The rain dampened the Giro d’Italia today but not for Ineos’s Jhonatan Narvaez who (with a large slice of good fortune) soloed to the win. Mark Padun of Bahrain McLaren (who had a large slice of bad luck) trailed in over a minute behind, with Simon Clarke (EF) completing the podium. The GC riders had a tough day but they came through mostly unscathed and Joao Almeida can keep on sleeping with his pink jersey.
How the stage was won
Stage 12, which started and finished in Cesenatico, had nearly 4000 metres of climbing, a lot of rain and some very cold riders by the end.
The stage was on the cusp of lighting up 2020’s Giro: we almost had a thrilling two-man chase to the line and we almost had a GC ambush.
Instead, a mechanical for Mark Padun with 24km to go allowed Jhonatan Narvaez to ride away to the finish line for the biggest win of the 23-year-old’s career.
Further up the road, Domenico Pozzovivo’s NTT team looked like they were planning something spicy. Driving a huge pace at the front of the peloton, they caused a Bonfire of the Domestiques™. With riders like Vincenzo Nibali (Trek) and Jakob Fuglsang (Astana) exposed with no friends in town we were all prepared for a bit of a GC shake-up … but it never came.
Instead of spice, we got a dose of deja vu. Another win for Ineos, another win for the breakaway, another win for Ecuador and another stage with unfulfilled potential. The race does have the blue touchpaper, but does anyone actually have a match?
But still, we can feel the emotions of the stage.
Narvaez said after the stage:
“I’m really happy. In the last days I tried to get into the breakaway but it was too difficult and the peloton was too strong. Today it was again the same but I was able to get up the road and I’m so happy to win from the break.“We’ve been fighting every day and finally today I did it!”
A fellow Ecuadorian was happy too
Tell you what, the Hagens Berman Axeon Cycling Team have been having a blinder of a Giro and they’re not even there!
What a difference a wheel makes
It would be easier to name the riders who didn’t have mechanical problems today, with bike changes coming fast and furious.
Mark Padun had been working fabulously with Narvaez since they broke free from their longtime breakaway companions on the day’s last climb. It looked set to be a battle that would go all the way but, just over 20km from the end, Padun’s wheel gave out. The Ukrainian was left waiting for his team car, Narvaez set off into the distance.
The Bahrain rider chased for all he was worth. He closed to within ten seconds of his Ineos quarry at one point, but couldn’t make the catch.
Crossing the line, his face was full of misery and his head full of might-have-beens.
It would be patronising to say they were both winners but Midge sums it up perfectly here:
The fourth-placed man can tell you.
Just how sticky can you make a sticky bottle? This sticky!
This got him and his DS a 200CHF fine each. Then another 200CHF fine for throwing the bidon away.
Sometimes you just got to zig-zig
At one point Simon Clarke looked like he was going to bag another stage for the EF lucky duckers
The Final Word
Could we be approaching the final stage?
Stage 12 Results
1 Jhonatan Narvaez (Ineos Grenediers) 5:31:24
2 Mark Padun (Bahrain-NeedNewWheels) +1:08
3 Simon Clarke (EF-Quack) +6:50
4 Joey Rosskopf (CCC Music Factory) +7:30
5 Simon Pellaud (Androni Lotsa Sponsors) +7:43
GC Top 10
1 Joao Almeida (Deceuninck-QuickStep) 49:21:46
2 Wilco Kelderman (Team Sunweb) +0:34
3 Pello Bilbao (Bahrain McLaren) +0:43
4 Domenico Pozzovivo (NTT Pro Cycling) +0:57
5 Vincenzo Nibali (Trek-Segafredo) +1:01
6 Patrick Konrad (Bora-hansgrohe) +1:15
7 Jai Hindley (Team Sunweb) +1:19
8 Rafal Majka (Bora-Hansgrohe) +1:21
9 Fausto Masnada (Deceuninck-QuickStep) +1:36
10 Jakob Fuglsang (Astana) +2:20
All the jerseys
Leader’s jersey Joao Almeida (Deceuninck-QuickStep)
Points jersey Arnaud Demare (Groupama-FDJ)
King of the Mountains Ruben Guerreiro (EF Pro Cycling)
Best Young Rider Joao Almeida (Deceuninck-QuickStep)
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Official race website: Giro d’Italia
Header: ©GETTY/AFP/Luca Bettini