum total of zero professional wins between the three riders few knew what to expect in the home straight, before Dutchman Leemreize opened up the sprint from some distance out. Oldani responded and managed to hold off a surging Rota to win the stage by half a bike length to make it two wins in a row for Italian riders following Alberto Dainese's sprint victory on Wednesday.
“I knew I was fast but it wasn't easy,” Oldani said. “Lorenzo Rota who is my friend is fast as well. So I watched out. The presence of Mathieu van der Poel has been crucial for me to make the three-man final breakaway. It's hard to believe that my first pro victory arrives at the Giro d'Italia. It's wonderful.
“Our plan was to not make the same mistake as in Naples when Mathieu was alone at the front. At the end of the day, we were the only team with three riders in the lead group. Obviously, I was working for Mathieu, bringing him bottles and gels. I accompanied the move and we got a gap, then it went as it went. Had we remained [in the break] together, a lot of riders would have watched Mathieu.
“He hugged me strongly after the race. It’s fantastic to learn from a great champion like him. Winning here confirms that Milan-Sanremo is a race I can win in the future with getting stronger because I can hold on quite well on the climbs. It’s definitely the race of my dreams.”
Juan Pedro López (Trek-Segafredo) finished safely in the peloton 9min 8sec back, the Spaniard retaining the pink jersey which he will wear for a ninth successive day on Friday as overall leader.
The Giro d'Italia continues on Friday with the 150km 13th stage from Sanremo to Cuneo and concludes in Verona on May 29.
Giro d'Italia stage 12: As it happened . . .
López keeps hold of pink
Juan Pedro López (Trek-Segafredo) finished 9min 8sec behind Stefano Oldani, but on the same time as all of the overall contenders and so will wear the leader's pink jersey for a ninth successive day on Friday. Wilco Kelderman (Bora-Hansgrohe), who started the race almost two weeks ago with general classification ambitions, gained slightly over eight minutes, but failed to break into the top 10 after finishing the stage in sixth place behind Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo) and Santiago Buitrago (Bahrain Victorious).
Having finished the stage well ahead of schedule, López said he was keen on keeping the pink jersey for as long as possible. "It's been a crazily fast first hour," he said. "I was watching my computer and I couldn't believe it. Was it 53km, 54 in one hour? Luckily the weather conditions are my favourites, like at my home in south of Spain. Nine days in the maglia rosa is a lot! But I wouldn't mind some more."
Oldani wins stage 12 at the Giro d'Italia!
Stefano Oldani (Alpecin-Fenix) lands the first professional win of his career! It was cat-and-mouse stuff, as you would expect, as the trio neared the finishing line with each rider eyeing the other before somebody showed their hand. Dutchman Gijs Leemreize (Jumbo-Visma) was the first to make his move, opening up the sprint from some distance out, before Oldani of Italy responded. Lorenzo Rota (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux), who had sat on Oldani's wheel, appeared best placed but was unable to match his compatriot who in the end won the stage by half a bike length.
After becoming the second Italian to prevail in as many days after Alberto Dainese's win on Wednesday, Oldani said: "I knew I was fast but it wasn't easy. Lorenzo Rota who is my friend is fast as well. So I watched out. The presence of Mathieu van der Poel has been crucial for me to make the three-man final breakaway. It's hard to believe that my first pro victory arrives at the Giro d'Italia. It's wonderful!"
— pro cycling trumps (@procycletrumps) May 19, 2022
1.5km to go
Stefano Oldani rolls of the front, then everybody sits up, each tightening his shoes. Biggest moment of their careers incoming.
2.5km to go
Barring some sort of disaster, Gijs Leemreize, Stefano Oldani and Lorenzo Rota will not be getting caught here today. In fact, the trio has increased its lead a shade to 50sec on the chasing quartet.
4km to go
Surely we are going to see a new face on the winners' podium today. Gijs Leemreize, Stefano Oldani and Lorenzo Rota are holding this lead – 40sec now – as they approach the finale (see below for its profile) to the longest, and possibly fastest, stage at this year's Giro.
7km to go
As it stands, Wilco Kelderman is gaining eight minutes on general classification, so a good day at the office for the Dutchman. But can he win the stage? Looking unlikely – he still trails, along with Santiago Buitrago, Lucas Hamilton and Bauke Mollema, by 42sec.
9km to go
Over the brand new San Giorgio bridge and towards the centre of Genoa go stage leaders Gijs Leemreize, Stefano Oldani and Lorenzo Rota. They are holding on to an advantage of 42sec, but it is dropping ever so slightly as each kilometre clicks on by.
11km to go
Stefano Oldani, whose heart is currently pumping at 182bpm, takes over on the front of the leading trio. The chasers have made no inroads into their advantage over the last couple of kilometres.
13km to go
Trek-Segafredo pull race leader Juan Pedro López below the 20km to go banner, while the stage leaders' advantage over Santiago Buitrago, Lucas Hamilton, Bauke Mollema and Wilco Kelderman has dropped slightly to 53sec. Is the leading trio tiring, or possibly holding a little back in the tank ahead of what, I suspect, will be a very tense finale?
15km to go
Though not classified, the leading trio of Gijs Leemreize, Stefano Oldani and Lorenzo Rota is onto another short climb. But that has not hampered their progress, with their lead now touching the minute-mark on the chasing quartet.
16km to go
Entering the outskirts of the industrial looking part of Genoa, Santiago Buitrago, Lucas Hamilton, Bauke Mollema and Wilco Kelderman are still chasing, but perhaps a little half-heartedly. I'm sure Kelderman will be conscious of the gains he can make in the general classification so sure he is not glass cranking it this afternoon. Not that I'm suggesting the others are.
17.5km to go
Gijs Leemreize, Stefano Oldani and Lorenzo Rota have gained a few more sends, the trio riding through-and-off knowing a grand tour stage is up for grabs as they fly along at a fair old lick. None of these has a single race win to their name, so this could be a career-changing afternoon for one of these young men.
22km to go
Onto the flat now, Lorenzo Rota, Stefano Oldani and Gijs Leemreize push on towards Genoa and have gained a few second on the chasing quartet. No updates on Mathieu van der Poel. The peloton is almost 8min down on the leaders, meaning Wilco Kelderman – in the chasing group at 44sec – is gaining a big chunk of time on general classification, but not enough to break into the top 10. Not as it stands, anyway.
25km to go
No change at the front of the race, Lorenzo Rota, Stefano Oldani and Gijs Leemreize still lead by 37sec having navigated their way down the trickiest part of the descent. But there is still some more downhill racing to come.
30km to go
Over the top goes Lorenzo Rota, followed by Stefano Oldani and Gijs Leemreize with all three earning points in the mountains classification, as did Bauke Mollema who was fourth over the line, but none of these riders are concerned with that right now. Mollema, Santiago Buitrago, Lucas Hamilton and Wilco Kelderman, by the way, trail by 37sec going into a twisty descent. Thankfully the road has been resurfaced, so hopefully everybody can get down safely.
31.5km to go
Gijs Leemreize (Jumbo-Visma), Stefano Oldani (Alpecin-Fenix) and Lorenzo Rota (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux) inch their way towards the summit of this horrible climb towards the end of the longest stage in this year's race, while a quartet of Santiago Buitrago (Bahrain Victorious), Lucas Hamilton (BikeExchange-Jayco), Wilco Kelderman (Bora-Hansgrohe), Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo) chase at 50sec. Nico Denz (DSM) was in that small group of chasers, but unsurprisingly the rider who is more suited to the sprints was dropped a couple of minutes back.
32.5km to go
Santiago Buitrago (Bahrain Victorious), the Colombian climber, has rolled off the front of what was the day's breakaway. Meanwhile, Oscar Riesebeek appears to have blown up and Mathieu van der Poel may be paying the price for his exertions during Tuesday's stage as he's lost contact on this punishing, wall of a climb.
34km to go
Oscar Riesebeek is clearly on a good day. He bridged over to Davide Ballerini before dropping the Quick Step-Alpha Vinyl rider like a stone now they are on the Valico di Trensasco, the final climb of the day which peaks out at 14%.
35km to go
Oscar Riesebeek (Alpecin-Fenix) is attacking, attempting to bridge over to his team-mate. This is a very strange tactic, and not one we are used to seeing in the grand tours.
36km to go
Forgive me, I had missed it somehow, but Davide Ballerini is trapped in no man's land between stage leaders Gijs Leemreize, Stefano Oldani and Lorenzo Rota and the chasing group. Michael Schwarzmann (Lotto-Soudal) is the next to chance his arm and see if he can get over, but he may have left it too late.
37km to go
Magnus Cort clips off the front of the chasing group, but the move is ultimately futile. There seems to be quite a bit of indecision within this group, which will play right into the hands of stage leaders Gijs Leemreize, Stefano Oldani and Lorenzo Rota whose advantage has grown out a little to 46sec.
40km to go
Gijs Leemreize, Stefano Oldani and Lorenzo Rota lead the chasing group by 40sec, with the peloton which contains all of the general classification contenders, another 4min 40se down the road.
45km to go
Davide Ballerini and Mathieu van der Poel were soon caught on the fast-looking descent, while up the road Gijs Leemreize, Stefano Oldani and Lorenzo Rota are working well together to hold their lead of around 25sec. This is the perfect situation for Alpecin-Fenix who have a man in the lead group (Oldani) while Van der Poel and Oscar Riesebeek sit in the group behind, ready to mark any moves: they will not have to help with the chase, saving vital energy in the process.
50km to go
Quite surprisingly, Gijs Leemreize, Stefano Oldani and Lorenzo Rota have gained 26sec on what was the breakaway. However, Davide Ballerini (Quick Step-Alpha Vinyl) is in pursuit and he has a certain Mathieu van der Poel for company.
51.5km to go
Over the top of La Colletta goes Lorenzo Rota, a few seconds ahead of Stefano Oldani and Gijs Leemreize. Once onto the descent, though, the chasing duo bridge over to extinguish any hope the 26-year-old from Bergamo had of winning with a long-range solo attack. Unless, of course, he launches a second attack.
54.5km to go
Lorenzo Rota leads by a handful of seconds around 1.5km from the summit of La Colletta, but he is being chased down by Stefano Oldani (Alpecin-Fenix) and Gijs Leemreize (Jumbo-Visma).
55.5km to go
Lorenzo Rota (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux) has chanced his arm, the Italian has launched himself off the front. That move may cause all sorts of chaos further back.
57km to go
Plenty of other have their jerseys unzipped now. It looks as if the heat is really starting to play its part today. Staying hydrated will be key to any success today. Bauke Mollema, who took maximum points at the summit of the day's first climb, just poked his nose into the wind on the front of the break as it inches its way up the Colletta climb. But is the Dutchman sniffing out a stage win? Incidentally, Bauke would complete the set of wins in all three grand tours if he were to prevail today, while the only other rider from the breakaway who can achieve that feat is Magnus Cort (EF Education-EasyPost).
60km to go
62km to go
Forgot to mention earlier, it is quite warm today with temperatures nudging the high twenties. Mathieu van der Poel certainly has a sweat on, the Dutchman is riding with his jersey unzipped halfway down his chest as the road rises up towards the second categorised climb of the day, La Colletta.
65km to go
Calm before the storm. Breakaway's lead is holding at 4min 50sec.
70km to go
Stefano Oldani (Alpecin-Fenix) took the three-second time bonus in Ferrada having rolled through ahead of Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo) and Vincenzo Albanese (Eolo-Kometa). The road starts to drag upwards again, heading towards the category three La Colletta. It will be interesting to see if any team attempts to apply the pressure to Mathieu van der Poel, or perhaps Alpecin-Fenix will play the numbers game and send Oldani or Oscar Riesebeek off up the road later while the rest of the break mark Van der Poel? Alpecin-Fenix certainly look to be holding a strong hand here today, but there are some very strong riders in this 24-man group so I expect there will be fireworks in the finale.
75km to go
Working towards Ferrada where the second intermediate sprint of the day is positioned, the breakaway's lead has grown out a little further still. There will be a handful of seconds up for grabs as time bonuses, but everybody in the breakaway is so far down in the general classification – the highest-placed is Wilco Kelderman (Bora-Hansgrohe) at 11min 2sec – they will not be too concerned with those, although they may fancy any cash primes knocking around.
80km to go
The breakaway – which has lost Jasha Sütterlin – has eked out a further handful of seconds, as the group works together as they rotate on the front. Their lead is 4min 50sec. Sure you will have noticed, but it is interesting to note that Alpecin-Fenix are the best represented team in the 24-man group with three riders. Given that one of those is Mathieu van der Poel, you would expect the other teams will want to be getting rid of him, but can the Dutchman be dispatched before the final 4.3km climb with a maximum gradient of 14%?
90km to go
The breakaway is looking relaxed, a few of the riders were just spotted relieving themselves before the television cameras cut away just in time to protect their modesty. Anyway, they have navigated their way safely off the Bocco climb with their lead on the peloton dropping slightly to 4min 30sec. It was on this descent back in 2011 where Wouter Weylandt, the talented young Belgian, was killed after fracturing his skull in a high-speed crash.
— Martin van Stuijvenberg (@MvStuijvenberg1) May 19, 2022
98km to go
Bauke Mollema rolled off the front of the breakaway a few minutes back to take maximum points (nine) atop the category three Passo del Bocco. As a result, the Dutchman moved up to fourth in the mountains classification. Should he get the same result at the summit of the next two passes – La Colletta and Valico di Trensasco – then he will move up to third behind Diego Rosa and Koen Bouwman.
Cavendish: Of course, I'd love to do the Tour
Mark Cavendish is determined to continue racing for at least another two years. Earlier this month, Quick Step-Alpha Vinyl rider Cavendish ensured a winning return to the Giro d'Italia as he sprinted to victory on stage three in Hungary.
"I want to extend my career for at least another two years," Cavendish told La Gazzetta dello Sport. "It's not just that I want to keep cycling, I feel I can be competitive for at least another two years. Maybe more, but two years should certainly be possible."
On the question of whether he will compete at the Tour de France, where he would beat Eddy Merckx's record of stage wins with one more victory, Cavendish remained non-committal in his response. As it stands, it is expected that Dutch sprinter Fabio Jakobsen is the team's first choice fast man, however, some have suggested the Briton may also get selected.
"Of course, I'd love to do [the Tour de France], but I'm a professional and I've always been a professional and I do what's required for my team," he added. "You know I'll always be prepared for it, but it's not my decision. It's not something that I think or don't think about. I just do my job."
110km to go
The chasing trio of Italian ProTeam riders – Luca Covili (Bardiani-CSF-Faizane), Davide Gabburo (Bardiani-CSF-Faizane) and Edoardo Zardini (Drone Hopper-Androni Giocattoli) – bridged over to the breakaway a few minutes ago, swelling that group to make it 25-strong. Their lead over the peloton has grown to over five minutes, while back in the peloton Trek-Segafredo are riding on the front.
As it stands . . .
As you may have expected, it was a fast and frenetic start with attacks coming off the front of the peloton, wave after wave on the long false flat opening section of the stage. A number of the usual suspects were involved, but with the win up for grabs and teams desperate to take something from this Giro, no soft breaks were allowed.
Once the first of the day's two intermediate sprints neared, Groupama-FDJ shifted four of their riders towards the front before Arnaud Démare launched himself towards the line where he added 12 points to his tally in the race for the maglia ciclamino, extending his lead over Fernando Gaviria (UAE Team Emirates), who moved up to second thanks to the eight points he took in Borgo Val di Taro.
Once through the intermediate sprint, Stefano Oldani (Alpecin-Fenix) clipped off, but there was a counter-attack which led to the day's breakaway comprising over 20 riders forming. There was a brief scare back in the peloton after Richard Carapaz and a couple of Ineos Grenadiers team-mates appeared to press on, but the move was soon extinguished before calm was restored.
That breakaway in full . . .
Vincenzo Albanese (Eolo-Kometa), Davide Ballerini (Quick Step-Alpha Vinyl), Will Barta (Movistar), Cesare Benedetti (Bora-Hansgrohe), Santiago Buitrago (Bahrain Victorious), Valerio Conti (Astana Qazaqstan), Magnus Cort (EF Education-EasyPost), Nico Denz (DSM), Pascal Eenkhoorn (Jumbo-Visma), Lucas Hamilton (BikeExchange-Jayco), Wilco Kelderman (Bora-Hansgrohe), Gijs Leemreize (Jumbo-Visma), Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo), Stefano Oldani (Alpecin-Fenix), Lorenzo Rota (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux), Oscar Riesebeek (Alpecin-Fenix), Michael Schwarzmann (Lotto-Soudal), Matteo Sobrero (BikeExchange-Jayco), Jasha Sütterlin (Bahrain Victorious), Rein Taaramae (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux), Andrea Vendrame (Ag2r-Citroën) and Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix). With 114km of the day's stage remaining, the breakaway leads the peloton by a shade over four minutes.
A three-man group comprising Luca Covili (Bardiani-CSF-Faizane), Davide Gabburo (Bardiani-CSF-Faizane) and Edoardo Zardini (Drone Hopper-Androni Giocattoli) are chasing on, trailing that quite sizeable leading bunch by around 16sec.
Ewan abandons the Giro d'Italia
As expected, Caleb Ewan (Lotto-Soudal) withdrew from the race following stage 11 as the Australian sprinter switches his focus to the Tour de France, his team announced earlier this morning.
In a short statement, his team said: "Lotto-Soudal rider Caleb Ewan will not be at the start of stage twelve of the Giro, raced between Parma and Genoa. As initially planned, the Australian will leave the Giro during the second week of racing. With plenty of mountain stages coming up, together with the team it was decided that Ewan will be heading home. Following a short period of rest, the sprinter will build up towards his next big goal of the season, the Tour de France, where he will also be targeting victories in the sprint stages."
What's on today's menu?
With three categorised climbs on a stage that includes 2,600 metres in elevation gain, I suspect today is one for the breakaway. However, with the general classification evenly poised those with hopes of taking home the maglia rosa a little over a week from now will have to be on alert. Nobody will want to see an outlier breaking into the small club of potential winners, and so there may be a long battle before the breakaway forms.
None of the climbs look especially hard though, which may mean someone in the shape of Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix), who interestingly looked to take Wednesday relatively easily, fancies his chances. Diego Ulissi (UAE Team Emirates), who has had a quiet Giro, could also have a go, as may team-mate Alessandro Covi.
With Caleb Ewan now out of the race, breakaway specialist Thomas De Gendt (Lotto-Soudal), who appears back to his best following his win last Saturday, may be able to get in the mix, although that may depend on how fatigued he is after working for his now departed team-mate during yesterday's sprint stage. Magnus Cort (EF Education-EasyPost) and Mauro Schmid (Quick Step-Alpha Vinyl) should also not be discounted, but the breakaway could be a big one of 20+ riders so making any bold predictions is probably a little futile.
So, what does the stage look like?
Here's what the roadbook says about the stage...
A challenging stage across the Apennines. The route ascends steadily with very mild gradients from Parma, along the Taro river valley, entering Liguria through the uncomplicated Passo del Bocco. A long and technical descent follows, leading towards Carasco and into the Val Fontanabuona. The route then tackles the Colletta di Boasi and the Valico di Trensasco. The riders will pass along the motorway and cross the new San Giorgio bridge, heading for the finale in the city centre.
After taking the motorway, the route crosses the San Giorgio bridge and takes the Genova Ovest exit (passing through a few tunnels), merging onto the Aldo Moro flyover up to the ‑2km mark. Over the last 2km, the road is straight, wide and well paved, slightly uphill, and with only one bend at the red triangle. The stage homes in on Tarmac road, at approx 2%.
Live coverage of today's stage to start at 1pm (BST)
Catch up: Highlights from Wednesday's stage
Long, flat and only a small threat of mid-stage entertainment when the possibility of crosswinds were raised, yesterday's stage may have lacked the excitement of escapade into the mountains, but thankfully the bunch gallop at the end more than made up for over four hours of relative inaction. Alberto Dainese (DSM) left it late before the Italian emerged from the bunch to overhaul the big-name sprinters to land the first WorldTour win of his career, and the first home-born winner at this year's Giro. Here are the highlights. . .
Hello and welcome to our live rolling blog from stage 12 at the Giro d'Italia, the 204-kilometre run from Parma to Genoa.
Following Wednesday's long run from Santarcangelo di Romagna to Reggio Emilia, today's offering is a smidge longer and is, in fact, the longest in this year's Giro. Thankfully, though, it has a little more character to it than yesterday's panflat stage. In theory, today should favour a breakaway specialist, or a classics rider such as Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix), but before we have a look at the course, let's have a quick recap of the standings in the top classifications.
Juan Pedro López (Trek-Segafredo) will wear the maglia rosa, or leader's pink jersey, for an eighth successive day after the 24-year-old finished Wednesday's stage on the same time as Dainese.
After Biniam Girmay (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux) pulled out of the race ahead of yesterday's stage, there was a minor shuffling of the pack in the points classification with Mark Cavendish (Quick Step-Alpha Vinyl) replacing the Eritrean in second, while Fernando Gaviria (UAE Team Emirates) moved up to third following the sprint finish. However, there were no changes at the top and so Arnaud Démare (Groupama-FDJ), who won the competition in 2020, will again wear the maglia ciclamino, the cyclamen jersey.
Unsurprisingly given the nature of yesterday's stage, there was not a single change in the top 30 in the mountains classification and so Diego Rosa (Eolo-Kometa) will be dressed in the maglia azzurra, or blue jersey, as leader of that competition.
López also leads the youth classification, but Joao Almeida (UAE Team Emirates) will wear the maglia bianca (white jersey).