Ireland’s Bennett wins stage 12 as Yates retains lead

Sam Bennett raises a hand in celebration as he wins at Imola

Sam Bennett kicked early to win in style on the Imola circuit

Ireland’s Sam Bennett won a sprint finish on the Imola racing circuit to take stage 12 of the Giro d’Italia.

In dire conditions, what should have been 214km of build-up to a bunch sprint instead became another thriller.

And the 27-year-old Bennett judged his move to perfection to take the win from Danny van Poppel and Niccolo Bonifazio.

Britain’s Simon Yates, who won Wednesday’s stage into Osimo, maintains his overall lead on Tom Dumoulin at 47 seconds.

Bennett, who also won stage seven into Praia a Mare, becomes the first Irishman to win multiple stages at one of the sport’s Grand Tours since the great Sean Kelly at the Vuelta a Espana of 1988.

He said: “It was a tough finale. I didn’t know how much energy the two riders in front had left at the end.

“I decided to go early – I didn’t know if I could hold it but I think I caught a few by surprise so that worked to my advantage.”

Heavy rain had begun to fall with just over an hour of racing to go, and caused splits in the peloton as the roads filled with standing water and spray kicked up from the wheels.

Quick-step Floors’ Italian sprinter Elia Viviani, winner of two sprint stages in the Giro’s first week and one of the favourites for this stage, was one of those caught out, and Bennett’s Bora-Hansgrohe team went to the front of the main group to drive the pace on.

Yates was being well protected by his Mitchelton-Scott team-mates as the pack approached the final 15 kilometres on the racetrack.

Tim Wellens was the first to make a move but was caught with 10km to go as lightning strikes flashed in the darkening sky.

The course then left the circuit for a brief climb and Carlos Betancur and Diego Ulissi were the next to make a move, holding a slim six-second lead on a twisty, sodden descent before Matej Mohoric went to the front.

But Bennett’s power took him clear as he launched a long sprint with 400 metres to go, with none of his rivals able to stay with him.

Bennett’s win narrows Viviani’s lead in the points classification, with another sprinters’ stage to come on Friday before the race takes on the fearsome Zoncolan climb on Saturday.

Stage 12 result:

1. Sam Bennett (Irl/Bora-Hansgrohe) 4hrs 49mins 34secs

2. Danny van Poppel (Ned/LottoNL-Jumbo) same time

3. Niccolo Bonifazio (Ita/Bahrain-Merida)

4. Baptiste Planckaert (Bel/Katusha-Alpecin)

5. Jurgen Roelandts (Bel/BMC Racing Team)

6. Michael Morkov (Den/Quick-Step Floors)

7. Manuel Belletti (Ita/Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec)

8. Clement Venturini (Fra/AG2R La Mondiale)

9. Florian Senechal (Fra/Quick-Step Floors)

10. Enrico Battaglin (Ita/LottoNL-Jumbo)

Overall standing after stage 12:

1. Simon Yates (GB/Mitchelton-Scott) 51hrs 57mins 55secs

2. Tom Dumoulin (Ned/Team Sunweb) +47secs

3. Thibaut Pinot (Fra/Groupama-FDJ) +1min 4secs

4. Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita/Bahrain-Merida) +1min 18secs

5. Richard Carapaz (Ecu/Movistar) +1min 56secs

6. George Bennett (NZ/LottoNL-Jumbo) +2mins 9secs

7. Rohan Dennis (Aus/BMC Racing Team) +2mins 36secs

8. Pello Bilbao (Spa/Astana Pro Team) +2mins 54secs

9. Patrick Konrad (Aut/Bora-Hansgrohe) +2mins 55secs

10. Fabio Aru (Ita/UAE Team Emirates) +3mins 10secs

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Britain’s Yates wins stage 11 to extend Giro lead

Simon Yates celebrates winning stage 11 of the Giro d'Italia

Simon Yates is only the second British rider after Mark Cavendish to win multiples stages in the same Giro

Britain’s Simon Yates put in a sublime late attack to win his second stage of the Giro d’Italia and extend his advantage in the leader’s pink jersey.

Mitchelton-Scott rider Yates, 25, kicked with 1.5km to go and held off the pursuit of defending champion Tom Dumoulin to win in Osimo.

Yates, who won stage nine on Sunday, now leads Dumoulin by 47 seconds overall.

Team Sky’s Chris Froome lost more time, finishing 40 seconds down on Yates.

The four-time Tour de France champion has dropped to 12th overall, three minutes 20 seconds behind Yates, following Wednesday’s 156km stage from Assisi.

Yates, who picked himself to win this stage in his guide for BBC Sport, is only the second Briton after sprinter Mark Cavendish to win multiple stages in the same Giro.

Yates masters testing finale


Simon Yates crossed ahead of main rival Tom Dumoulin, who is expected to gain between one and two minutes on Yates during stage 16

With two steep climbs in a testing final 5km, including cobbles and sections of 16% gradient, the peloton sprinted to the foot of the first rise, swallowing up the final two riders from the breakaway, Luis Leon Sanchez and Alessandro de Marchi.

Quick-Step Floors’ Zdenek Stybar attacked, with stage four winner Tim Wellens bridging across as the pair built up a nine-second gap on the descent.

Froome was already in trouble behind, but Yates and the rest of the favourites reeled in the leading pair as the road started to rise again, with the Briton set up by Australian team-mate Jack Haig to kick on and quickly establish a lead.

Dumoulin responded well to limit his losses, with Domenico Pozzovivo and Thibaut Pinot close behind, but Yates was able to sustain his tempo over the crest of the final climb to cross the line two seconds in front of the Dutchman, also picking up four bonus seconds for victory.

Yates needs every second of advantage he can get over Dumoulin, with the world time trial champion expected to complete the 34.2km individual time trial on stage 16 between one and two minutes faster than the Briton.

But with the way Yates is climbing, the contest for the maglia rosa looks set to continue deep into the final week before the race ends in Rome on 27 May.

“It was an extremely difficult final,” Yates told Eurosport. “I’m super happy but would like a few easy days now before we get to the mountains.

“I need more time on these sort of stages. Because they are quite explosive, I can gain a second or two on Tom here. He’s a steady climber so it might be harder to drop him when we get to the longer climbs.”

Froome will ‘keep fighting’


Chris Froome become only the third rider to win the Tour de France-Vuelta a Espana double in 2017

Froome’s bid to become just the third rider to win three successive Grand Tours already looks to be over, while a place on the podium is also slipping away.

The 32-year-old again could not respond to the attacks of his rivals on a short, sharp climb, while key team-mate Sergio Henao was also caught up in a crash during the finale.

Yet Froome said he would not consider pulling out of the race to focus instead on winning a fifth Tour title in July.

“My crash before the opening stage in Jersualem took a whack out of me. I’ve had a lot of pain down my right-hand side, and if you’re not at your best, there is nowhere to hide,” he told Eurosport.

“I’m going to keep fighting – it’s good to get the racing in my legs and I’ve not given up hope. You saw with Esteban Chaves losing time on stage 10 how quickly this race can change so I’m going to keep plugging away.

“I’m genuinely happy for Simon. It’s amazing to see another Briton in the pink jersey and he’s got a real chance of winning it.”

Thursday’s stage 12 runs 214km from Osimo to Imola and is expected to end in a bunch sprint finish.

Stage 11 result:

1. Simon Yates (GB/Mitchelton-Scott) 3hrs 25mins 53secs

2. Tom Dumoulin (Ned/Team Sunweb) +2secs

3. Davide Formolo (Ita/Bora-Hansgrohe) +5secs

4. Alexandre Geniez (Fra/AG2R La Mondiale) +8secs

5. Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita/Bahrain-Merida) same time

6. Patrick Konrad (Aut/Bora-Hansgrohe)

7. Thibaut Pinot (Fra/Groupama-FDJ)

8. Maximilian Schachmann (Ger/Quick-Step Floors) +11secs

9. Rohan Dennis (Aus/BMC Racing Team) +18secs

10. Fabio Aru (Ita/UAE Team Emirates) +21secs

Overall standing after stage 11:

1. Simon Yates (GB/Mitchelton-Scott) 47hrs 8mins 21secs

2. Tom Dumoulin (Ned/Team Sunweb) +47secs

3. Thibaut Pinot (Fra/Groupama-FDJ) +1min 4secs

4. Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita/Bahrain-Merida) +1min 18secs

5. Richard Carapaz (Ecu/Movistar) +1min 56secs

6. George Bennett (NZ/LottoNL-Jumbo) +2mins 9secs

7. Rohan Dennis (Aus/BMC Racing Team) +2mins 36secs

8. Pello Bilbao (Spa/Astana Pro Team) +2mins 54secs

9. Patrick Konrad (Aut/Bora-Hansgrohe) +2mins 55secs

10. Fabio Aru (Ita/UAE Team Emirates) +3mins 10secs


12. Chris Froome (GB/Team Sky) +3mins 20secs

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Mohoric outsprints Denz to take stage 10 as GB’s Yates maintains overall lead

Matej Mohoric

Mohoric sprinted over the line to take his team Bahrain-Merida’s first stage win of this 101st Giro

Matej Mohoric outsprinted Nico Denz to take victory on stage 10 of the Giro d’Italia as Britain’s Simon Yates stayed in the leader’s pink jersey.

The pair had broken clear late on a six-hour, 239km stage from Penne to Gualdo Tadino.

Yates now has a 41-second lead over second place, reigning champion Tom Dumoulin moving up after Colombia’s Esteban Chaves endured a brutal day.

Team Sky’s Chris Froome is now two minutes 30 seconds down on the lead.

Chaves had been in second, a mere 32 seconds down on his Mitchelton-Scott team-mate Yates, after winning on stage six on Mount Etna and staying with Yates until the death on Sunday’s steep finish up Gran Sasso d’Italia.

But despite Monday’s rest-day the 28-year-old paid heavily for his efforts and lost a huge amount of time on the general classification.

Yates had earlier taken three bonus seconds at an intermediate sprint to extend his lead in the maglia rosa, on a day that had been expected to feature a breakaway and a bunch sprint.

Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec rider Marco Frapporti instead made a solo move and at one stage had a lead of two and a half minutes before a small group bridged across.

As heavy rain threatened, Dumoulin needed the help of team-mate Sam Oomen to get back to the maglia rosa group after going wide on a corner and crashing with 18km to go.

A denuded group of Davide Villella, Denz and Mohoric then built a lead of one minute 12 seconds over the peloton with 12km to go before Villella was dropped as the Slovenian and German broke clear.

Mohoric then held off the challenge of Denz as the pair duelled in the final 300m to take his team Bahrain-Merida’s first stage win of this 101st Giro.

Yates finished safely in the peloton as he looks to become the first British winner of the Giro, the race still to take in the climbs of the Alps before it finishes in Rome on Sunday 27 May.

Stage 10 result:

1 Matej Mohoric (Slo/Bahrain-Merida) 6hrs 4mins 52secs

2 Nico Denz (Ger/AG2R La Mondiale) same time

3 Sam Bennett (Irl/Bora-Hansgrohe) +34secs

4 Enrico Battaglin (Ita/LottoNL-Jumbo) same time

5 Davide Ballerini (Ita/Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec)

6 Mads Wurtz Schmidt (Den/Katusha-Alpecin)

7 Francesco Gavazzi (Ita/Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec)

8 Jarlinson Pantano (Col/Trek-Segafredo)

9 Gianluca Brambilla (Ita/Trek-Segafredo)

10 Jose Gonçalves (Por/Katusha-Alpecin)

General classification after stage 10:

1 Simon Yates (GB/Mitchelton-Scott) 43hrs 42mins 38secs

2 Tom Dumoulin (Ned/Team Sunweb) +41secs

3 Thibaut Pinot (Fra/Groupama-FDJ) +46secs

4 Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita/Bahrain-Merida) +1min

5 Richard Carapaz (Ecu/Movistar Team) +1min 23secs

6 George Bennett (NZ/LottoNL-Jumbo) +1min 36secs

7 Rohan Dennis (Aus/BMC Racing Team) +2mins 8secs

8 Pello Bilbao (Spa/Astana Pro Team) same time

9 Michael Woods (Can/EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale) +2mins 28secs

10 Chris Froome (GB/Team Sky) +2mins 30secs

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Froome says Giro gap is ‘too big’ but expects to peak for Tour de France

Chris Froome

Chris Froome trails Giro d’Italia race leader Simon Yates by two minutes 27 seconds

Chris Froome says his bid to hold all three Grand Tour titles concurrently is not “likely” after crashes hampered his first week in the Giro d’Italia.

The Team Sky rider wants to add the Giro to the Tour de France and La Vuelta crowns he won last year.

But he is two minutes 27 seconds behind race leader and fellow British rider Simon Yates of Mitchelton-Scott.

“It is a big gap,” Froome told Team Sky’s website. “I wouldn’t say it’s likely at this point.”

However, he added: “Stranger things have happened. We’ve got some extremely tough racing coming and we’ve got a long time trial as well.”

Aside from needing to make up ground on the pink jersey, Froome who is 11th, trails defending champion Tom Dumoulin (Team Sunweb) by one minute 49 seconds.

Competing despite an ongoing anti-doping case – after being found to have double the allowed level of a legal asthma drug in his urine after a test at last year’s Vuelta a Espana – Froome is hoping to become the first rider to do the Giro-Tour double since Marco Pantani in 1998.

That challenge has proved too much for the likes of Alberto Contador and Nairo Quintana in recent seasons and Froome has found his ambitions hampered by a series of crashes.

The 32-year-old fell before the opening time trial in Jerusalem and during stage eight on Saturday, and has put his indifferent form down to a training plan tailored to see him peak in the last week of the Giro in order to be in good shape for the Tour.

“I always came into the Giro with the plan of building into the race, with the bigger goal of doing the Giro d’Italia and going on to the Tour de France,” he said.

“It was never my objective to arrive right at the beginning of the Giro absolutely firing on all cylinders because as we’ve seen in riders who’ve done that in the past, they reach July and just have nothing.

“I was always looking to build through this period, but I think the crash (before stage one) was a setback to me. I also think the second crash (during stage eight) didn’t help, also on my right side, but we’re here and that’s the nature of cycling.”

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Leader Yates wins stage as Froome loses more time

Simon Yates wins stage nine

Simon Yates has successfully defended the leader’s pink jersey for three successive days

Britain’s Simon Yates stormed to a superb win on stage nine of the Giro d’Italia to extend his lead in the general classification as compatriot Chris Froome lost more time.

Mitchelton-Scott rider Yates, 25, accelerated away with 100m to go on the summit finish to Gran Sasso d’Italia.

He now has a 32-second lead over team-mate Esteban Chaves, with reigning champion Tom Dumoulin 38 seconds back.

Team Sky’s Froome is two minutes 27 seconds down in 11th place.

Monday is the second rest day of the race, which finishes in Rome on 27 May.

This was Yates’ first stage win at a Giro and it brought him a bonus 10 seconds on top of the 12 he put into Dumoulin.

But it was the manner of the win on the 225km route from Pesco Sannita that was arguably more important, the day a real test of his credentials as he seeks his first Grand Tour win – and one he passed in wonderful fashion.

After a 12-man break had gone away early, the last survivor was swallowed up with 3km to go and the real race began.

Yates was happy to sit in the wheels as first Guilio Ciccone and then Thibault Pinot attacked into a stiff headwind, but came out of their slipstream to go clear and celebrate with a clenched fist as he crossed the line.

It was another chastening day for Froome, the four-time Tour de France champion spat out the back of the small lead group and losing 67 seconds to Yates.

He had looked short of his best throughout the first week, twice crashing, and this was further evidence that his bid to become only the third rider in history to win three Grand Tours in a row is in real trouble.

Dutchman Dumoulin will perhaps be less concerned, the time trial on stage 16 offering him the chance to perhaps take as much as a minute and a half out of Yates.

But with Yates able to count on the support of Colombian team-mate Chaves, the man from Bury will be starting to believe this could his race.

“That one was for the boys who’ve been riding on the front all day – they’ve had a couple of tough days, always riding on the front on some really long stages,” said Yates.

“From the beginning of the stage today, we were always thinking that if we kept the break close enough then it might be possible for the stage.

“Once Astana showed some interest in the stage then I knew it was possible, but you never know deep into the final.

“It was a very difficult day. Chris crashed yesterday; maybe he was affected by that.”

Team Sky sporting director Nicolas Portal said: “It’s not perfect. He was looking good the last couple of days but we have to stay optimistic.

“We have two more weeks coming up and hopefully we have some better days. Let’s hope that we can quickly forget this stage – they will keep fighting, and they won’t give up.”

Stage nine result:

1 Simon Yates (GB/Mitchelton-Scott) 5hrs 54mins 13secs

2 Thibaut Pinot (Fra/Groupama-FDJ) same time

3 Esteban Chaves (Col/Mitchelton-Scott)

4 Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita/Bahrain-Merida) +4secs

5 Richard Carapaz (Ecu/Movistar) same time

6 Davide Formolo (Ita/Bora-Hansgrohe) +10secs

7 George Bennett (Nzl/Lotto NL-Jumbo) +12secs

8 Tom Dumoulin (Ned/Team Sunweb) same time

9 Miguel Angel Lopez (Col/Astana Pro Team)

10 Giulio Ciccone (Ita/Bardiani CSF) +24secs

General classification

1 Simon Yates (GB/Mitchelton-Scott) 37hrs 37mins 15secs

2 Esteban Chaves (Col/Mitchelton-Scott) +32secs

3 Tom Dumoulin (Ned/Team Sunweb) +38secs

4 Thibaut Pinot (Fra/Groupama-FDJ) +45secs

5 Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita/Bahrain-Merida) +57secs

6 Richard Carapaz (Ecu/Movistar) +1min 20secs

7 George Bennett (Nzl/Lotto NL-Jumbo) +1min 33secs

8 Rohan Dennis (Aus/BMC Racing) +2mins 5secs

9 Pello Bilbao (Spa/Astana Pro Team) same time

10 Michael Woods (Can/EF Education First – Drapac p/b Cannondale) +2mins 25secs

11 Chris Froome (GB/Team Sky) +2mins 27secs

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