Giro d’Italia 2021 : Stage 12 – Vendrame survives breakaway squabbles; GC favorites sleep it off

Despite having an exciting route on paper, Stage 12 of the Giro d’Italia proved once again that long grand tour stages are very rarely exciting. With a breakaway more than 10 minutes up the road, the peloton took an opportunity to recover from yesterday’s excitement. Up ahead, the race got only slightly kinky as Andrea Vandrame (AG2R La Citroen) outsprinted DSM’s Chris Hamilton, while George Bennett (Jumbo Visma) and Gianluca Brambilla (Trek-Segafredo) had a lover’s quarrel in the race for 3rd and 4th place.

The Final KM

After the longest stage of the Giro d’Italia thus far, it came down to a sprint to the line between Chris Hamilton and Andrea Vendrame. Both riders had played their day tactically brilliant, but Vendrame’s ability to thrive in bunch sprints proved to be his secret weapon.

The Race To Lose The Stage

In what increasingly became a mystifying situation, George Bennett and Gianluca Brambilla engaged in a breakaway squabble that ultimately became a fight to see which of them could lose the stage the quickest.

The situation escalated in the final kilometres as Bennett and Brambilla bickered a few bike lengths off the back of Hamilton and Vendrame. Whilst they did, Hamilton launched an attack that distanced the sad sacks. With the tension already high between them, neither offered to help the other close the gap, and the stage victory disappeared up the road.

The prime beef really got overcooked at the sprint to the line, where Brambilla swerved and pushed Bennett towards the barriers. He was later relegated (from 3rd to 4th place) and had choice words for the Kiwi after the line. Churlish behaviour from the Italian, if I do say so!

The Shark Bites Back. . .Barely

The one bit of excitement from the general classification riders came in the form of Vincenzo Nibali, who started the day more than 4 minutes down on the maglia rosa. The ageing shark attempted to sink his teeth into the downhill run to the finish but came up with only the slightest of nibbles.

At the end of the day, Nibali managed to gain just 7 seconds on the peloton. Womp, womp. But hey, at least he didn’t swim backward today!

Ganna’s Hips Don’t Lie

We first discovered Filippo Ganna‘s illustrious grand tour artistry at last year’s Giro, and the big man has only won our hearts over even more this year with his soft, yet corporal punishment of both the Italian roads and peloton.

Can you imagine sitting behind those hips? *Swoon* That would be a sight. Extremely painful for one’s legs, but a sight nevertheless. Those hips don’t lie, baby!

The day abandoned

While the first week of the Giro saw only a handful of abandons compared to recent years, the early part of today’s stage made up for it. May we forever remember their sacrifices to our fantasy teams, especially Marc Soler.

After having an extreme Marc Soler-like day yesterday, the Movistarlette crashed at the start of the stage.

Former race leader Alessandro De Marchi also went down hard and it was one of those crashes that made cycling fans stop everything until we found out he was okay. Thankfully, there was no head injury, just broken bones (if you saw the crash, you would know why ‘just broken bones’ was good news) and our thoughts remain with him as he begins the recovery process.

As I was kindly reminded by a fellow Voice this morning, today’s abandons mean 4 of my fantasy team riders have abandoned. I apologise for cursing you four with my selection, dearest friends.

The Wolfpack: Movistar Edition

Surely we thought that Quickstep reached peak dissent during yesterday’s stage when Remco Evenepoel ripped out his earpiece and Joao Almeida appeared to – off and on – begrudgingly pull his young Belgian teammate to the finish. But NO! In a move that tops Movistar’s nonsensical dynamics, Quickstep upped the ante with more dissent.

As if Almeida’s silence wasn’t enough to raise eyebrows, Remco told the media that he is the leader of the team. He also said that radios weren’t working accurately and the team car wasn’t receiving live TV images. Of course, that’s not what the Quickstep team director said. . . who claimed it was simply a bad day for the team.

Let’s get serious for a moment, though. The whole Wolfpack nonsense has always been ridiculous. I get remarkable joy from seeing these young wolves going off on their own. Plus, we’ve lost the chaos of Movistar. Obviously, natural selection is doing its part.

The Final Word


Stage 12 Top 5 

1 Andrea Vendrame (AG2R Citroën Team) 5:43:48

2 Christopher Hamilton (Team BDSM) s.t.

3 George Bennett (Jumbo-Visma) +0:15

4 Gianluca Brambilla (Trek-Segafredo)

5 Giovanni Visconti (Bardiani CSF Faizane) +01:12

GC Top 10 

1 Egan Bernal Gomez (Ineos Grenadiers) 48:29:23

2 Aleksandr Vlasov (Astana-Premier Tech) +0:45

3 Damiano Caruso (Bahrain Victorious) +1:12

4 Hugh Carthy (EF Education-Nippo) +1:17

5 Simon Yates (Team BikeExchange) +1:22

6 Emanuel Buchmann (Bora-Hansgrohe) +1:50

7 Remco Evenepoel (Deceuninck-New Movistar) +2:22

8 Giulio Ciccone (Trek-Segafredo) +2:24

9 Tobias Foss (Jumbo-Visma) +2:49

10 Daniel Martinez (Ineos Grenadiers) +3:15

All the jerseys

Leader’s jersey Egan Bernal (INEOS Grenadiers)

Points jersey Peter Sagan (BORA-hansgrohe)

King of the Mountains Geoffrey Bouchard (Ag2r Citroen)

Best Young Rider Egan Bernal (INEOS Grenadiers)

For full race reviews, go to cyclingnews.

Official race website: Giro d’Italia

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