Giro d’Italia 2022
Stefano Oldani (Alpecin-Fenix) secured his first professional career win with victory on stage 12 of the Giro d’Italia, becoming the second Italian rider in as many days to win at their home Grand Tour.
Part of a breakaway group formed of three riders, the 24-year-old beat Lorenzo Rota (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux) and Gijs Leemreize (Jumbo-Visma) in a sprint in the closing stages.
Initially, 25 riders were part of the breakaway, which dominated the majority of the race. However, at the summit of the second categorised climb of the day at La Colletta, Stefano Oldani (Alpecin-Fenix), Gijs Leemreize (Jumbo-Visma) and Lorenzo Rota (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux) formed a three-rider leading group.
The trio managed to build up a strong distance between themselves and the other groups which inevitably attempted to chase them down, while the main GC contenders seemed comfortable sticking nearly nine minutes back on the front riders. In the end, though, it was Oldani’s superior kick and strength that managed to hand him his first career win.
Stage 12 presented the longest stage at this year’s Giro d’Italia, with the riders covering 204km between Parma and Genova. Three major climbs featured on the stage, with breakaway riders expected throughout the course of the event.
However, during the first 50km, no rider managed to create a large enough gap between themselves and the peloton to form a lasting breakaway. Due to the small incline heading up to the first of the major climbs at Passa del Bocco, the peloton were comfortably able to stay in touching distance with any attack.
The pace was extremely quick in the opening hour of racing, though, perhaps giving reason as to why no breakaway could form. In the first 60 minutes, the peloton covered a rather impressive 53km, with the intermediate sprint to Borgo Val di Taro coming after 56km, offering vital points in the points classification. Arnaud Démare (Groupama-FDJ) seemed eager to get to extend his lead here, attacking to cross the intermediate sprint line first ahead of Fernando Gaviria (UAE Team Emirates).
Multiple, small attacks soon followed, but the intense pace of the opening 60km made it difficult for anyone to truly open up some distance. It wasn’t until a group containing 22 riders attacked that a gap was created, though it didn’t contain any GC contenders. Halfway up the first climb their time gap stood at around 30 seconds from the peloton, which had Ineos Grenadiers working hard at the front of to try and reduce the deficit. Alessandro de Marchi (Israel-Premier Tech) and Dries De Bondt (Alpecin-Fenix) rode in between the peloton and leaders, as they also tried to bridge across to the front.
The peloton soon caught the pair, but the breakaway group’s lead kept rising up the Passa del Bocco climb. At the summit, the leading group had built up a gap of over five minutes, which soon welcomed Luca Covili (Bardiani–CSF–Faizanè), Davide Gaburro (Bardiani–CSF–Faizanè) and Edoardo Zardini (Drone Hopper-Androni Giocattoli) to make the group 25 riders strong. Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo) was the first rider over the climb, taking the nine king of mountains classification points.
Featuring in the Giro for the first time since the death of Wouter Weylandt in 2011, the descent of Passa del Bocco honoured the Belgian rider.
Lorenzo Rota (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux) won the second king of mountains sprint to La Colletta with 50km left in the race, with the peloton’s gap back staying steady around the five-minute mark.
Stefano Oldani (Alpecin-Fenix) and Gijs Leemreize (Jumbo-Visma) decided to follow Rota for the descent of La Colleta, while Davide Ballerini (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl) attempted to give chase by himself. The Italian was unsuccessful in his pursuit, and he soon dropped back to the main chasing group, where multiple attacks were launched at the same time.
Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix) and Magnus Cort (EF Education-EasyPost) were among those riders attacking, but both also failed in their attempts. Soon, a chase group of four formed, with Santiago Buitrago (Bahrain-Victorious), Wilco Kelderman (Bora-Hansgrohe), Lucas Hamilton (BikeExchange-Jayco) and Mollema a part of this quartet.
The final classified climb of Valico di Trensasco came 30km from the finish, a 4.3km ascent at an average gradient of 8%. At this stage, the main chasing group were 40 seconds back on the leaders, with the peloton nearly eight minutes behind Rota, Oldani and Lemmreize. 17 riders from the original breakaway group were also somewhere in between, closer to the front than they were to the peloton.
Heading into the final 20km, and the leading trio of riders managed to extend the distance to the first chasing group marginally, the time gap rising to 50 seconds. A win for Rota, Oldani and Leemreize would represent their first-ever Grand Tour victory – for Rota, it would be his first career win as a professional. The peloton, meanwhile, were making no inroads as it was a further eight minutes 30 seconds back.
The picture remained largely unchanged going into the final 5km in Genoa, as it seemed inevitable the three riders at the front would take the podium spots. Presenting the perfect opportunity for any of the rider to take their first Grand Tour stage win, each seemed reluctant to steal a march.
Leemreize did launch an attack with a kilometre remaining, though, but this was swiftly caught as the game of cat and mouse developed. The Jumbo-Visma was the first to launch an attack, but quickly ran out of gas as he ended up finishing third.
That just left Oldani and Rota to battle for the line, with Oldani just coming out on top. Rota picked up a good slipstream off of Oldani, who had attacked earlier, but he just couldn’t overtake the Alpecin-Fenix rider on the run to the line.
The chasing group finished a further 57 seconds back on Oldani and co, with the remaining riders from the breakaway crossing the line in dribs and drabs. Meanwhile, the peloton, which included all of the top riders on GC, finished a further nine minutes back, as Juan Pedro López (Trek-Segafredo) holds onto the maglia rosa for a ninth day tomorrow in the 13th stage.
Tomorrow’s stage 13 features the Colle di Nava in the first part of the 150 kilometres race. Once that climb has been done the last 100 kilometres to Cuneo are as good as flat.
The first part of the race mirrors the 2020 edition of Milano-San Remo. The riders follow the Ligurian Coast to turn left and continue inland in Imperia. The route climbs false flat on the Colle San Bartolomeo before descending to the foot of the Colle di Nava. On this side the climb is 9.1 kilometres long, while the average gradient sits at 6.8%.
There are still more than 100 kilometres remaining at the top of the Colle di Nava. This section is virtually flat.
The riders reach Cuneo with 2 kilometres remaining. The rest of the route climbs false flat to the line.
Stage 12 result:
1. Stefano Oldani (Ita) Alpecin-Fenix, in 4:26:47
2. Lorenzo Rota (Ita) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux, at same time
3. Gijs Leemreize (Ned) Jumbo-Visma, at 2s
4. Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek-Segafredo, at 57s
5. Santiago Buitrago (Col) Bahrain-Victorious, at same time
6. Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Bora-Hansgrohe
7. Lucas Hamilton (Aus) BikeExchange-Jayco
8. Andrea Vendrame (Ita) AG2R Citroën, at 1:44
9. Rein Taaramäe (Est) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux, at 1:49
10. Pascal Eenkhoorn (Ned) Jumbo-Visma, at 2:55
1. Juan Pedro López (Esp) Trek-Segafredo, in 51:19:07
2. Richard Carapaz (Ecu) Ineos Grenadiers, at 12s
3. João Almeida (Por) UAE Team Emirates, at same time
4. Romain Bardet (Fra) Team DSM, at 14s
5. Jai Hindley (Aus) Bora-Hansgrohe, at 20s
6. Guillaume Martin (Fra) Cofidis, at 28s
7. Mikel Landa (Esp) Bahrain Victorious, at 28s
8. Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux, at 54s
9. Emanuel Buchmann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe, at 1:09
10. Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar, at 1:23