Germany's Nico Denz of the Bora Hansgrohe Team won a mountainous stage 12 of the Giro d'Italia on Thursday as Geraint Thomas safely defended the overall leader's pink jersey.
Denz and a group of teammates covered the route from Bras to Rivoli eight minutes faster than the main peloton, carried over the finish line by Ineos rider Pavel Sivkov, with no deep impact on Wednesday from his fall Did not see.
“I'm over the moon,” said Denz, who revealed he had long planned to win the stage after a massive breakaway for the three-up sprint into the town of Rivoli.
“I prepared that stage really well. I had it in my mind beforehand, but I also had a pretty quick finish and that saved me in the end,” said Denz, in his sixth Giro d' Running to Italia.
Thomas remains two seconds ahead of new race favorite Primoz Rogić in the overall classification, hoping for a far better performance than the Welshman in the mountains to come.
And just 22 seconds behind rising Joao Almeida Thomas of Team UAE Emirates, aiming to finish third.
“I would be happy with a podium place, but the climb suits me and yes, I am here to win, let's see,” said Almeida, who rides for the same outfit as Tadej Pogacar.
He will have to do so without teammate Alessandro Covi, who fell on Wednesday and then suffered the impact as Ineos rider Thomas landed right on top of him, although the Welshman was offered a softer landing. He finished the stage but is now out of the Giro.
– Sivakov and the survivors –
With the Giro already lost 40 of the original 176 riders and nine stages remaining Ineos dropped 2020 Giro champion Tao Geoghegan Hart on Wednesday, but his leader Thomas was pleased that another follower How was Pavel Sivkov progressing.
“It was a great sign to see (riding Powell). He ran on the front from the bottom of the climb all the way to the end. It must have been close to 40km. He's certainly looking fine. He's a batter and tough Man it's great that he's still riding well in the team,” said a relieved overall race leader.
“It gave us two good options when myself and (Tao) were there. Obviously he's not here anymore. It's a blow to the team. We've still got a good strong unit here. We need a lot from the team Got morale.” Great start to the year and hopefully we can keep it going.”
On friday, the Giro detours to a mountain stage in Switzerland that should have been the highest peak on the route but has been shortened due to an avalanche risk.
However, the race would take on the Col du Grand-Saint-Bernard for a 13.1 km climb at 7.2 per cent gradient and the 15.4 km Croix-de-Cœur climb at 8.8 per cent gradient.
This will likely change the overall standings and the alpine peaks signal a new phase of the Giro and many ambitions will be broken or achieved in this mountainous final week.