A day of chaos and suffering at the Giro d’Italia
The rain and wind wreaked havoc on stage 12, which took the riders on the Imola motorsport circuit.
On Thursday, the peloton left Marche behind and headed to Romagna, a region with strong links to cycling since the beginning of the 20th century, even before the race was born. As soon as a breakaway formed, Quick-Step Floors' Eros Capecchi and Rémi Cavagna moved to the head of the bunch and set a steady tempo behind the five escapees, keeping them in check and reducing the deficit once the race passed the halfway point.
At 214 kilometers in length, the stage wasn't an easy one, and after Forli things became more complicated, due to the lashing rain, an unwelcomed guest which impacted heavily on the way the things unfolded. With 30 kilometers to go, the weather turned atrocious and as consequence split the field, leaving several riders stranded. Elia Viviani was in the second group which pushed hard to return to the front, but just as they made the junction, an attack of Tim Wellens (Lotto-Soudal) buried any hopes the Italian still had of fighting for victory at the Giro's fourth visit on the Autodromo di Imola, one of the fastest circuits in the world.
The peloton, despite being in pieces and not well-organised, chased down the Belgian and caught him on the famous Tre Monti climb (4.4km, 4.1%), where Vittorio Adorni won the World Championships back in 1968, but as soon as they reeled him in, three other men tried their luck with an attack that they carried with until 400 meters to go, when Sam Bennett (Bora-hansgrohe) surprised the bunch with an acceleration and took the win over Danny van Poppel (LottoNL-Jumbo) and Niccolo Bonifazio (Bahrain-Merida).
Quick-Step Floors had two riders in the top 10 – Michael Mørkøv (6th) and Florian Sénéchal (9th) – while Elia Viviani, despite not being in the main group to contest the sprint, retained the maglia ciclamino, which he took on the opening weekend of the Corsa Rosa.
"The Giro d'Italia is very long and hard and it's normal to have a bad day. Today – with the wind, rain and cold temperatures – was unfortunately one of these days for Elia. It's not the result we had hoped for at the start of the stage, but there will be other chances and we look forward to these with the same confidence", sports director Davide Bramati said after the first of the week's two flat stages.
Photo credit: ©Tim De Waele/ Getty Images