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Giro d'Italia 2018: Bennett takes rain-soaked Stage 12 victory into Imola

Joe Robinson
17 May 2018

Deciding to sprint early, Bennett proved he was the strongest rider on the day

Sam Bennett (Bora-Hansgrohe) powered away from the peloton to take a sprint finish into Imola on Stage 12 of the 2018 Giro d'Italia. After deciding to go early, the Irishman left everyone else behind to take his second stage victory of this Giro d'Italia.

Matej Mohoric (Bahrain-Merida) and Carlos Betancur (Movistar) managed to stay away from the peloton until the final 200m yet could not hold off Bennett who was by far the strongest rider today.

Behind, Danny Van Poppel (LottoNl-Jumbo) finished second and Nicolo Bonifazio (Bahrain-Merida) finished third.

The terrible weather threatened to cause disruption among the General Classification riders however Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) and Tom Dumoulin (Team Sunweb) avoided any danger to finish comfortably at the same time.

That tale of the stage

A frantic few days at the Giro d'Italia had seen furious racing. Esteban Chaves (Mitchelton-Scott) lost 25 minutes two days ago while Chris Froome (Team Sky) dropped 40 seconds yesterday while Yates tightened his grip on the pink jersey with a second stage win.

Stage 12 took the peloton over the 200km yet again this time with a 214km stage from Osimo to Imola, home to one of Italy's most famous motor circuits.

You could tell that the peloton were after an easy day. Since Monday's rest day it had been non-stop so with a flat profile ahead, the General Classification men decided today would not be as hard. 

Therefore when attacks for a break began they were allowed to go pretty easily. 

Five riders formed a minutes gap after a short while with all consisting from the ProContinental Italian teams. Involved were Eugert Zhupa and Jacopo Mosca (Wilier-Triestina), Mirco Maestri and Manuel Senni (Bardiani-CSF) and, of course, Marco Frapporti of Androni-Sidermec.

That's 11 from 11 for Gianni Savio's men. Will they have a perfect Giro?

While the lead five cracked on increasing their gap to three minutes the sprint trains behind formed in line to chase for the day.

Among the most prevalent were Quick-Step Floors in the service of Elia Viviani, Bora-Hansgrohe for Sam Bennett and EF-Drapac for Sacha Modolo.

The day rolled on with the break extending their lead to over four minutes. However, it was unlikely to ever stick.

The sprint teams realised there were very few days remaining for their quick men so kept the pace high enough to never give the five dreamers hope.

The five leaders worked well together but to no avail. The weather turned and the rain began to fall and it fell hard. 

That caused the speed to increase and with 25km to go the peloton had snappled up three of the five lead men. Maestri and Zhupa kept ahead for a while but were eventually snapped up.

The weather caused for some temporary splits in the peloton. Richard Carapaz (Movistar) and Nicolo Bonifazio (Bahrain-Merida) found themselves on the wrong side of a split but hard work brought them back.

The peloton began to shadow the race track of Imola. For many, it will be remembered for Ayrton Senna's death in 1994 while racing the European Grand Prix.

Tim Wellens (Lotto-Soudal) being Tim Wellens decided to attack solo from 20km out. He built a gap of 15 seconds as the peloton hit the tarmac of the race track. Behind Viviani found himself in no-mans land separated from the lead group and his teammates. 

Wellens was up the road and Alex Dowsett (Katusha-Alpecin) decided he wanted to join the fun pushing on although he never built a gap.

With 12km remaining, Wellens was still out alone but within sight of EF-Drapac who were hunting him down. The road went up and Wellens found himself caught with 10km left, typical Wellens.

Following Wellens' misfortune, Sergio Henao (Team Sky) took off from the front with a Katusha-Alpecin rider yet to no glory.

Bennett decided to keep the pace high setting the pace at the head of affairs himself although was quickly absorbed as Diego Ulissi (UAE Team Emirates) - who has been unusually quiet this Giro - decided to be the next rider to roll the dice.

Ulissi was then joined by none other than Betancur, the rider who once claimed he didn't know weight mattered as a cyclist.

With 4km remianing, it was Betancur, Ulissi and Mohoric that lead the race.