Stage Twelve - Thursday 17 May
177 kilometres, medium mountain stage
Bluffers guide: The race, headed now for the Alps, snakes in and out of the Ligurian coastline with a beautiful rolling stage which promises fast, aggressive, exciting racing. It will conclude in Sestri Levante, the “city of two seas” which routinely hosted the Corsa Rosa back in the 1960s. Winners there included Merckx and Nencini, but best of all was Graziano Battistini’s effort in 1962. A Tour de France runner-up born and bred in Sestri, Battistini took both stage and maglia rosa in a blizzard. The stuff of legend…
Buon appetito: Liguria is rightly famed for focaccia and for pesto, thought to originate in nearby Genoa. Best of all though (incomparable, in fact) is farinata, an unleavened bread made of just chickpea flour, water and olive oil. It mightn’t have the prestige of some, but this is authentic Italian peasant fare; extremely simple… and simply delicious.
Local hero: Alessandro Petacchi (Lampre)– In what could surely be his final Giro, Petacchi won’t enjoy today’s hilly terrain, but he will be second to none in terms of local knowledge. Born in La Spezia, just down the coast from the finish in Sestri, Petacchi now lives in Massa, a minute or two’s drive from Seravezza.
Bergonzi says: “It finishes at the sea, but don’t be fooled. To get there you’ve to get over a series of really demanding climbs. It’s a classic Giro stage, one where a good, punchy, none GC rider can go for glory from a long way out. These are the stages that can hurt any team that takes its eye off the ball, or that is just a little under par.”
Stage 12 Map
Stage 12 Profile