18/05/17 - 5:45 PM
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Forlì - Reggio Emilia
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Giro d'Italia • Stage12
avant-match

LIVE
Forlì - Reggio Emilia
Giro d'Italia - 18 May 2017

Giro d'Italia – Follow this cycling race live with Eurosport. The action starts at 17:45 on 18 May 2017. Our live coverage lets you follow all the key moments as they happen.
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Highlights 
 
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16:25

No change in the general classification today after an easy ride for all the big guns. Rather, the day belonged to this man... what a debut Giro he's having...

16:04

Caleb Ewan was nowhere to be seen while Andre Greipel lost his lead-out man and could only get eighth place.

16:02

Here's the moment Gaviria nailed his third win of the race to extend his lead in the maglia ciclamino competition.

0km

So, it's a victory for Fernando Gaviria (Quick-Step Floors) while Jakub Mareczko (Wilier-Selle Italia) is second and Sam Bennett (Bora-Hansgrohe) third.

0km

But it's a comprehensive win for Fernando Gaviria, who takes his third win of the race.

0.5km 

Lotto Soudal have a man on the front, but no Greipel... and Bora power through onto the home straight...

1km

Zhupa is caught just before the 1-to-go banner...

2km

It's a massive battle for positioning now as Eugert Zhupa, the Albanian national champion and another locally raised rider, has a pop off the front!

3km 

Now the Lotto Soudal train on the other side of the road... fascinating stuff. Orica-Scott's reduced train are swingign between the two, with Quick-Step currently taking a back seat.

4km 

Bora-Hansgrohe in control now with six riders on the front - they're clearly going all in for Sam Bennett today.

6.5km 

All over for Mirco Maestri, who should be rewarded with the combativity prize today. Bora-Hansgrohe now taking it up - and so are Wilier-Selle Italia.

7km 

But now the teams of the GC riders muscle their way in to protect their riders: FDJ and Movistar, most notably, there for Pinot and Quintana respectively. Dumoulin's Sunweb team are there too...

8km 

Quick-Step now take over the reins as the gap comes down to 10 seconds.

10km

Fans on the side of the road have lit flares by the 10-to-go banner. It's all Orica-Scott and Quick-Step for now. 20 seconds for Maestri.

12km 

Firsanov and Marcato have been reeled in. Just Maestri out now, the 25-year-old, who heralds from nearby Guastalla, is going for the daily combativity prize: he knows he won't be able to defy the rampaging pack on a day like this. Still, he has 22 seconds to play with, so why not treat his people to a bit of a spectacle. He's totally burying himself!

13km 

Richeze is back on the back of the peloton but will have his work cut out moving up to the front because the pace is high and it's very strung out.

14km

Local lad Mirco Maestri has one last throw of the dice as he rides clear of his two fellow escapees just as the gap was coming down to just 20 seconds...

16km

Blow for Quick-Step and Gaviria: Max Richeze, the Colombian's lead-out man, has picked up a puncture. He'll have a struggle to fight back on now - and may be exhausted before the finish.

17km

We're 11 stages in and still there's been no win for the host nation. Their best bets today are sprinters Sacha Modolo (UAE Team Emirates), Kristian Sbaragli (Dimension Data) and Jakub Mareczko (Wilier-Selle Italia) although none of them are of the same calibre as the likes of Gaviria, Greipel, Ewan or even Bennett.

18km 

There's a slight lull on the front of the pack as two of Dumoulin's Sunweb team-mates even manage to have a convivial chat with the Orica-Scott train working for Caleb Ewan. The gap is 35 seconds for the three leaders.

23km 

It's really rapid now as the gap comes down to 1:05. Pieter Serry of Quick-Step is leading the chase ahead of two Lotto Soudals and three Oricas.

28km 

The gap is down to 1:25 now for these three leaders as Lotto Soudal lead the chase with two men on the front. Meanwhile, Simon Geschke of Sunweb has a puncture. The pack is all strung out as the riders zip through the centre of Modena, home of balsamic vinegar, before heading on to Reggio Emilia, one of the main parmesan producers of the area...

35km

Quick-Step Floors are clearly motivated to delivering their man Gaviria to a third stage today because they have pretty much their entire team on or near the front. The Colombian is in the maglia ciclamino and he's already had one day in pink, and would have had one day in white but was leading the race following his stage 3 win. Team-mate Bob Jungels is currently enjoying his second stint in the maglia bianca, so all in all, it's been a great race for the Belgian team.

42km 

The gap is down to 3:20 for the three escapees: Firsanov and Marcato broke clear right at the start of the stage, while local lad Maestri joined them a bit later after bridging over. If Firsanov is fairly familiar it's because he finished fourth in last year's Giro mountain time trial, which was won by his team-mate Alexander Foliforov. The 26-year-old won the Giro dell'Appennino last year and so clearly likes riding in these parts.

50km

Unlike yesterday, it's a very calm day for that man Tom Dumoulin in pink.

60km

One key riders almost didn't make the start today after his team bus drove off without him... Luckily for Simon Geschke - one of the key lieutenants of maglia rosa Tom Dumoulin - his Sunweb bus turned round and picked him up. Geschke, of course, was a stage winner in the 2015 Tour de France at Pra Loup - the day that Thibaut Pinot crashed heavily on the descent off the back of the Col d'Allos...

67km 

Maestri almost goes the wrong way at a roundabout and has to run wide and then join a slip road before rejoining the break. That's about as dramatic as it gets today. The leaders are 4:30 ahead and separated from the peloton by 3.3km.

72km

Maestri takes the points ahead of Marcato and Firsanov at the second intermediate sprint at Sasso Marconi. Once again, it was uncontested - as so many of these intermediate sprints are.

75km 

Bora-Hansgrohe also have a man on the front of the pack to help with the chase. They're be hoping to launch Irishman Sam Bennett in the final. Bennett has never won a Grand Tour stage but has two third places in this Giro, and earlier in the season won a stage in Paris-Nice.

78km 

The gap drops under the five-minute mark for the first time in 35-odd kilometres. Meanwhile, Pippo Pozzato is off the back picking up bottles from his Wilier-Selle Italia car - and no doubt getting an earful from his DS after his team-mates missed the break yet again today.

85km

Tejay Van Garderen is back with the peloton after his puncture. The gap is down a touch to 5:22 as Orica-Scott continue to lead the chase with Lotto Soudal and Quick-Step.

90km

Front flat for Tejay Van Garderen, who needs a wheel change. The American is having a bit of a shocker in his debut Giro: he shipped four minutes on Blockhaus, then four minutes in the ITT, then yesterday he was dropped early on and ended up losing 20 minutes to his ostensible GC rivals. In a heartfelt interview with Velonews yesterday, the 28-year-old from BMC admitted: "Maybe I'm not a Grand Tour rider. I just want to get my career back on track. I don’t know what I’ll do after the Giro, but any race I go to, see it as an opportunity to do that."

95km

The gap pushes six minutes as the riders leave the motorway via the toll gate. Don't worry - they didn't need to pay...

- -

While things are slow out there why don't you enjoy some archive footage of the Giro through the ages...

100km

So, which of those sprinters has the best chance of winning today? At the moment Gaviria is leading our poll with 41% to Ewan's 26% and Greipel's 33%. Or perhaps you think someone like Ireland's Sam Bennett of Bora-Hansgrohe can upset the apple cart and nick his first Grand Tour stage win...

105km

Unsurprisingly, the Quick-Step Floors, Orica-Scott and Lotto Soudal teams of sprinters Fernando Gaviria, Caleb Ewan and Andre Greipel have send a man apiece on the front to help lead the chase in the peloton, which now trails the three leaders by 5:55. So far those sprinters have taken two, one and one win respectively - and today is the first of back-to-back opportunities for the fast men to get back on the scoresheet, so to speak. Indeed, Andre Greipel has already spoken of his intention to call it a day after tomorrow's pan-flat stage to Tortona - no surprise given the mountains of the final week, plus the lack of a final sprint into Milan (there's a time trial instead).

113.5km

And it's that man Fraile, the stage winner yesterday, who leads the peloton over to pick up that final point and extend his lead over Polanc to three points. As long as he completes the stage today, the Dimension Data rider will be back on the podium in a few hours...

117km

Going over the summit of the Cat.3 Valico Appenninico and it's Maestri who takes the points ahead of Marcato and Firsanov, with the peloton still rolling along up the dual carriageway around 4:30 down. Just the single point to fight over so Fraile, whatever happens, will take the maglia azzurra from Polanc this afternoon.

126km

The riders have now joined a motorway but the pace is still pretty pedestrian. The three leaders have 3:35 over the pack ahead of the second climb of the day, which is coming right up.

128km

When the peloton comes through the intermediate sprint it's the maglia ciclamino of Fernando Gaviria who takes the points for fourth place to increase his lead in the points classification. This morning, the Colombian Quick-Step Floors rider was leading the classification with 191 points to Jasper Stuyven's 160.

130km

At the intermediate sprint in Barberino del Mugello it's Marcato who takes the points ahead of Maestri and Firsanov - but it's an uncontested affair. Barberino, incidentally, was the home town of Gastone Nencini, winner of the 1957 Giro d'Italia and the 1960 Tour de France. An amateur painter and, if rumours are to be believed, a chronic doper, the chain-smoking Italian was renowned for his descending skills and would often challenge his training partners to races where the runner-up bought the evening aperatif. "The only reason to follow Nencini downhill would be if you had a death wish", the French rider Raphaël Géminiani once said.

134km 

The first intermediate sprint is coming up in a few kilometres...

138km

Here's a little video on today's route - the longest stage in the race (I'll add for a third time now), don't you know.

140km

The riders roll through the feed zone. Today is going to be one of those days where Eurosport commentators Rob Hatch and Sean Kelly really earn their crust.

145km 

You have to think that the break are on a hiding to nothing today, what with there being so few remaining opportunities for the sprinters in the race. Back with the bunch and everything has strung out in the wind as the riders enter the outskirts of Borgo San Lorenzo. The sun has disappeared behind the clouds and there's talk of a potential storm later on...

150km

So, that's your round-up to events so far today... and we're now back on the road LIVE as the three-man break of Maestri, Marcato and Firsanov ride with a gap of 4:45 over the peloton, which has split a little on that descent.

168km

Firsanov went over the top in pole position ahead of Maestri and Marcato. Meanwhile, around six minutes later there was a fierce battle for the remaining points as yesterday's stage winner Omar Fraile and the maglia azzurra Jan Polanc - both tied for 44 points in the KOM competition - sprinted clear. And it was the Spaniard who did the business to take four points over the top, with Polanc picking up two. That means Fraile moved into the virtual maglia azzurra on the road... with one more climb still to come.

185km

The three leaders approached the start of the Cat.2 Colle di Casaglia (17.1km at 3.4% and a maximum of 8.8%) with a lead of almost seven minutes over the peloton.

215km

Sergey Firsanov (Gazprom-Rusvelo) and Marco Marcato (UAE Team Emirates) attacked early on, with Mirco Maestri (Bardiani-CSF) bounding clear in pursuit. Maestri was in no man's land for a while before finally bridging over with 215km remaining.

- -

Here's the official map and profile of the stage...

160km

We join the race LIVE with the riders on the descent of the first of two climbs. A break of three have 4:30 over the pack in a stage that is odd-on to culminate with a bunch sprint. Let's bring you a quick recap of what's happened so far...

229km

Here are the riders at the start just before rolling out of Forli... with Dumoulin in pink, Jan Polanc in blue, Fernando Gaviria in cyclamen and Bob Jungels in white.

12:25

The sun was out for the start today and it's scheduled to be the hottest day of the race so far, with temperatures in the high 20s. 186 riders made it to the start for this, the longest stage of the race.

12:20

Costa Rican Andrey Amador – a Movistar team-mate of Colombian pre-race favourite Nairo Quintana – came home in that break to move up to sixth in the overall standings, while the impressive Kangert also moved into the top ten – at the expense of Dutchman Steven Kruijswijk, who had another day to forget. Race leader Tom finished safely in a group of main favourites 1:37 down on Fraile and the other leading escapees. The towering Team Sunweb rider retained his emphatic lead of 2:23 over Quintana, with a second Dutchman, Bauke Mollema of Trek-Segafredo, completing the top three at 2:38.

12:15

Yesterday, escape artist Omar Fraile starred over four demanding climbs before finding the extra reserves to claim a superb victory in the Tuscan hills on a thrilling stage 11. Fraile, the 26-year-old Spanish climber from Team Dimension Data, yo-yoed constantly off the front of the 161km stage in Tuscany, picking up maximum points over three climbs before getting the better in a nail-biting four-way sprint in Bagno di Romagna to take his first ever stage victory in a Grand Tour.

12:10

Hello and welcome to live coverage of stage 12 of the Giro d'Italia - a 229km ride from Forli to Reggio Emilia, and the longest stage of the race. Besides two lower category climbs in the opening half, it's pretty much flat all the way and so will definitely re-open the doors for a ding-dong battle between the sprinters.