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Giro d'Italia 2012

Date range:
May 5-27, 2012
  • Giro d'Italia, Italy, WorldTour
  • Stages Expand the race menu
    • Stage 1

      Distance:
      8.7km
      Location
      Herning (ITT)
    • Stage 2

      Distance:
      206km
      Start location:
      Herning
      End location:
      Herning
    • Stage 3

      Distance:
      190km
      Start location:
      Horsens
      End location:
      Horsens
    • Rest day 1

      Start location:
      Horsens
      End location:
      Verona
    • Stage 4

      Distance:
      32.2km
      Location
      Verona (TTT)
    • Stage 5

      Distance:
      199km
      Start location:
      Modena
      End location:
      Fano
    • Stage 6

      Distance:
      207km
      Start location:
      Urbino
      End location:
      Porto Sant'Elpidio
    • Stage 7

      Distance:
      202km
      Start location:
      Recanati
      End location:
      Rocca di Cambio
    • Stage 8

      Distance:
      229km
      Start location:
      Sulmona
      End location:
      Lago Laceno
    • Stage 9

      Distance:
      171km
      Start location:
      San Giorgio nel Sannio
      End location:
      Frosinone
    • Stage 10

      Distance:
      187km
      Start location:
      Civitavecchia
      End location:
      Assisi
    • Stage 11

      Distance:
      243km
      Start location:
      Assisi
      End location:
      Montecatini Terme
    • Stage 12

      Distance:
      157km
      Start location:
      Seravezza
      End location:
      Sestri Levante
    • Stage 13

      Distance:
      121km
      Start location:
      Savona
      End location:
      Cervere
    • Stage 14

      Distance:
      205km
      Start location:
      Cherasco
      End location:
      Cervinia
    • Stage 15

      Distance:
      172km
      Start location:
      Busto Arsizio
      End location:
      Lecco/Pian dei Resinelli
    • Rest day 2

      Start location:
      Lecco
      End location:
      Limone sul Garda
    • Stage 16

      Distance:
      174km
      Start location:
      Limone sul Garda
      End location:
      Falzes/Pfalzen
    • Stage 17

      Distance:
      187km
      Start location:
      Falzes/Pfalzen
      End location:
      Cortina d'Ampezzo
    • Stage 18

      Distance:
      139km
      Start location:
      San Vito di Cadore
      End location:
      Vedelago
    • Stage 19

      Distance:
      197km
      Start location:
      Treviso
      End location:
      Alpe di Pampeago
    • Stage 20

      Distance:
      218km
      Start location:
      Caldes/Val di Sole
      End location:
      Passo dello Stelvio
    • Stage 21

      Distance:
      31.5km
      Location
      Milan (ITT)
  • Race history

May 24, Stage 18: San Vito di Cadore - Vedelago 139km

Complete Live Report

Live commentary by:
Mark Robinson

Welcome to our live coverage of stage 18 of the 2012 Giro d'Italia. After yesterday's brutal climbing test in the Dolomites, the riders will have to use different skills today as they descend over a distance of 139km. The smart money is on them taking a bit of a breather ahead of the race's final three stages, but you never know...

  1. 13:04:51 BST

    So after the drama of yesterday, which will live long in the memory, what's in store for the riders today? Well the good news for their lungs and legs is that this afternoon's stage is one of the shorter ones at 139km and almost exclusively downhill.

  2. 13:12:04 BST

    The finish line at Vedelago is 929 metres below the start in San Vito di Cadore. So different tactics and different muscles will be utilised by the riders here today. The only blip in an almost continuous descent is the Cesiomaggiore climb just past the halfway point. But after what the riders went through yesterday, it will seem more of a molehill than a mountain.

  3. 13:15:15 BST

    Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) sprinted passed all his GC rivalsSpain's Joaquim Rodriguez won yesterday and consolidated his lead at the top of the overall GC. He beat off a stiff challenge from some of his closest rivals in the standings and it would take a brave man to bet against him winning the Giro on Sunday. Let's have a look at the top ten from yesterday's 17th stage:

    1 Joaquim Rodriguez Oliver (Spa) Katusha Team 5:24:42
    2 Ivan Basso (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale
    3 Ryder Hesjedal (Can) Garmin - Barracuda
    4 Rigoberto Uran Uran (Col) Sky Procycling
    5 Michele Scarponi (Ita) Lampre - ISD
    6 Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) Colnago - CSF Inox 0:00:02
    7 Benat Intxausti Elorriaga (Spa) Movistar Team 0:01:22
    8 Daniel Moreno Fernandez (Spa) Katusha Team
    9 Thomas De Gendt (Bel) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team
    10 Johann Tschopp (Swi) BMC Racing Team

  4. 13:15:48 BST

    Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) sprinted passed all his GC rivals

    Spain's Joaquim Rodriguez won yesterday and consolidated his lead at the top of the overall GC. He beat off a stiff challenge from some of his closest rivals in the standings and it would take a brave man to bet against him winning the Giro on Sunday. Let's have a look at the top ten from yesterday's 17th stage:

    1 Joaquim Rodriguez Oliver (Spa) Katusha Team 5:24:42
    2 Ivan Basso (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale
    3 Ryder Hesjedal (Can) Garmin - Barracuda
    4 Rigoberto Uran Uran (Col) Sky Procycling
    5 Michele Scarponi (Ita) Lampre - ISD
    6 Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) Colnago - CSF Inox 0:00:02
    7 Benat Intxausti Elorriaga (Spa) Movistar Team 0:01:22
    8 Daniel Moreno Fernandez (Spa) Katusha Team
    9 Thomas De Gendt (Bel) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team
    10 Johann Tschopp (Swi) BMC Racing Team

  5. 13:20:14 BST

    • Pink Jersey

    Garmin-Barracuda's Ryder Hesjedal has suprised some observers by sticking closest to Rodriguez as the race moves to its final weekend. As you'll see from the top ten in the overall GC below, it's hard at this point to see anyone from outside the top four taking home pink on Sunday night.

    1 Joaquim Rodriguez Oliver (Spa) Katusha Team 74:46:46
    2 Ryder Hesjedal (Can) Garmin - Barracuda 0:00:30
    3 Ivan Basso (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale 0:01:22
    4 Michele Scarponi (Ita) Lampre - ISD 0:01:36
    5 Rigoberto Uran Uran (Col) Sky Procycling 0:02:56
    6 Benat Intxausti Elorriaga (Spa) Movistar Team 0:03:04
    7 Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) Colnago - CSF Inox 0:03:19
    8 Paolo Tiralongo (Ita) Astana Pro Team 0:04:13
    9 Thomas De Gendt (Bel) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team 0:04:38
    10 Sergio Luis Henao Montoya (Col) Sky Procycling 0:04:42

  6. 13:32:23 BST

    Sorry folks - slight technical problems there. All ok now and we're about to start getting pictures from the host broadcaster.

  7. 120km remaining from 139km

    13:35:03 BST

    • Break

    20km in and we have our first break. The riders are: Manuele Boaro (Saxo Bank), Stef Clement (Rabobank), Pier Paolo De Negri (Farnese Vini) and Angelo Pagani (Colnago-CSF Inox). And they have opened up a gap of almost two minutes.

  8. 13:42:55 BST

    We're in the north-eastern province of Veneto this afternoon, which really is Italy's cycling heartland. In fact, it's the home of Liquigas-Cannondale, so they'll be keen to put on a show today.

  9. 13:48:05 BST

    • Red Jersey

    There's a decent chance of a bunched sprint finish today, probably for the last time in the 2012 Giro. Mark Cavendish's main sprinting rivals have been dropping like flies. With Goss, Bos and Visconti all gone it will be left to the likes of Ventoso, Ferrari and Kristoff to challenge the Team Sky man, who is top of the points classification by the narrowest of margins:

    POINTS CLASSIFICATION AFTER STAGE 17:

    1 Mark Cavendish (GBr) Sky Procycling 110
    2 Joaquim Rodriguez Oliver (Spa) Katusha Team 109
    3 Ryder Hesjedal (Can) Garmin - Barracuda 72
    4 Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) Colnago - CSF Inox 63
    5 Andrey Amador Bakkazakova (CRc) Movistar Team 52
    6 Michele Scarponi (Ita) Lampre - ISD 52
    7 Alexander Kristoff (Nor) Katusha Team 49
    8 Martijn Keizer (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team 48
    9 Paolo Tiralongo (Ita) Astana Pro Team 43
    10 Alessandro De Marchi (Ita) Androni Giocattoli 43

  10. 110km remaining from 139km

    13:48:51 BST

    And the gap is now pushing three minutes

  11. 100km remaining from 139km

    13:50:46 BST

    And we now have live pictures. The RCS feed was slightly behind. We've got less than 100km to go now and the gap remains just below three minutes.

  12. 13:54:43 BST

    Only five of the teams here remain in tact since the start of the race back in Denmark. Astana, Omega Pharma-QuickStep, Lampre-ISD, Androni Giocattoli and Euskaltel-Euskadi are the only teams that haven't had withdrawals.

  13. 13:59:46 BST

    A few hundred kilometres north, Fabian Cancellara has made his return to cycling at the Bayern-Rundfahrt after almost two months out injured. Find out how he's feeling about it here.

  14. 14:06:52 BST

    Cavendish and Sky will desperate to get maximum points today to fully justify his perseverance here. As discussed he is only a point ahead of Rodriguez in the standings and realistically today represents his last chance to add to his tally. Of course he could be well in the clear if it wasn't for the crashes he suffered earlier in the race...

  15. 84km remaining from 139km

    14:09:04 BST

    The riders are passing through the town of Belluno. Plenty of people on the streets, soaking up the sunshine. We're just over 20km from the mid-race climb.

  16. 14:15:08 BST

    Gap is coming down quite rapidly here. Under two minutes in a flash. Are the peloton trying to catch up the breakaway group ahead of the intermediate sprint, which is coming up soon?

  17. 14:20:38 BST

    Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank)

    In other news, could Alberto Contador be heading to Omega Pharma-QuickStep? Reports in the Beglian press say that it's a possibility...

  18. 14:21:34 BST

    Looks like the peloton are after the sprint points after all. In just a few km the gap is now down to under 20 seconds.

  19. 14:23:53 BST

    Sky are at the front of the chasing group, dragging Cavendish to the breakaway. The sprint does involve a bit of a climb, so it might not be completely straightforward for Cavendish.

  20. 14:30:46 BST

    And the breakaway riders are trying to hang on. The gap is remaining pretty steady and there's only 2km until the start of the sprint.

  21. 14:32:26 BST

    But they're about to be swallowed up just 1km from the sprint. The riders are now climbing. Tremendous effort by Sky

  22. 14:35:23 BST

    And Cavendish takes the points. Further boost for Sky as Geraint Thomas crosses in third place. Just seen an interview with Cavendish by the host broadcaster. He said that he's tired but looking forward to the finish today because the "flat, wide roads are perfect for a bunch sprint."

  23. 62km remaining from 139km

    14:36:36 BST

    And after the brief climb the riders are riding downhill again now.

  24. 14:40:24 BST

    Garmin-Barracuda's DS Charly Wegelius has been talking up the chances of Ryder Hesjedal, stating that he believes the Giro is more suited to the Canadian than the Tour. He also stated that Ivan Basso is the main threat, as you can read here.

  25. 14:41:52 BST

    And we have a counter attack folllowing the intermediate sprint. Just trying to identify who they are. There's six of them.

  26. 14:43:02 BST

    And they've been caught almost immediately. Peloton has swallowed them up again.

  27. 14:47:31 BST

    When they coined the phrase "The world's toughest race in the world's most beautiful place" they weren't lying. The scenery is just breathtaking as the riders continue their descent.

  28. 14:49:24 BST

    And we have another breakaway and this time it looks like it might stick. Just identifying them now. Average speed is almost touching 50km/h by the way.

  29. 14:51:07 BST

    It looks like Clement, Keizer, Kaisen and Delage are the ones who have broken clear.

  30. 14:52:17 BST

    And indeed it is those four. They've pulled out a 50-second gap already.

  31. 47km remaining from 139km

    14:55:25 BST

    Kaisen and Keizer have featured already in breakaway groups at this year's Giro. Delange is a well known escape artist and has regularly done it at the Tour de France in recent years. Clement will be looking to make some positive headlines for Rabobank, who have had a miserable race so far. So there's potential here for them to get away.

  32. 14:56:46 BST

    After they drove everyone forward to get Cavendish to the front for the sprint, Sky will probably have to do most of the work in behind. The rest of the peloton won't have been delighted by their move.

  33. 40km remaining from 139km

    15:02:40 BST

    Gap is 45 seconds with 40km to go

  34. 15:10:35 BST

    Kaisen and Keizer are currently battling for the Fuga classification, which goes to the rider who spends most time in breakaway groups. Kaisen leads the way with 639km and Keizer is in second on 612km. The pair are well clear of the third placed riders. So another interesting sub plot here.

  35. 15:13:03 BST

    Ian Stannard (Sky) has been on the front of the main peloton for several kilometres now. None of the other teams are prepared to help out. He must be made of iron. Gap is 42 seconds.

  36. 15:15:45 BST

    Katusha are all grouped around Rodriguez. It's been an easy ride for the race leader so far. Bigger and more crucial battles to come in the next couple of days.

  37. 27km remaining from 139km

    15:19:18 BST

    Under 30km to go now. The riders have been really flying this afternooon. The contrast between today and yesterday couldn't be starker. And it's part of the reason we all love grand tours so much.

  38. 15:20:27 BST

    Gap has just crept over the 1:00 mark for the first time. But how much do the front four have in their lockers. We all know that Kaisen and Keizer have worked very hard indeed throughout the Giro...

  39. 15:23:38 BST

    We're closing in on the finish at the town of Vedelago. It's the first time that the Giro has visited there.

  40. 15:24:44 BST

    And the gap is coming down again now. 46 seconds.

  41. 20km remaining from 139km

    15:27:00 BST

    • Lampre - ISD's 2011 Jersey

    And some drama here before the sprint. Scarponi is struggling with a mechanical problem and he and six other Lampre riders have fallen off the back of the main peloton.

  42. 15:28:33 BST

    Great teamwork and communication from Lampre there. Scarponi should catch up again within the next few kilometres. Meanwhile the gap between the breakaway four and the chasers is under 30 seconds.

  43. 15:38:35 BST

    Closing in on 10km to go now. Peloton bunching for the big sprint finish.

  44. 10km remaining from 139km

    15:39:16 BST

    Lars Bak (Lotto Belisol) has attacked to try and get to the leaders first

  45. 15:40:32 BST

    It's Bak and Delange who are left in front with 8km to go

  46. 15:42:52 BST

    Cavendish is moving through the pack, with Eisel and Thomas flanking him. With all eyes on him, will someone else sneak under the radar and snatch the win?

  47. 15:45:48 BST

    Chicchi, Kristoff and Modolo are well positioned too.

  48. 15:46:29 BST

    And the leading duo are caught with just 3.5km to go. All to play for here now. Cards about to be shown.

  49. 15:47:07 BST

    Sabo Bank hit the front. have they gone to soon?

  50. 15:47:49 BST

    Saxo Bank are on the front with less than 2km to go

  51. 15:48:17 BST

    Last kilometre folks

  52. 15:48:39 BST

    Eisel forces himself to the front

  53. 15:49:31 BST

    Guardini wins

  54. 15:49:55 BST

    The chance was there for Cavendish but he couldn't take it

  55. 15:50:40 BST

    • Farnese Vini - Selle Italia's 2012 Jersey

    Fantastic for Guardini who has been the butt of a few jokes over the last few days in the Italian media due to his lowly position in the overall GC.

  56. 15:54:40 BST

    TOP FIVE FINISHERS - STAGE 18

    1 Guardini

    2 Cavendish

    3 Ferrari

    4 Hunter

    5 Haedo

  57. 15:57:04 BST

    Top tens for stage and overall GC coming soon. Rodriguez will remain in pink and Cavendish will hang on to the red jersey.

  58. 15:58:12 BST

    Incredible burst of speed by Guardini there. He had a far from trouble free passage over the last 500 metres but switched to the outside and timed his challenge to perfection. Dare we say that someone has "out-Cav'd" Cav?

  59. 16:03:42 BST

    OFFICIAL TOP TEN - STAGE 18

    1 Andrea Guardini (Ita) Farnese Vini - Selle Italia
    2 Mark Cavendish (GBr) Sky Procycling
    3 Roberto Ferrari (Ita) Androni Giocattoli
    4 Robert Hunter (RSA) Garmin - Barracuda
    5 Lucas Sebastian Haedo (Arg) Team Saxo Bank
    6 Giacomo Nizzolo (Ita) RadioShack-Nissan
    7 Alexander Kristoff (Nor) Katusha Team
    8 Francesco Chicchi (Ita) Omega Pharma-Quickstep
    9 Geoffrey Soupe (Fra) FDJ-Big Mat
    10 Dennis Vanendert (Bel) Lotto Belisol Team

  60. 16:05:00 BST

    GC AFTER STAGE 18

    1 Joaquim Rodriguez Oliver (Spa) Katusha Team 77:47:38
    2 Ryder Hesjedal (Can) Garmin - Barracuda 0:00:30
    3 Ivan Basso (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale 0:01:22
    4 Michele Scarponi (Ita) Lampre - ISD 0:01:36
    5 Rigoberto Uran Uran (Col) Sky Procycling 0:02:56
    6 Benat Intxausti Elorriaga (Spa) Movistar Team 0:03:04
    7 Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) Colnago - CSF Inox 0:03:19
    8 Paolo Tiralongo (Ita) Astana Pro Team 0:04:13
    9 Thomas De Gendt (Bel) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team 0:04:38
    10 Sergio Luis Henao Montoya (Col) Sky Procycling 0:04:42

  61. 16:07:07 BST

    I've just about got my breath back after that incredible sprint finish. Seeing Cavendish defeated in that fashion is a real rarity and Guardini has certainly made those criticising him in the Italian media sit up and take notice.

  62. 16:12:17 BST

    That's all from our coverage of stage 18. A full report, results and images will be available right here as we get them.

    There was hardly any change in the overall GC, which was to be expected. Just three more days of racing to go now. Tomorrow's stage is another gruelling one and could be potentially decisive, so make sure you join us for our live coverage.