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Egan Bernal survives late ambush at Giro d’Italia to keep leader’s jersey after Andrea Vendrame wins stage


Vendrame is the latest breakaway rider to triumph at the Giro

Bernal keeps hold of the leader’s pink jersey despite a late scare

Bouchard extends lead in the mountains classification

Egan Bernal retained the pink jersey as Andrea Vendrame won an attritional stage 12 of the Giro d’Italia from the breakaway in Bagno di Romagna. Crashes, illness, and the effects of Wednesday’s frantic stage across the white gravel roads of Tuscany took their toll as six riders abandoned the race during its second-longest stage – covering 212km and 3,700 meters of climbing from Siena.

By the end of it, there was no significant change at the top of the general classification as Ineos Grenadiers rider Bernal continued to lead by 45 seconds from Astana-Premier Tech’s Aleksandr Vlasov. But Movistar’s Marc Soler abandoned from 11th place overall after a crash early in the day, while two-time winner Vincenzo Nibali, more than four minutes down in 13th place, used a late attack to claw back a few seconds and showed he still has ambitions in the race.

Nibali’s attack did draw a brief response from Bernateammatemate Gianni Moscon, only for the Italian to crash on a corner, though he completed the stage without losing time. “I think today was a tough day for everyone,” Bernal said. “We are happy it finished well. When Nibali attacked in the downhill, we didn’t want to risk following him, so I think we did well.”

Simply surviving was easier said than done. After a nasty crash, Alessandro De Marchi, who spent two days in the pink jersey last week, was hospitalized. At the same time, teammate made Alex Dowsett, stage six winner Gino Mäder, Fausto Masnada, and Kobe Goossens were also non-finishers.

Damiano Caruso remains third overall, 72 seconds down, just ahead of Lancastrian duo Hugh Carthy and Simon Yates. The general classification contenders will hope for a quieter day on Friday, with a pan-flat stage from Ravenna to Verona pointing to a sprint finish.

But this was another day for the breakaway, with Ag2r-Citroën’s Vendrame beating Chris Hamilton of DSM to the line as the last survivors of a 16-man breakaway. “I’m super happy because I tried in 2019, but I was second, and [Esteban] Chavez won that day, and I also tried last year, but I was in a bad position,” the Italian said.

“I have been training hard this year and made a dream come true. I’m thrilled. We’ve been working on trying to get the blue jersey for [Geoffrey] Bouchard, and then in the finish,h we made it so I could try and get the victory.” Kiwi George Bennett was awarded third place after Gianluca Brambilla was relegated for an irregular sprint, w. Their haven is something of a dispute for many of the final kilkilometersA

Egan Bernal

03:31 pm

Bernal retains the lead after Nibali bites back

Vincenzo Nibali (Trek-Segafredo) crosses the finishing line seven seconds ahead of the maglia rosa. Still, Egan Bernal (Ineos Grenadiers) retains pink as the leader in the general classification, while there are no other significant changes in any of the jersey classifications.

Vincenzo Nibali- Giro d’Italia 2021, stage 12 – live updates – REUTERS

Bernal takes a 45sec lead over Alexandr Vlasov (Astana-Premier Tech) into Friday’s pan-flat stage, while Damiano Caruso (Bahrain Victorious) is third. Britons Hugh Carthy (EF Education-Nippo) and Simon Yates (BikeExchange) are fourth and fifth.

03:26 pm

Moscon crashes!

Back in the peloton, Vincenzo Nibali puts himself on the front going into the descent in an attempt to test the mettle of Ineos Grenadiers. They don’t need to chase. Chase, they do, however, and Gianni Moscon comes a cropper on the bend. The Italian will pick up some road rash for his troubles but is back in the saddle.

Nibali pushes on, gaining a few seconds, which won’t impact the race, not for now. It may, however, place a seed of doubt or two into the minds of Egan Bernal and teammatesates going into a tough few days in the high mountains.

03:20 pm

Vendrame wins stage 12 at the Giro!

Andrea Vendrame (Ag2r-Citroën) opens his sprint around 150 meters from the line, beating Chris Hamilton (DSM) reasonably conclusively. Gianluca Brambilla (Trek-Segafredo) wins George Bennett (Jumbo-Visma) 15 seconds later to take the third spot. However, shortly afterward, Brambilla was relegated to fourth after crossing Bennett’s sprint line.

Delighted at the finish line, Vendrame said: “What an incredible feeling! I just won a stage at the Corsa Rosa: a dream has come true! I can’t even speak or find the right words to describe how I feel now.

“Thanks, toteammatemate and breakaway companion Geoffrey Bouchard,” the Italian added. “I managed to bring home some success for our team. After a difficult period where I was injured, this win at the Giro is indescribable.”

03:19 pm

1km to go

Neither Andrea Vendrame nor Chris Hamilton has won a grand tour stage in their careers, but are into the final barrier stretch of the road, poised and ready to challenge for the line honours.

03:18 pm

1.5km to go

Andrea Vendrame gains an advantage, but again Chris Hamilton reins the Italian back in.

03:17 pm

2km to go

Andrea Vendrame and Chris Hamilton lead the stage, and George Bennett and Gianluca Brambilla appear to be bickering behind – they should be working together now.

03:15 pm

3.5km to go

Gianluca Brambilla is reined in, the quartet watching each other closely. In theory, Andrea Vendrame is in pole position for the stage win, but after putting 4,500 meters of climbing into the legs, the form may go out of the window.

03:14 pm

5km to go

Giulio Ciccone and Vincenzo Nibali go over the top of the climb goes Giulio Ciccone and Vincenzo Nibali, and Egan Bernal rises out of his saddle and chases the pair down. At the other end of the race, it is the turn of another Trek-Segafredo rider Gianluca Brambilla to attack.

03:12 pm

8km to go

George Bennett, Gianluca Brambilla, Chris Hamilton, and Andrea Vendrame are all at the front of the race. At the same time, further back, Giulio Ciccone and Vincenzo Nibali are around four or five bike lengths up the road from Ineos Grenadiers. The pair have not gained much time, but it is exciting to see them taking the race to Egan Bernal.

03:10 pm

Ciccone attacks!

Back in the peloton, Giulio Ciccone (Trek-Segafredo,) who dropped down the general classification yesterday,y has attacked the maglia rosa, the climber teammate made by Vincenzo Nibali for company.

03:08 pm

The finale to today’s stage

The upcoming descent is pretty technical – several curves and hairpins – followed by the below false flat finish. The final kilometers are dotted with roundabouts.

Bagno di Romagna – Giro d’Italia 2021, stage 12 live updates results in standings

03:04 pm

12km to go

All back as one at the front of the race. George Bennett, Gianluca Brambilla, Chris Hamilton,n and Andrea Vendrame appear set to challenge for the stage today – the peloton is over 12 minutes down – but they still must get over the top of this climb, navigate the descent, and then race the false flat section to the finish.

03:01 pm

13km to go

Andrea Vendrame has company after Chris Hamilton catches him.

03:00 pm

14km to go

Andrea Vendrame is doing the ride of his life. Andd hanging on here, but Chris Hamilton has ridden George Bennett and Gianluca Brambilla off his wheel and is off in pursuit.

02:57 pm

15km to go

Andrea Vendrame battles away on this steep inclin; George Bennett, Gianluca BBrambillaa, and Chris Hamilton are around 300 meters down the road,d but that gap appears to be closing. They need to catch him before the summit if they want to take the stage; in theory, Vendrame would win a sprint out of this quartet of riders.

02:53 pm

16km to go

The trio of George Bennett (Jumbo-Visma), Gianluca Brambilla (Trek-Segafredo,) and Chris Hamilton (DSM)ise in pursuit of stage leader Andrea Vendrame (Ag2r-Citroën), trailing the Italian by just 10sec. Nicolas Edet (Cofidis) and Giovanni Visconti (Bardiani-CSF-Faizane) have lost contact as the road rises on this final climb that ramps up to 14% at its steepest part – potentially where the chasing trio may catch Vendrame.

02:50 pm

17.5km to go

The Ag2r-Citroën leads the stage by 12sec. George Bennett has attacked. Andrea Vendrame, who I thought was more suited to the classics, counter-attacks and is off up the road.

02:48 pm

18km to go

Chris Hamilton leads a small group to Gianluca Brambilla, the injection in pace looks enough to sell one or two.

02:46 pm

19km to go

Gianluca Brambilla is the latest to put in a wee attack; the patriot Simone Ravanelli marks out the 33-year-old Italian. But then the Trek-Segafredo rider goes again to gain a minor gap.

02:42 pm

20km to go

The sun is out, the road is now dry, and the peloton passes beneath the 30km to go banner, meaning they are precisely 10kilometerss behind the stage leaders. Not too far from the day’s final climb.

02:38 pm

25km to several riders from the breakaway have been dropping back to their team cars for food or drink while Geoffrey Bouchard is struggling with his rain jacket. The Frenchman doesn’t look too comfortable at removing it while riding – it was teammatemate Lawrence Naesen who crashed earlier while battling with Scott; perhaps Ag2r-Citroënneedsd to start practicing their de-robing skills.

02:34 pm

27km to go

Mikkel Honore again puts in a bit of attack off the front of the break, but he is being marked closely by Simone Ravanelli and Giovanni Visconti. Geoffrey Bouchard, Simone Petill, I, and Natnael Tesfatsion have lost contact with the leading group,p and the trio are chasing back on. The peloton, meanwhile, trails by 11min 40sec.

02:27 pm

34km to go

Mikkel Honore, the 24-year-old Deceuninck-Quick Step rider, rolls off the front of the breakaway briefly, but he is soon reined back in on this fast descent. The Dane, by the way, landed the first race of his career in Italy this year Settimana Internazionale Coppi e Bartali, before adding a WorldTour race to his palmarès with a memorable win at Itzulia Basque Country alongsteammatemate Josef Cerny.

02:21 pm

37km to go

The breakaway is whizzing down the other side of that climb, the road relatively dry but a bit patchy in places. Once they have completed the descent, there will be one more categorized climb, the Passo del Carnaio, which is 10.8km long with an average gradient of 5.0% but pitches up to 14%!

Passo del Carnaio – Giro d’Italia 2021, stage 12 live updates results in standings

02:13 pm

Surprise, surprise . . .

. . . Geoffrey Bouchard goes over the summit of the category two PassoDellaa Calla to take maximum points in the mountains classification and tighten his grip on the magliaAzzurraa. The Frenchman won the mountains classification at the Vueltaana España in 2019 and is going well at the Gir,o where he may add to his jersey collection, albeit a small pool. The Ag2r-Citroën rider said the other day that he wasn’t especially bothered about the jersey but wanted to win a stage: he may get his wish here today.

02:03 pm

Arrivederci, Kobe!

01:58 pm

51.5km to go

Gianluca Brambilla bounces out of his saddle. The Italian who got his season off to a flyer with a stage win and the overall at the Tour des Alpes Maritimes et du Var is looking sprightly, but is he doing too much work too early? There are some strong riders in this group, none of whom are any threat to the general classification – hence their being allowed to ride in the breakaway – and all of them will be desperate to challenge for the honours in Bagno di Romagna.

01:54 pm

52.5km to go

The sun is out again, and the breakaway has almost completely regrouped – just Dries De Bondt and Victor Campenaerts is off the back, the pair of Belgians trailing by around 30sec.

The peloton is a shade over 10 minutes down the road as the break presses on, around 4km from the summit of this longish climb.

01:41 pm

58km to go

As the road winds up the Passo Della Calla, Natnael Tesfatsion has bridges over to the lead group to ensure that Simone Ravanelli Androni-Giocattoli-Sidermec has two riders up front.

Passo Della Calla – Giro d’Italia 2021, stage 12 live updates results in standings

The peloton trails by over 11 minutes, meaning this could be another day for the breakaway. If that’s the case, that would mean 50% of the stages at this year’s Giro will have been won by a breakaway rider: five of the steps so far have been won by a rider from the break, four ended in sprints, and the opening day was the time trial in Turin.

01:33 pm

60km to go

Geoffrey Bouchard, who is leading the mountains classification, is in the second group on the road alongside Dries De Bondt (Alpecin-Fenix), Nicolas Edet (Cofidis), Guy Niv (ISN), Simone Petilli (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux) and Giovanni Visconti (Bardiani-CSF-Faizane). Still, the Ag2r-Citroën rider’s teammate Andrea Vendrame is riding in the front of the lead group. Intriguing.

01:28 pm

62.5km to go

A further split has formed in the breakaway, leaving a six-man group comprising Vincenzo Albanese (Eolo-Kometa), George Bennett (Jumbo-Visma), Gianluca Brambilla (Trek-Segafredo), Chris Hamilton (DSM), Mikkel Honore (Deceuninck-Quick Step), Simone Ravanelli (Androni-Giocattoli-Sidermec), Diego Ulissi (UAE Team Emirates) and Andrea Vendrame (Ag2r-Citroën) out in front.

01:25 pm

65km to go

Victor Campenaerts of Belgium and Natnael Tesfatsion, the Eritrean who won the Tour of Rwanda last year, are chasing back on but have lost over 30secs on the stage leaders. The rain has stopped, but the roads are still very wet with large sections of ‘resting water’.

01:22 pm

Man down!

Lawrence Naesen (Ag2r-Citroën) takes a tumble; the Belgian attempted to wear a rain jacket but lost his balance.

01:19 pm

70km to go

Victor Campenaerts (Qhubeka-Assos) and Natnael Tesfatsion (Androni-Giocattoli-Sidermec) lose contact with the breakaway on the descent, both taking the corners relatively gingerly. Further back, young British rider Simon Carr (EF Education-Nippo) has pulled up; he appears to have something wrong with his bike.

01:15 pm

74.5km to go

The breakaway is on the descent, and it is tipping it down. Not the sort of conditions anybody likes riding or descending in. The sporting directors and families watching at home will now be nibbling on their nails.

01:14 pm

75km to go

The rain is falling heavier now. Some are wrapping up, getting their rain capes on, while others are not bothering. I think it was Kiwi rider George Bennett (Jumbo-Visma) that I just saw putting a second jacket on. It doesn’t look that cold, but who knows how the riders suffer following a tough few days of racing.

01:11 pm

78km to go

Geoffrey Bouchard takes maximum points atop the category two Passo della Consuma to extend his lead in the mountains classification. There was a little coming together between a few riders in the peloton just over nine minutes down the road, but nothing too severe for anybody to worry about.

01:04 pm

Another one bites the dust.

Fausto Masnada (Deceuninck-Quick Step), the Italian who won a stage at the Giro two years ago while riding for Androni Giocattoli- Sidermec, is the latest rider to abandon during today’s scene. Masnada arrived at this year’s race to play a vital role in the mountains for Remco Evenepoel, so that will come as a massive blow to the team. He has, according to the team, been suffering from knee tendinitis.

12:51 pm

85km to go

Good day for yesterday’s young man, who climbed up to second overall on general classification. As most of you will know, Aleksander Vlasov has been widely touted as the next big thing in grand tour racing and is living up to the billing following a disappointing outing at last year’s race. Today, the Russian is dressed in the best young rider’s jersey, although race leader Egan Bernal leads both competitions.

Aleksander Vlasov – Giro d’Italia 2021, stage 12 – live updates – GETTY IMAGES

The breakaway is being held on a relatively controllable leash by Ineos Grenadiers, their advantage having at around the eight-minute mark.

12:41 pm

90km to go

Filippo Ganna and Salvatore Puccio share duties on the peloton’s front, the maglia rosa riding around the fourth or fifth wheel and looking fairly relaxed. The breakaway keeps tapping away, their lead has increased to a shade over eight minutes, and the rain jackets are coming out. A few spots of rain are falling as the riders inch ever higher. The rain is not too heavy but may play a role once over the other side, and the riders are onto the descent.

12:27 pm

95km to go: Big climb incoming . . .

. . . and here’s what the category two Passo della Consuma looks like. This is the most extended uphill section of the day, 17.1km at an average gradient of 5.7% that pitches up to 10% at the steepest point.

Passo della Consuma

12:16 pm

100km to go

With three categorized climbs, there is plenty of action to follow today. The breakaway may be into the second half of today’s stage, but fear not. It will surprise nobody to learn that Ineos Grenadiers are on the front monitoring that gap while keeping the maglia rosa positioned safely out of harm’s way. Their lead over the peloton, by the way, has grown slightly to 7min 40sec.

Egan Bernal – GETTY IMAGES

12:00 pm

As it stands . . .

Hello again. As mentioned earlier, today is one of the longest stages in this year’s Giro d’Italia as so it was an earlier start than usual, with 170 riders passing through KM0 at 10.36 am (BST). It was a furious start, and it took some time for the breakaway to stick.

But stick it did after just over 50 kilometers of racing, with 16 riders – Vincenzo Albanese (Eolo-Kometa), George Bennett (Jumbo-Visma), Dries De Bondt (Alpecin-Fenix), Geoffrey Bouchard (Ag2r-Citroën), Gianluca Brambilla (Trek-Segafredo), Victor Campenaerts (Qhubeka-Assos), Nicolas Edet (Cofidis), Chris Hamilton (DSM), Mikkel Honore (Deceuninck-Quick Step), Guy Niv (ISN), Simone Petilli (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux), Simone Ravanelli (Androni-Giocattoli-Sidermec), Natnael Tesfatsion (Androni-Giocattoli-Sidermec), Diego Ulissi (UAE Team Emirates), Andrea Vendrame (Ag2r-Citroën) and Giovanni Visconti (Bardiani-CSF-Faizane) – now lead by 7min 40sec with 113km to go.

However, the formation of that strong-looking breakaway is thus far a mere footnote in the tale of today’s stage. Already there have been four riders abandoned. Alessandro De Marchi, the Italian who wore the maglia rosa for a couple of sets last week, was taken away from the race by ambulance after crashing. Later on, his Britteammatemate Alex Dowsett bailed following stomach complaints.

Marc Soler, the Spaniard carrying the general classification hopes of his Movistar team, also crashed and, as a result, was abandoned. Gino Mäder (Bahrain Victorious), the young Swiss rider who won a hilly stage last week before taking the maglia Azzurra as a mountain classification leader, was also forced to quit. Following the withdrawals of Mikel Landa (DNF stage five) and Matej Mohoric (DNF stage nine), just five Bahrain Victorious riders remain in the race. At this rate, Bahrain Victorious will be ditching their team bus before the race reaches Milan and hiring a Cinquecento for their staff and riders. It was a real shame that, as I felt, they had, along with Ineos Grenadiers, one of the strongest teams going in the race.

06:20 am

Today’s menu . . .

Today’s roller-coaster of a stage is the joint second-longest of this year’s Giro d’Italia. Still, with almost 4,500 meters of vertical elevation, the riders will be more concerned with the amount of climbing rather than the distance. Following a brief shuffling of the general classification pack following Wednesday’s enthralling stage, one suspects those hoping to challenge the pink jersey may use today as a launchpad for any assault they plan to make.

Stage 12 – Giro d’Italia 2021, stage 12 – live updates

At the same time, the race for the mountains classification can also expect a much-needed boost following a few quiet days. With no fewer than four categorized climbs – Monte Morello (category three), Passo della Consuma (cat. two), Passo Della Calla (cat. two), and Passo del Carnaio (cat. three) – there are plenty of opportunities for ambushes. There are, of course, also the two customary intermediate sprints where points are up for grabs in the race for the maglia calamine in Sesto Fiorentino. At the same time, the second one is just over 20km from the line in Santa Sofia bonus seconds are up for grabs.

Stage 12 profile – Giro d’Italia 2021, stage 12 – live updates

Here’s what the roadbook says about the day ahead: “A challenging step across the Apennines. Starting in Siena and crossing the Chianti region to Florence, the route passes through Ponte an Ema [Bartali], Florence, and Sesto Fiorentino [Martini].

Monte Morello – Giro d’Italia 2021, stage 12 live updates results standings

“Here, the riders will negotiate a succession of ascents: Monte Morello (see above profile – with peaks exceeding 15%), Passo della Consuma (see the below-average gradient of 6%).

Passo della Consuma

Passo della Calla (below – 5%)

Passo Della Calla – Giro d’Italia 2021, stage 12 live updates results in standings

. . . and Passo del Carnaio (below), featuring some challenging bits with gradients up to 14%, followed by a technical descent leading to the final 5km.

Passo del Carnaio – Giro d’Italia 2021, stage 12 live updates results in standings.

“Starting from 3,500m from the finish, the last kilometers either descend or are a false flat up.

Bagno di Romagna – Giro d’Italia 2021, stage 12 live updates results in standings.

“The route drops down quickly on wide roads, with several curves and hairpins, and briefly touches the center of San Piero in Bagno. The final kilometers (see below for the final 3km) are dotted with roundabouts. The stage homes in on asphalt road.”

Final 3km – Giro d’Italia 2021, stage 12 – live updates

06:20 am

Catch up: Highlights from yesterday’s stage

06:20 am


Hello and welcome to our live rolling blog from stage 12 at the Giro d’Italia, the 212-kilometer run from Siena to Bagno di Romagna. The stage winner on Wednesday may have been relatively unknown to some of our readers. Still, we can all agree that Mauro Schmid’s (Qhubeka-Assos) victory was thoroughly deserved and came at the end of an exciting day of racing. While there were winners and losers, predominantly in the general classification, none of the top spots in the main types – the ones deemed worthy of a leader’s jersey – changed. Here’s a quick look at those standings.

Mauro Schmid – GETTY IMAGES

Race leader Egan Bernal (Ineos Grenadiers), the 24-year-old Colombian, once again showed that he was the strongest rider at this year’s race with a blistering attack in the finale of yesterday’s stage. This move saw him gain 23 seconds over Alexandr Vlasov (Astana-Premier Tech), who moved up to second overall. The Colombian extended his lead in both the general and youth classifications and will, for the third day today, wear the maglia rosa, or the pink jersey.

As a leader in the points classification, Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) took control of the maglia calamine, the Cyclamen jersey, thanks to his stage win on Monday. There were no changes in the top three of that fiercely contested competition following yesterday’s stage.

Geoffrey Bouchard (Ag2r-Citroën) took control of the maglia Azzurra during Sunday’s mountainous stage and will again wear the blue jersey as the overall leader in the mountains classification. The top three in the youth classification mirror that of the general. So Alexandr Vlasov (Astana-Premier Tech) will wear the maglia Bianca, or the white jersey, on behalf of the maglia rosa Bernal.