Cycling-Alaphilippe goes alone to win Giro Stage 12

  • Cycling
  • Thursday, 16 May 2024

Cycling - Giro d'Italia - Stage 12 - Martinsicuro to Fano - Italy - May 16, 2024 Soudal Quick-Step's Julian Alaphilippe celebrates on the podium after winning stage 12 REUTERS/Jennifer Lorenzini

(Reuters) -Frenchman Julian Alaphilippe's early break paid off as the Soudal Quick-Step rider bravely held off the chasers to win stage 12 of the Giro d'Italia on Thursday, with Tadej Pogacar maintaining his hold on the leader's jersey.

The 193-km ride from Martinsicuro to Fano featured enough climbs to give a chance to those willing to risk attacking and deny the sprinters another stage win, and Alaphilippe's tactics paid off.

Alaphilippe has won six stages at the Tour de France and a stage of the Vuelta a Espana, and completed his full set of grand Tour wins in his first-ever Giro d'Italia.

He joined a breakaway group which grew to 10 riders with 130 kilometres still to race, but then took off along with Mirco Maestri and the pair held off a large chasing pack behind them.

"The plan wasn't to do 125km like this but with a big group," the winner said.

"The cooperation with Mirco Maestri was excellent. He also deserved the stage win."

Maestri ran out of steam and Alaphilippe went alone with less than 15km left and with Quinten Hermans and Jhonatan Narvaez closing in, the French rider had the legs to make it to the line, with Ecuador's Narvaez taking second ahead of Hermans.

"I always believed I could win but until the last kilometres I had to push full gas. The chasers were close behind me," Alaphilippe said.

Alaphilippe came close to winning stage six as part of a three-man breakaway but was beaten on the line by Pelayo Sanchez, but this time he had 31 seconds to spare at the finish.

Narvaez of Ineos Grenadiers, who won stage one, looked to have another victory in his sights but was unable to reel in the leader, and the 31-year-old could finally celebrate a stage win at the Giro, three years after his last grand Tour victory.

"The chasers were close behind me. It was my dream to win a stage at the Giro d'Italia. It makes me really happy. It's an important win for me after difficult times," Alaphilippe said.

Race leader Pogacar was happy to sit back in the peloton which finished over five minutes behind the winner, and the Slovenian, who came in 13th, maintains his two minutes and 40 seconds lead over Daniel Felipe Martinez of Bora-Hansgrohe.

"Alaphilippe showed that he's back. What he did is actually incredible. This is what champions do," Pogacar said.

"Luckily for us we have a good gap on GC (general classification). It's a stage I would have liked to try and win if I wasn't here for GC but I prefer to do GC."

(Reporting by Trevor StynesEditing by Toby Davis)

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