21/05/15 - 6:35 PM
Imola - Monte Berico
Giro d'Italia • Stage12

Imola - Monte Berico
Giro d'Italia - 21 May 2015

Giro d'Italia – Follow this cycling race live with Eurosport. The action starts at 18:35 on 21 May 2015. Our live coverage lets you follow all the key moments as they happen.
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It was actually three bonus seconds for Contador, which puts him 17 seconds clear of Aru in the overall standings today.


Diego Ulissi (Lampre-Merida) was third place - both he and Contador 3 seconds down on Gilbert. The likes of Porte and Uran finished at 6 seconds, Aru a bit further back at 11 seconds.


Alberto Contador takes second place to pick up a six-second time bonus. With Aru finishing a few second back, he should be a dozen or so seconds clear at the top tonight...




Kangert grits his teeth... but he's going to be caught by Gilbert!


It's been the veteran Pellizotti holding the wheel... but now he's fading... But BMC are also primed behind...


The gap is down to 20 seconds as the leaders start that climb. It's show time... and Kangert attacks under the banner!


Now the BMC train comes to the front - they really want this one for Gilbert. But Kangert and Pellizotti have increased their lead to 30 seconds.... this is very tense and tight.


Benat Intxausti comes to the front of the streamlined pack alongside a BMC rider and a sea of Astanas. But the two leaders still have 22 seconds.


Still 20 seconds for this leading duo - but you sense it won't be enough with that final climb coming up.


Kangert has caught Pellizotti now. But Gilbert and Izaguirre are about to be caught by the pack.


Today's finish is atop a 1km climb with a gradient of 7% - so idea for that man Gilbert. Provided he has a little headstart...


It's still very wet out there. Both Pellizotti and Kangert have a handful of seconds as Philippe Gilbert of BMC launches an attack. He has Jon Izaguirre in his wheel for Movistar.


One Astana rider has even pinged off the front now - it's what you can do when you have such strength in depth. It's Tanel Kangert.


Less treacherous, this descent. Astana have taken it up on the front as Pellizotti - who has broken away, to no end, in practically every stage with a hill in it - rides with 12 seconds to play with.


Contador is a bit isolated, riding in the middle of an Astana sandwich with two baby blue riders ahead and behind, one being the whiter Aru. Ah, but here's Rogers - or Kreuziger - and he has a man. Aru, though, has two more - increasing his tally to six. So strong, Astana, so strong...


Andrey Amador of Movistar ups the tempo, and Contador then puts in an acceleration. Astana react, Kruijswijk is caught and the pack go over the top. They trail lone leader Franco Pellizotti by 15 seconds now.


Two chasing groups have joined the maglia rosa group so we have about 50 riders now together trailing Pellizotti. And Steven Kruijswijk breaks clear in pursuit. The LottoNL-Jumbo climber has been very active in this year's Giro.


Mick '400 Watts' Rogers back on the front for Alberto Contador in this first group. There are numerous groups on the road - it's really fractured out there. The maglia rosa group is about 20-strong and is trailed by a second group about to make contact. Pellizotti has 20 seconds to play with.


The FDJ rider out ahead was Alexandre Geniez. But now the lone leader is veteran Italian Franco Pellizotti, who has just started the next climb - an short unclassified one. Behind him, a larger pack has formed around the group of race favourites.


That descent was like an ice rink. We're seeing numerous replays of riders skidding out on bends, overcooking turns, and unclipping to stay upright. Clement is still down and receiving treatment from the doctor and we have a group of another dozen chasing down this leading group, which includes Contador, Uran, Porte and four Astana riders - including Aru. So strong this year, Astana...


It's really broken up on that descent, with Astana's Tanel Kangert leading the race until Rigoberto Uran of Etixx comes to the fore. Contador and Aru are there too, but this leading group is just about 12 strong.


Intxausti is back with the pack and we have a FDJ rider out in front - but he's really toiling on these tight bends, unclipping for many of them, and then overshooting one and almost going into a field. It's clearly a very tricky descent though, because IAM Cycling's Stef Clement has gone down hard on one bend.


CRASH: Simon Gerrans of Orica-GreenEdge goes down hard on a tight bend. He's cut his left elbow and has ripped his shorts. He has Esteban Chaves waiting for him but that looks like it's over for his stage chances today. He's waiting a very, very long time for a new bike. All in for Plan B - Michael Matthews - now.


Benat Intxausti holds on to take maximum points to extend his lead in the KOM competition, with the pack passing over 15 seconds later. Contador was pegged back, but showed his cards there.


Contador jumps on the pedals to spark a response by the Astana team-mates of Fabio Aru. It always looked like he was priming himself for a dig...


Intxausti - who is wearing a matching blue helmet with his mountains jersey - has opened up a safe enough gap, and takes a long swig of water. The jersey will be safe for another few days at least (tomorrow we have no climbs, and then Saturday is the ITT).


Mick '500 watts' Rogers has taken up the pace-setting duties for the maglia rosa, who is riding out of the saddle in fits and bursts, as is his want. And now Benat Intxaisti attacks in pursuit of those KOM points, sparking a reply by BMC's Atapuma, who is shadowed by Movistar's Giovanni Visconti.


Kiryienka is riding with just a couple of bike lengths on the peloton, looking around and looking serene. Behind him, he sees Tinkoff-Saxo in numbers and decides to call it a day. Contador still has Kreuziger and Rogers.


Attack by Vasil Kiryienka of Team Sky. That's an odd one. He looks to be going nowhere on this steep 17% wall section of the climb. Don't blame him - it looks pretty brutal out there.


It's back together with Tinkoff-Saxo, Ag2R-La Mondiale and Orica-GreenEdge fronting the peloton, with riders from BMC and CCC lurking with intent.


We're onto the next climb, the Cat.3 ascent to Crosara. Vervaeke is about to be reeled in.


Just 10 seconds now for Vervaeke and Contador must be feeling good today because his team is really going hammer and tongs. For all his days in pink, the Spaniard still only has three seconds advantage over Fabio Aru - who struggled to keep up with his rival when he attacked on the final climb yesterday on the Imola track circuit.


The peloton is really strung out now as the team-mates of pink jersey Contador continue throwing down the hammer. The gap is down to 30 seconds for Vervaeke, a multiple junior winner in his first full pro season at Lotto.


Zilioli has been caight by the peloton, which trails lone leader Louis Vervaeke by 40 seconds. It's Matteo Tossato setting the pace for Tinkoff-Saxo - at 41-years-old the Italian is the second oldest rider in the race after Alessandro Petacchi.


Zilioli still trails Vervaeke by 24 seconds. The 21-year-old Belgian is riding his debut Giro - as is the 25-year-old Italian. They're on the flat now after that tiered descent.


Tinkoff-Saxo, Sky and Astana all near the front for this descent, which is peppered with numerous tight hairpin bends. It's not so steep, but the wet surface makes for edgy racing.


Vervaeke has 20 seconds on Zilioli and 40 seconds on the pack. He's on another downhill segment in this disjointed descent, which comes in three parts.


We can see the pink jersey! Alberto Contador has his maglia rosa covered by a bright yellow Tinkoff-Saxo rain cape, which he has now removed ahead of the business end of the stage.


Meanwhile, Sonny Colbrelli of Bardiani-CSF has a flat and needs a wheel change. It takes a long time and he cuts a frustrated figure on the side of the road while he waits for his team car. Where's Simon Clarke when you need him?


The Lotto rider was not Hansen but Belgian Louis Vervaeke. He now has a small gap ahead of the chasers and the pack after completing the descent.


Puncture for yesterday's winner Ilnur Zakarin, who needs a wheel change near the summit of this climb.


The bearded Simon Geschke breaks clear and passes both the Lotto rider and Zilioli. He's after those KOM points to take back the blue jersey - just two points behind Intxausti this morning. The Giant Alpecin rider crosses the summit 7 seconds ahead the chasers, which also includes Carlos Betancur and that man Intxausti. In fact, the Movistar rider takes second place, so he'll keep a one-point lead over Geschke for now.


Now Gianfranco Ziloli of Androni-Sidermec rain dances clear of the pack to open up a small gap after Gretsch is reeled in. And now there's an attack from a Lotto Soudal rider - is it Adam Hansen?


Patrick Gretsch is the only escapee still out - but the Ag2R-La Mondiale rider is about to be eaten up by the Tinkoff-Saxo pace-setters on this first climb.


Francesco Gavazzi of Southeast has come down in the peloton. He needs a wheel change. It's fairly chaotic out there. And we're now onto the Cat.4 climb to Castelnuovo.


The break is fragmenting as the peloton closes in - just Appollonio, van der Lijke and Barbin still out as the rain continues to tumble. Back with the pack, there's complete chaos at a roundabout when over half the pack go the long way round thanks to the confused signals of a marshal.


The break is approaching the second intermediate sprint at Galzignano Terme - and it's Nick van der Lijke who outsprints Barbin and Appollonio for the points and bonus seconds. They only have 30 seconds now with the first of those three climbs looming.


The Etixx-QuickStep team of Rigoberto Uran and Tom Boonen are all on the front of the pack now as the gap comes down to one minute. Uran, runner-up for the past two years, crashed heavily yesterday so he will be keen to avoid further incident in what has been a fairly troubled Giro so far.


Atapuma is back up, but Betancur needs to change his bike so will have to fight back on. Replays show Betancur actually going down of his own accord first of all, and then his compatriot skidding out in a separate incident but on the exact same spot moments later. Betancur has been fairly active in this Giro, making the decisive break twice in recent days. He crashed yesterday and already has his right side bandaged up, so he will have fallen on fresh wounds just then. Ouch.


CRASH: Colombian duo Carlos Betancur (Ag2R-La Mondiale) and Darwin Atapuma (BMC) skid out on a right-hand bend. They must have been shooting the breeze and not paying attention...


And here's the rain... and it's pouring down.


The peloton has clearly learnt its lesson: the gap is down to 1:20 and they're going nowhere. A reminder of the five riders on this man suicide mission: Germany's Patrick Gretsch (Ag2R-La Mondiale), Italians Davide Appollonio (Androni-Giocattoli) and Enrico Barbin (Bariani-CSF), Frenchman Kenny Elissonde (FDJ) and Dutchman Nick Van der Lijke (LottoNL-Jumbo).


There's a bit of a lull as numerous riders drop back to their team cars for intructions and supplies. Tinkoff-Saxo, Orica-GreenEdge and Etixx-QuickStep are near the front. Up ahead, the grey storm clouds are gathering. We'll have some heavy rain pretty soon...


A few anxious moments for Nicola Boem as the red jersey makes a hash of taking his musette and almost comes a cropper. But he's all smiles now as he puts his thumbs up to the camera. Back with the break, and the five riders have 1:45 to play with.


The riders are approaching the feedzone at Boara Pisani. Moments before, Enrico Barbin picked up maximum points at the first intermediate sprint.


The patrolling from Orica-GreenEdge sees the gap come down to 1:35 for the five leaders. Eurosport was allowed access to the GreenEdge bus this morning and morale is high. They are targeting today's stage and clearly mean business. The instructions was to keep a high pace early to ensure no big group got away - which proved a success. It took 74km before a break to form, and they're giving it no leeway.


If it were to come to a sprint and these five leaders stayed out, Davide Appollonio, the former Sky and Ag2R rider, would be the favourite. But those three climbs should do for his chances, making French pocket-rocket Kenny Elissonde the favourite - should the pack mess things up again. It's way too early to tell, mind. The gap is still just above the two-minute mark.


Orica-GreenEdge are riding on the front of the peloton keeping the break's progress in check. The Australian team has a wonderful start to this Giro, winning the opening team time trial to tee up three different Aussies in pink - Simon Gerrans, Michael Matthews and Simon Clarke. Matthews - who had targetted yesterday's stage - also took a win in stage three. Today they're working for Gerrans, the former Milan-San Remo winner and a stage winner from all three Grand Tours.


The gap is now two minutes for the leaders who have been granted some headway by the peloton. After making a hash of the chase for the past two days running, the pack is surely not going to give these riders too much leeway. Yesterday Russia's Ilnur Zakarin (Katusha) hung on for the win as the peloton came home just under a minute down on the Imola race track, while on Wednesday it was Nicola Boem who won in Forli with the break crossing the line 18 seconds down in what looked to be a guaranteed sprint finish.


BREAK: Five riders have managed to open up a gap on the peloton. At last, we have some action. They are: Germany's Patrick Gretsch (Ag2R-La Mondiale), Italians Davide Appollonio (Androni-Giocattoli) and Enrico Barbin (Bariani-CSF), Frenchman Kenny Elissonde (FDJ) and Dutchman Nick Van der Lijke (LottoNL-Jumbo).


The lack of breakaway may have something to do with the average speed of 52.2kmph so far over the course of the stage. It's been a flat and fast start to a stage which should - in theory - get more exciting towards the end.


We pick up the race with the peloton having completed 70km of this flat opening two thirds of the stage - and still the pack rides as one with no break up the road.


Despite pressure from CCC Sprandi Polkowice there was still no break formed after 20km of riding.


Italy's Nicola Boem - the stage 10 winner from Bardiani-CSF - extended his lead in the red jersey points classification over Andre Greipel (Lotto Soudal) yesterday. Boem is on 101 points, with Greipel one point ahead of Team Sky's Elia Viviani on 85 points.


A flurry of attacks went out early, including one from Etixx-QuickStep's Fabio Sabatini, but they came to nothing. Today's stage is flat as a pancake until the last 60km where there are three punchy lower-categorised climbs, including the rise to the finish at Monte Berico.


Spain's Benat Intxausti of Movistar - winner of stage 8 on Saturday - moved back into the blue mountains jersey yesterday after picking up enough points over the three categorised cols. He leads on 52 points with Simon Geschke (Giant Alpecin) on 50, Steven Kruijswijk (LottoNL-Jumbo) on 43 and Carlos Betancur (Ag2R-La Mondiale) on 41.


No overnight withdrawals to report as 187 riders trickled out of Imola to get this stage under way under a cloudy sky.


No changes in the overall standings yesterday with Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) retaining his three-second lead over Fabio Aru (Astana). The top five is completed with two more Astana riders - Mikel Landa and Dario Cataldo - and another Tinkoff-Saxo rider, Roman Keuziger. Richie Porte (Team Sky) is still 3:09 down following his wheel-change penalty and puncture in stage 10.


Hello and welcome to live coverage of stage 12 of the Giro d'Italia - a 190km largely flat schlep from Imola to Monte Berico near Vicenza. A series of small climbs in the final third provide a sting in the tail to what is otherwise a pan-flat affair.