Roelandts Sprints to Fifth in Hectic Giro d’Italia Stage 12 Finale17. May 2018, Imola (ITA) — Road Team
Jürgen Roelandts sprinted to fifth place in the hectic finale of stage 12 of the Giro d’Italia, with heavy rain causing chaos on the formula 1 circuit finish.
The 214km stage was relatively uneventful until the finale as five riders attacked from kilometer 0 to form the day’s breakaway, which set the stage for a steady 150km to come.
With an expected bunch sprint on the cards, the peloton kept the quintet’s advantage to below five minutes as kilometer after kilometer was ticked off.
Rain started to fall in the final 80km at which point the peloton started to bring the breakaway’s advantage down and as the race reached the 40km to go mark, cross winds caused a split in the bunch.
With multiple General Classification contenders and sprinters caught behind, teams immediately sent riders to the front of the first group to try and maintain the 30-second gap.
Rohan Dennis was well positioned at the front of the first group with Alessandro De Marchi, Jempy Drucker, and Francisco Ventoso by his side, but ultimately the chase from behind brought the two groups back together with 20km to go.
Tim Wellens (Lotto Soudal) attacked as the groups came back together and managed to stay away for 10km on the last climb, after which Dennis tested the situation with an increase of pace at the front of the group.
De Marchi took over with the pace setting as the group approached the Imola Formula 1 circuit finish before two more riders tried their luck with an attack, but the determination from the sprinters’ teams saw the group come back together once more to set the stage for a bunch sprint.
Roelandts was sitting in third wheel going under the flamme rouge but was boxed in slightly in the final 500m, at which point Sam Bennett (Bora-hansgrohe) launched his sprint and took the win with a clear margin over the group behind, from which Roelandts claimed fifth place.
Dennis crossed the line safely with the main group to retain his seventh place overall, 2’36” behind race leader Simon Yates (Mitchelton-SCOTT).
Quotes from the Finish Line
"I was around Elia Viviani (Quickstep-Floors) because he had four teammates, but then we were in the second group once it split, with Domencio Pozzovivo and Richard Carapaz. We went really fast and came back on the uphill before the circuit. With the heavy rain it was quite technical, and I tried to move up as fast as possible and then threw out my rain jacket when we crossed the finish line the first time. I think it was all up to the legs. I did a good climb and we were only with 30 riders at the top. Alessandro De Marchi brought me to the front and I was in Bennett's wheel with 3km to go. He was waiting for support and some EF Education-First guys came up. With the last turn and the rain I thought it was better to stay up the front but I think actually it would have been better to stay with Bennett. He surprised me. I was in third position and he went with about 400m to go. I was a bit boxed in with 300m to go but I think if I had positioned myself better then I could have been second or third. But I could not have beaten Bennett."
“I was surprised as there were some crosswinds there and when it split I was actually a bit excited. Obviously we were in front and the gap was about 40 seconds and I was thinking that it was potentially really good for taking time out of someone like [Domenico] Pozzovivo (Bahrain-Merida Pro Cycling Team) and making a bit of a gain on some of the GC guys. With 10km to go, I was sitting on Mike Woods (EF Education-First Drapac) and he was bringing back an attack from [Sergio] Henao (Team Sky). Then I noticed that he was a bit tired so I thought if he is, then others probably would be as well. So, I thought I would test my legs and test everyone else. They didn’t really want to work with me which was a bit of a pain but it was also probably a little bit too far, there was a bit of a downhill so we probably would have been caught anyway. But it was good to feel good.”
Stage 12 Osimo > Imola (214km)
Top 3: 1. Sam Bennett (Bora-hansgrohe), 2. Danny Van Poppel (Team LottoNL-Jumbo), 3. Niccolo Bonifacio (Bahrain-Merida Pro Cycling Team).
BMC Racing Team top 3: 5. Jürgen Roelandts, 15. Jempy Drucker, 23. Rohan Dennis.