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As we make our way ever closer toward the weekend, the Giro d’Italia saw a breakaway battle out on the roads of Cesenatico on Thursday, and some activity behind the scenes as well.
Stage 12 came down to two riders getting clear of their breakaway companions, and then a heartbreaking puncture left one of the two chasing the other. When all was said and done, one of cycling’s biggest teams picked up its third win so far in this race.
Meanwhile, amid concerns over coronavirus positives for those involved in the race, a team proposed that the Giro be halted on the second rest day. The UCI rejected the request.
Read on for more …
| Narváez wins stage 12 of the Giro from the break
Jhonatan Narváez won stage 12 at the Giro d’Italia on Thursday after a long day off the front in challenging conditions.
The 23-year-old Ecuadorian joined a sizable early move, and he and fellow breakaway rider Mark Padun then left the rest of the escapees behind with around 50 kilometers to go. Narváez and Padun quickly built a gap to their former breakaway companions and it became clear before long that the stage victory would come down to one of the two riders out front, before disaster struck for Padun, who punctured with around 25km to go.
Although Padun put in a spirited chase effort and came close to reconnecting with Narváez at one point, he could not quite close down the gap, which then grew insurmountable over the waning kilometers. Narváez soloed to his first ever Grand Tour win and the Ineos Grenadiers’ third so far in this race with Padun settling for runner-up honors 1:08 back and Simon Clarke in third, 6:50 behind Padun.
The pink jersey group arrived over eight minutes behind the stage winner with most of the GC riders finishing on the same time.
The lumpy 204-kilometer stage that started and finished in Cesenatico saw the main break get clear only a few minutes into the stage, with Padun, Narváez, and Clarke all making the selection.
On a profile that was too challenging for the sprinters but not so challenging as to guarantee GC action, the peloton was content to give the break plenty of breathing room, with the escapees’ advantage getting up to around 13 minutes near the midpoint of the stage before the pack began to cut into the gap.
With rain and wind buffeting the riders, attacks flew on the run-in to and the slopes of the Madonna di Pugliano climb, and then Clark soloed away on the descent, before Padun and Narváez joined together in pursuit. They caught Clarke with around 50 kilometers to go and then quickly left him behind.
It seemed like the stage would come down to a battle between the two leaders in the finale, but then Padun punctured. After a hard chase he nearly made it back to Narváez before fading, with Narváez going on to get the victory with a gap of 1:08 in the end. Clarke arrived 6:50 back.
In the peloton behind, a high pace on the climbs set by the NTT team of Domenico Pozzovivo made for a tough day in the day saddle, but most of the GC contenders held on. Ilnur Zakarin, however, did not, ultimately losing over 12 minutes on the day and tumbling out of the top 10.
Top 10, stage 12
1 NARVÁEZ Jhonatan (INEOS Grenadiers) 5:31:24
2 PADUN Mark (Bahrain – McLaren) 1:08
3 CLARKE Simon (EF Pro Cycling) 6:50
4 ROSSKOPF Joey (CCC Team) 7:30
5 PELLAUD Simon (Androni Giocattoli – Sidermec) 7:43
6 MCNULTY Brandon (UAE-Team Emirates) 8:25
7 KONRAD Patrick (BORA – hansgrohe)
8 GUERREIRO Ruben (EF Pro Cycling)
9 ALMEIDA João (Deceuninck – Quick Step)
10 GEOGHEGAN HART Tao (INEOS Grenadiers)
Top 10, GC
1 ALMEIDA João (Deceuninck – Quick Step) 49:21:46
2 KELDERMAN Wilco (Team Sunweb) 0:34
3 BILBAO Pello (Bahrain – McLaren) 0:43
4 POZZOVIVO Domenico (NTT Pro Cycling) 0:57
5 NIBALI Vincenzo (Trek – Segafredo) 1:01
6 KONRAD Patrick (BORA – hansgrohe) 1:15
7 HINDLEY Jai (Team Sunweb) 1:19
8 MAJKA Rafal (BORA – hansgrohe) 1:21
9 MASNADA Fausto (Deceuninck – Quick Step) 1:36
10 FUGLSANG Jakob (Astana Pro Team) 2:20
| EF proposes the Giro be stopped on the second rest day
As Eurosport initially reported and then team manager Jonathan Vaughters further explained on Twitter, EF has proposed that the Giro d’Italia be halted on the second rest day due to “a clearly compromised bubble.”
According to Eurosport, the American WorldTour team sent a letter to the RCS, the UCI, and teams, and others in involved in the Giro positing that “it would be better for the Giro and the UCI World Tour…(if) this be done in a systematic, holistic way versus a chaotic withdrawal on a team by team basis.”
EF also requested “at least two systematic Covid tests before that [second] rest day and an earlier close to the race if additional tests return positive prior to the rest day.” EF plans to leave the race “should anyone on our team test positive, or should the riders and staff grow uncomfortable with the situation.”
Two whole teams, Mitchelton-Scott and Jumbo-Visma, have already withdrawn from the Giro and there have been more positives associated with others at the race as well. News emerged on Thursday that 17 police officers accompanying the E-Giro have tested positive for COVID-19.
The UCI rejected EF’s proposal, with David Lappartient reportedly responding “we now face a challenge to finish the season and this can be achieved by continuing this spirit of collaboration and unity in professional cycling.” That said, further testing will be carried out over Thursday and Friday.
Vaughters offered further context on Thursday in tweet after Eurosport’s report was published, saying, “To give this some color: We aren’t threatening to leave. Just making a suggestion that we feel is correct given the situation. We’d rather race all the way to finish in Milan. And if the next round of tests show it’s safe to do that; we will.”
| Roglic, Dumoulin, Froome, Carapaz, Pinot, Bennett, and more named in Vuelta’s provisional start list
The Vuelta a España has announced some of the headliners that will take on this year’s race – assuming it goes ahead – confirming many of the big names already expected to make the start and a few others as well.
Primoz Roglic and Tom Dumoulin will indeed head up Jumbo-Visma’s challenge while the Ineos Grenadiers will have both Chris Froome and Richard Carapaz, as expected. Thibaut Pinot will lead the way for Groupama-FDJ, Esteban Chaves will make the start for Mitchelton-Scott, and Movistar will have both Enric Mas and Alejandro Valverde.
Sam Bennett will headline a sprinting field that will also include fellow Vuelta stage winners Pascal Ackermann and Jasper Philipsen.
| UCI announces revised Cyclocross World Cup calendar with five events
Amid major cancellations, the UCI has announced a revised, reduced calendar for this cyclocross season with five World Cup events instead of the originally planned 11.
The Tabor World Cup will open the new calendar on November 29, followed by Namur on December 20, with new World Cup hosts Dendermonde on December 27, Hulst on January 3, and Overijse on January 24.
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Today’s featured image of Jhonatan Narváez winning stage 12 of the Giro d’Italia comes from Cor Vos.