Giro d’Italia review: Stage-by-stage

The 2012 Giro d’Italia is done and dusted, having covered 3,504km in 21 stages over 23 days across two countries before an epic final week provided us with a dramatic, edge-of-the-seat conclusion and a new champion in Garmin-Barracuda’s Ryder Hesjedal. The 157 finishers can now enjoy a well-earned rest, but in the meantime here is a stage-by-stage reminder of how the race was won and lost.

Image courtesy of BMC

Stage 1: Herning, 8.7km individual time trial

Recap

BMC’s Taylor Phinney was a full nine seconds faster than anyone else on the short opening time trial to open the Giro’s three-day opening stint in Denmark. Sky’s Geraint Thomas and Garmin-Barracuda’s Alex Rasmussen rounded out the podium.

Stage winner: Taylor Phinney (BMC).

General classification: 1. Taylor Phinney (BMC), 2. Geraint Thomas (Sky) +0:09, 3. Alex Rasmussen (Garmin-Barracuda) +0:13.

Excitement factor: 1/5.

Image courtesy of Wikipedia

Stage 2: Herning to Herning, 206km

Recap

Mark Cavendish held off Orica-GreenEDGE’s Matt Goss in the bunch sprint after a massive final corner pile-up triggered by Theo Bos. Maglia rosa Taylor Phinney overcame a late scare after having to chase back to the peloton when he suffered a mechanical problem 8km from the finish.

Stage winner: Mark Cavendish (Sky).

General classification: 1. Taylor Phinney (BMC), 2. Geraint Thomas (Sky) +0:09, 3. Alex Rasmussen (Garmin-Barracuda) +0:13.

Excitement factor: 2/5.

Image courtesy of GreenEDGE

Stage 3: Horsens to Horsens, 190km

Recap

Matt Goss went one better on the previous day, winning another crash-marred sprint. Roberto Ferrari‘s sudden high-speed swerve across the road took out both points jersey Mark Cavendish and race leader Taylor Phinney. He was unapologetic afterwards, doing little to raise his popularity.

Stage winner: Matt Goss (Orica-GreenEDGE).

General classification: 1. Taylor Phinney (BMC), 2. Geraint Thomas (Sky) +0:09, 3. Alex Rasmussen (Garmin-Barracuda) +0:13.

Excitement factor: 2/5.

Stage 4: Verona, 33.2km team time trial

Recap

Team time trial specialists Garmin-Barracuda surprised no one in winning the TTT, but Katusha raised eyebrows as they clocked up the second-best time, just five seconds down. The Sky and BMC teams of the banged-up Mark Cavendish and Taylor Phinney could only finish ninth and tenth respectively.

Stage winner: Garmin-Barracuda.

General classification: 1. Ramunas Navardauskas (Garmin-Barracuda), 2. Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Barracuda) +0:10, 3. Robert Hunter (Garmin-Barracuda) same time.

Excitement factor: 1/5.

Image courtesy of Wikipedia

Stage 5: Modena to Fano, 209km

Recap

Sky controlled the run-in to the finish, delivering Mark Cavendish into the perfect position to repeat the result of stage two, as held off Matt Goss with little difficulty.

Stage winner: Mark Cavendish (Sky).

General classification: 1. Ramunas Navardauskas (Garmin-Barracuda), 2. Robert Hunter (Garmin-Barracuda) +0:05, 3. Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Barracuda) +0:11.

Excitement factor: 1/5.

Image courtesy of Androni Giocattoli-Venezuela

Stage 6: Urbino to Porto Sant’Elpidio, 210km

Recap

The first medium mountain stage of the race proved too much for overall leader Ramunas Navardauskas, as Miguel Rubiano soloed off the front of the day’s break to win by over a minute. Breakaway companion Adriano Malori finished second to become the first Italian to don the maglia rosa in this year’s race.

Stage winner: Miguel Rubiano (Androni Giocattoli-Venezuela).

General classification: 1. Adriano Malori (Lampre-ISD), 2. Michal Golas (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) +0:15, 3. Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Barracuda) +0:17.

Excitement factor: 3/5.

Image courtesy of Astana

Stage 7: Recanati to Rocca di Cambio, 205km

Recap

The first uphill finish saw multiple attacks on the final climb, putting the top riders under stress for the first time. Paolo Tiralongo out-duelled defending champion Michele Scarponi to take the win, after the pair had caught Jose Herrada, who had been part of an attack earlier on the climb, with just 600 metres to go.

Stage winner: Paolo Tiralongo (Astana).

General classification: 1. Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Barracuda), 2. Paolo Tiralongo (Astana) +0:15, 3. Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) +0:17.

Excitement factor: 4/5.

Image courtesy of Colnago-CSF Inox

Stage 8: Sulmona to Lago Laceno, 229km

Recap

Domenico Pozzovivo attacked halfway up the final climb of Lago Laceno and held off the pack to win by 23 seconds. Maglia rosa Ryder Hesjedal struggled to stay in touch with the main bunch at times, but held on to defend his overall lead.

Stage winner: Domenico Pozzovivo (Colnago-CSF).

General classification: 1. Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Barracuda), 2. Paolo Tiralongo (Astana) +0:09, 3. Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) +0:15.

Excitement factor: 3/5.

Image courtesy of Movistar

Stage 9: San Girogio nel Sannio to Frosinone, 166km

Recap

Francisco Ventoso profited from a crash at the final corner to win a reduced sprint after the sprinters’ teams had kept the attacks under control on the three small climbs situated in the final 10km. Filippo Pozzato ran Matt Goss off the road, with Mark Cavendish one of several riders to be unseated in the aftermath.

Stage winner: Francisco Ventoso (Movistar).

General classification: 1. Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Barracuda), 2. Paolo Tiralongo (Astana) +0:09, 3. Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) +0:15.

Excitement factor: 3/5.

Image courtesy of Katusha

Stage 10: Civitavecchia to Assisi, 186km

Recap

Joaquim Rodriguez sprinted to victory at the top of the steep uphill climb into Assisi after Tom-Jelte Slagter‘s attack had decimated the lead group. He leap-frogged from third to claim the overall lead at the end of a rolling day which saw multiple attacks on both the two ascents and a descent in the final 4km.

Stage winner: Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha).

General classification: 1. Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha), 2. Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Barracuda) +0:17, 3. Paolo Tiralongo (Astana) +0:32.

Excitement factor: 4/5.

Image courtesy of Androni Giocattoli-Venezuela

Stage 11: Assisi to Montecatini Terme, 255km

Recap

Very little happened on the longest stage of this year’s Giro until the fourth category Vico climb 11km from the finish, when a series of attacks was pulled back by the peloton to set up a bunch sprint. Roberto Ferrari won after Mark Cavendish was baulked by one of his own Sky teammates on the final corner.

Stage winner: Roberto Ferrari (Androni Giocattoli-Venezuela).

General classification: 1. Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha), 2. Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Barracuda) +0:17, 3. Paolo Tiralongo (Astana) +0:32.

Excitement factor: 2/5.

Image courtesy of Lotto-Belisol

Stage 12:  Seravezza to Sestri Levante, 155km

Recap

The breakaway succeeded on this rolling stage, but Lars Bak killed off the prospect of a group sprint as he soloed to victory in the final 2km. A disinterested peloton finally arrived 3½ minutes later.

Stage winner: Lars Bak (Lotto-Belisol).

General classification: 1. Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha), 2. Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Barracuda) +0:17, 3. Sandy Casar (FDJ-BigMat) +0:26.

Excitement factor: 1/5.

Image courtesy of Wikipedia

Stage 13: Savona to Cervere, 121km

Recap

A short and sprint-friendly stage gave Mark Cavendish his third win of this year’s race. His Sky team set up the sprint well, but after being boxed in inside the last 700 metres the world champion showed great spatial awareness, patience and acceleration to switch wheels before powering to victory with an impressive jump.

Stage winner: Mark Cavendish (Sky).

General classification: 1. Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha), 2. Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Barracuda) +0:17, 3. Sandy Casar (FDJ-BigMat) +0:26.

Excitement factor: 1/5.

Image courtesy of Movistar

Stage 14: Cherasco to Cervinia, 206km

Recap

Having emerged from the day’s breakaway to lead solo almost all the way up the day’s final Cervinia climb, Andrey Amador was passed by Jan Barta 150 metres from the line, only to find one final burst to sweep him back in front before the line. Meanwhile a late attack by Ryder Hesjedal enabled him to take the maglia rosa back from Joaquim Rodriguez.

Stage winner: Andrey Amador (Movistar).

General classification: 1. Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Barracuda), 2. Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) +0:09, 3. Paolo Tiralongo (Astana) +0:41.

Excitement factor: 4/5.

Image courtesy of Farnese Vini

Stage 15: Busto Arsizio to Lecco/Pian dei Resinelli, 169km

Recap

Matteo Rabottini gained a famous as the sole survivor of the day’s two-man break. He was caught by Joaquim Rodriguez 300 metres from the summit finish at Pian dei Resinelli, but managed to hang on and sling-shot back past the overall leader to complete the job.

Stage winner: Matteo Rabottini (Farnese Vini-Selle Italia).

General classification: 1. Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha), 2. Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Barracuda) +0:30, 3. Ivan Basso (Liquigas-Cannondale) +1:22.

Excitement factor: 4/5.

Image courtesy of Euskaltel-Euskadi

Stage 16: Limone sul Garda to Falzes/Pfalzen, 173km

Recap

Jon Izagirre won from a successful ten-man breakaway, accelerating away after a series of attacks on the punchy climb in the last 5km before maintaining his advantage on the plateau to the finish. The peloton enjoyed an otherwise leisurely outing as they eased back into racing after the rest day.

Stage winner: Jon Izagirre (Euskaltel-Euskadi).

General classification: 1. Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha), 2. Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Barracuda) +0:30, 3. Ivan Basso (Liquigas-Cannondale) +1:22.

Excitement factor: 3/5.

Image courtesy of Katusha

Stage 17: Falzes/Pfalzen to Cortina d’Ampezzo, 186km

Recap

After four tough climbs and a difficult descent to the finish, Joaquim Rodriguez got the jump on his rivals to win the sprint in Cortina at the end of a stage so hard physically that several of the contenders suffered cramp towards the finish. Roman Kreuziger‘s chances of a podium finish went up in smoke after he blew and lost 11 minutes.

Stage winner: Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha).

General classification: 1. Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha), 2. Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Barracuda) +0:30, 3. Ivan Basso (Liquigas-Cannondale) +1:22.

Excitement factor: 3/5.

Image courtesy of Farnese Vini

Stage 18: San Vito di Cadore to Vedelago, 149km

Recap

Andrea Guardini put himself in the ideal position and timed his jump perfectly to shock Mark Cavendish in the bunch sprint. The world champion could only finish second, losing valuable points in his quest to secure the points jersey.

Stage winner: Andrea Guardini (Farnese Vini-Selle Italia).

General classification: 1. Joaquin Rodriguez (Katusha), 2. Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Barracuda) +0:30, 3. Ivan Basso (Liquigas-Cannondale) +1:22.

Excitement factor: 1/5.

Image courtesy of Astana

Stage 19: Treviso to Alpe di Pampeago, 198km

Recap

Roman Kreuziger attacked 25km out to catch the leaders and solo to victory on Alpe di Pampeago. Behind him Ryder Hesjedal comfortably handled a hat-trick of attacks by Michele Scarponi on the steepest part of the climb before riding away from all the leading riders to close to within 17 seconds ahead of Joaquim Rodriguez.

Stage winner: Roman Kreuziger (Astana).

General classification: 1. Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha), 2. Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Barracuda) +0:17, 3. Michele Scarponi (Lampre-ISD) +1:39.

Excitement factor: 4/5.

Image courtesy of Vacansoleil-DCM

Stage 20: Caldes/Val di Sole to Passo dello Stelvio, 219km

Recap

Thomas De Gendt attacked from the peloton on the Mortirolo and bridged across to the leaders before riding everyone off his wheel on the 2,757-metre Stelvio and soloing to a comprehensive victory which moved him into contention for a podium finish. Ryder Hesjedal produced a brilliant defensive ride, but could not prevent a late attack by Joaquim Rodriguez from gaining 14 seconds ahead of the concluding time trial.

Stage winner: Thomas De Gendt (Vacansoleil-DCM).

General classification: 1. Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha), 2. Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Barracuda) +0:31, 3. Michele Scarponi (Lampre-ISD) +1:51.

Excitement factor: 5/5.

Image courtesy of BMC

Stage 21: Milan, 30km individual time trial

Recap

Geraint Thomas again had to settle for second place in a time trial as Marco Pinotti took a popular victory to give BMC a pair of wins in the two individual time trials that bookended the race. Joaquim Rodriguez rode bravely in defence of the maglia rosa but fell 16 seconds short as he was overhauled by Ryder Hesjedal, while Thomas De Gendt leapfrogged outgoing champion Michele Scarponi to take the final step on the podium.

Stage winner: Marco Pinotti (BMC).

General classification: 1. Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Barracuda), 2. Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) +0:16, 3. Thomas De Gendt (Vacansoleil-DCM) +1:39

Excitement factor: 4/5.

Roll of honour

Overall winner: Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Barracuda).

Points winner: Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha).

King of the Mountains winner: Matteo Rabottini (Farnese Vini-Selle Italia).

Best young riderRigoberto Uran (Sky).

Team prize: Lampre-ISD.

Link: Official website

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