Giro d'Italia: Bak wins in Sestri Levante

Lars Ytting Bak (Lotto Belisol) attacked out of a breakaway group which made it to the end of the twelfth stage of the Giro d'Italia and time trialed his way to the stage win. Sandy Casar (FDJ-BigMat) beat out Andrey Amador (Movistar) for second place 11 seconds behind the Dane.

Casar had hopes of taking over the maglia rosa, after having “virtually” worn it most of the day, but he fell 26 seconds short of taking the pink jersey from Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha), who retained the overall lead. Casar, however, has moved up to third overall on general classification.

The race-winning escape group formed 50km into the stage, but their lead hit the critical point approximately 50km later as Casar, the highest-placed rider on the attack at 4:01 off the lead, became the virtual maglia rosa on the road. Katusha was either unable or unwilling to do the lead work and protect Rodriguez's pink jersey. It was Liquigas-Cannondale, however, who ultimately took responsibility in the peloton and brought down the gap to the break. Still, it was nip and tuck until the end regarding a potential change in leadership at the Giro.

Bak had hoped to win one of the earlier stages in his native Denmark, but was happy enough with this win. It was the highpoint of a difficult spring, as he had injured his hand in a crash at the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad in March and had to sit out a month.

A successful escape

At 157km, Thursday's stage was significantly shorter than the previous one – about 100km shorter. The weather was equally nice, though, for the next rolling “middle mountain” stage which featured four ranked climbs.

It took about 50 km for the day's break group to get established which included Lars Bak (Lotto Belisol), Sandy Casar (FDJ-BigMat), Ivan Santaromita (BMC), Jan Bakelants (RadioShack-Nissan), Amets Txurruka (Euskaltel-Euskadi), Andrey Amador (Movistar), Jackson Rodriguez (Androni Giocattoli-Venezuela), Martijn Keizer (Vacansoleil-DCM) and Michal Golas (Omega Pharma-QuickStep).

Golas used his presence in the lead group to grab mountain points. After the day's second climb, the category three Valico Guaitarola, he was tied for the lead of the classification. That mountain also saw sprinter Mark Cavendish (Sky) fall back from the field.

As the finish line grew nearer, the gap grew larger. With about 50km to go, and a gap of 5:30 to the peloton, there was much discussion by Katusha, apparently trying to decide whether to defend the leader's jersey – which had by then “virtually” passed on to Casar – or to let it go and ride themselves of the burden of defending the jersey.

At the 40km marker the gap had skyrocketed to 6:30, but with two more climbs to go before the finish it was still unclear how things would play out. Rodriguez and Katusha were apparently unable to find allies to help them catch the group, and the gap continued to grow.

The gap topped out at seven minutes and started slowly slipping down again around the day's intermediate sprint, which came on the climb up the category two Valico La Mola.

With 35km to go, Liquigas-Cannondale got fed up with the situation and moved into the lead of the peloton, picking up the speed and pulling down the gap.

That looked to have done the trick. Casar and the lead group struggled up the climb, with their advantage decreasing practically every meter.

Golas jumped to take the points at the top and assure himself of the mountains jersey at the end of the day. He then kept on going, zipping his way down the descent.

Liquigas was able to drive the gap down to 4:10 but it climbed back up as the team apparently had decided to limit the damage rather than try to make up all the lost time. The gap crept back up over five minutes.

Meanwhile, Golas was going all out, too much so perhaps, as he only narrowly missed a few curbs and came close to running off the course a few times on the technical descent. His lead extended to approximately 25 seconds, but his fellow breakaway companions were unwilling to let him solo in for a win and gave furious chase.

Golas had hoped to at least make it to the day's final KOM in the lead, but was caught 2km before the top.

Casar saw his chance to take over the leader's jersey slipping away as the gap shrank again, and led the group up the rest of the climb. Amador jumped away, with Casar and Santaromita in pursuit. They caught and passed the Costa Rican, with Casar taking the mountain points ahead of Santaromita and Amador. The three then took off down the mountain, as the gap dropped to under four minutes just before the 10km marker, giving the maglia rosa back to Rodriguez.

The descent was on a narrow but well-paved road. Bakelants, Txurruka, and Bak moved up to join the three leaders, as Liquigas-Cannondale flew down the climb. The pink jersey had inserted himself into their ranks, taking the descent as fourth wheel.

With 5.8km to go, Amador attacked but the other five went right after him. Jackson Rodriguez, who had been dropped, caught up again, and as the group hit the flat run-in to the finish in Sestri Levante they looked to have run out of steam.

As the gap hit four minutes again, Casar and Santaromita both saw their chance for the leader's jersey and the six-man group came to life again. Bak attacked with just over 1.5km to go, and the others failed to react in time, a fatal error on their part. The Danish time trial specialist quickly pulled away and the rest never had a chance.

Bak sailed across the line for the win with a comfortable margin, which provided ample time to celebrate on the finishing straight. Casar narrowly outsprinted Amador for second on the stage 11 seconds later.

Then the waiting began, as to when the field would cross the line. The gap had dropped while the lead group fought it out, and Rodriguez crossed the line in the field 3:34 after Bak, close enough to remain in the Giro's lead for another day.

Full Results

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#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Lars Ytting Bak (Den) Lotto Belisol Team3:58:55
2Sandy Casar (Fra) FDJ-Big Mat0:00:11
3Andrey Amador Bakkazakova (CRc) Movistar TeamRow 2 - Cell 2
4Jan Bakelants (Bel) RadioShack-NissanRow 3 - Cell 2
5Ivan Santaromita (Ita) BMC Racing TeamRow 4 - Cell 2
6Jackson Rodriguez (Ven) Androni GiocattoliRow 5 - Cell 2
7Amets Txurruka (Spa) Euskaltel - EuskadiRow 6 - Cell 2
8Martijn Keizer (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team0:00:43
9Michal Golas (Pol) Omega Pharma-Quickstep0:00:48
10Juan Antonio Flecha Giannoni (Spa) Sky Procycling0:03:34
11Giovanni Visconti (Ita) Movistar TeamRow 10 - Cell 2
12Ben Hermans (Bel) RadioShack-NissanRow 11 - Cell 2
13Sergey Lagutin (Uzb) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling TeamRow 12 - Cell 2
14Jan Barta (Cze) Team NetAppRow 13 - Cell 2
15Serge Pauwels (Bel) Omega Pharma-QuickstepRow 14 - Cell 2
16Julien Vermote (Bel) Omega Pharma-QuickstepRow 15 - Cell 2
17Matthias Brandle (Aut) Team NetAppRow 16 - Cell 2
18Cesare Benedetti (Ita) Team NetAppRow 17 - Cell 2
19Ryder Hesjedal (Can) Garmin - BarracudaRow 18 - Cell 2
20Thomas De Gendt (Bel) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling TeamRow 19 - Cell 2
21Frank Schleck (Lux) RadioShack-NissanRow 20 - Cell 2
22Damiano Caruso (Ita) Liquigas-CannondaleRow 21 - Cell 2
23Diego Ulissi (Ita) Lampre - ISDRow 22 - Cell 2
24Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Astana Pro TeamRow 23 - Cell 2
25Dario Cataldo (Ita) Omega Pharma-QuickstepRow 24 - Cell 2
26Daniel Moreno Fernandez (Spa) Katusha TeamRow 25 - Cell 2
27Daniele Pietropolli (Ita) Lampre - ISDRow 26 - Cell 2
28Michele Scarponi (Ita) Lampre - ISDRow 27 - Cell 2
29Joaquim Rodriguez Oliver (Spa) Katusha TeamRow 28 - Cell 2
30Eros Capecchi (Ita) Liquigas-CannondaleRow 29 - Cell 2
31Tom Jelte Slagter (Ned) Rabobank Cycling TeamRow 30 - Cell 2
32Damiano Cunego (Ita) Lampre - ISDRow 31 - Cell 2
33Sergio Pardilla Bellon (Spa) Movistar TeamRow 32 - Cell 2
34Kevin Seeldraeyers (Bel) Astana Pro TeamRow 33 - Cell 2
35Grischa Niermann (Ger) Rabobank Cycling TeamRow 34 - Cell 2
36Marzio Bruseghin (Ita) Movistar TeamRow 35 - Cell 2
37Paolo Tiralongo (Ita) Astana Pro TeamRow 36 - Cell 2
38Francis De Greef (Bel) Lotto Belisol TeamRow 37 - Cell 2
39Hubert Dupont (Fra) AG2R La MondialeRow 38 - Cell 2
40Ivan Basso (Ita) Liquigas-CannondaleRow 39 - Cell 2
41José Rujano Guillen (Ven) Androni GiocattoliRow 40 - Cell 2
42Juan Manuel Garate (Spa) Rabobank Cycling TeamRow 41 - Cell 2
43Tanel Kangert (Est) Astana Pro TeamRow 42 - Cell 2
44Gustav Larsson (Swe) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling TeamRow 43 - Cell 2
45Stefano Locatelli (Ita) Colnago - CSF InoxRow 44 - Cell 2
46Stefano Pirazzi (Ita) Colnago - CSF InoxRow 45 - Cell 2
47John Gadret (Fra) AG2R La MondialeRow 46 - Cell 2
48Mikel Nieve Ituralde (Spa) Euskaltel - EuskadiRow 47 - Cell 2
49Bart De Clercq (Bel) Lotto Belisol TeamRow 48 - Cell 2
50Juan Jose Oroz Ugalde (Spa) Euskaltel - EuskadiRow 49 - Cell 2
51Angel Vicioso Arcos (Spa) Katusha TeamRow 50 - Cell 2
52Alberto Losada Alguacil (Spa) Katusha TeamRow 51 - Cell 2
53Emanuele Sella (Ita) Androni GiocattoliRow 52 - Cell 2
54Johann Tschopp (Swi) BMC Racing TeamRow 53 - Cell 2
55Volodymir Gustov (Ukr) Team Saxo BankRow 54 - Cell 2
56Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) Colnago - CSF InoxRow 55 - Cell 2
57Marco Pinotti (Ita) BMC Racing TeamRow 56 - Cell 2
58Gianluca Brambilla (Ita) Colnago - CSF InoxRow 57 - Cell 2
59Angelo Pagani (Ita) Colnago - CSF InoxRow 58 - Cell 2
60Rigoberto Uran Uran (Col) Sky ProcyclingRow 59 - Cell 2
61Thomas Rohregger (Aut) RadioShack-NissanRow 60 - Cell 2
62Oliver Zaugg (Swi) RadioShack-NissanRow 61 - Cell 2
63Sylvester Szmyd (Pol) Liquigas-CannondaleRow 62 - Cell 2
64Przemyslaw Niemiec (Pol) Lampre - ISDRow 63 - Cell 2
65Jon Izagirre Insausti (Spa) Euskaltel - EuskadiRow 64 - Cell 2
66Carlos José Ochoa (Ven) Androni GiocattoliRow 65 - Cell 2
67Geoffrey Soupe (Fra) FDJ-Big MatRow 66 - Cell 2
68Bartosz Huzarski (Pol) Team NetAppRow 67 - Cell 2
69Sergio Luis Henao Montoya (Col) Sky ProcyclingRow 68 - Cell 2
70Benat Intxausti Elorriaga (Spa) Movistar TeamRow 69 - Cell 2
71José Herrada Lopez (Spa) Movistar TeamRow 70 - Cell 2
72Peter Stetina (USA) Garmin - BarracudaRow 71 - Cell 2
73Christian Vande Velde (USA) Garmin - BarracudaRow 72 - Cell 2
74Mathieu Perget (Fra) AG2R La MondialeRow 73 - Cell 2
75Valerio Agnoli (Ita) Liquigas-CannondaleRow 74 - Cell 2
76Stefan Denifl (Aut) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team0:03:51
77Mathias Frank (Swi) BMC Racing Team0:04:15
78Alessandro Spezialetti (Ita) Lampre - ISD0:04:22
79Matteo Tosatto (Ita) Team Saxo BankRow 78 - Cell 2
80Stef Clement (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team0:07:12
81Cristiano Salerno (Ita) Liquigas-CannondaleRow 80 - Cell 2
82Brian Bulgac (Ned) Lotto Belisol TeamRow 81 - Cell 2
83Evgeny Petrov (Rus) Astana Pro TeamRow 82 - Cell 2
84Fumiyuki Beppu (Jpn) Orica GreenEdge Cycling TeamRow 83 - Cell 2
85Miguel Angel Rubiano Chavez (Col) Androni GiocattoliRow 84 - Cell 2
86Manuel Belletti (Ita) AG2R La MondialeRow 85 - Cell 2
87Jose Rodolfo Serpa Perez (Col) Androni GiocattoliRow 86 - Cell 2
88Simone Ponzi (Ita) Astana Pro Team0:08:08
89Fabio Sabatini (Ita) Liquigas-CannondaleRow 88 - Cell 2
90Andrey Zeits (Kaz) Astana Pro TeamRow 89 - Cell 2
91Paolo Longo Borghini (Ita) Liquigas-CannondaleRow 90 - Cell 2
92Gregor Gazvoda (Slo) AG2R La MondialeRow 91 - Cell 2
93Jens Keukeleire (Bel) Orica GreenEdge Cycling TeamRow 92 - Cell 2
94Dominique Rollin (Can) FDJ-Big MatRow 93 - Cell 2
95Geraint Thomas (GBr) Sky ProcyclingRow 94 - Cell 2
96Nikolas Maes (Bel) Omega Pharma-QuickstepRow 95 - Cell 2
97Ben Gastauer (Lux) AG2R La MondialeRow 96 - Cell 2
98Andreas Dietziker (Swi) Team NetAppRow 97 - Cell 2
99Matteo Montaguti (Ita) AG2R La MondialeRow 98 - Cell 2
100Matteo Bono (Ita) Lampre - ISDRow 99 - Cell 2
101Maciej Bodnar (Pol) Liquigas-CannondaleRow 100 - Cell 2
102Francis Mourey (Fra) FDJ-Big MatRow 101 - Cell 2
103Sébastien Rosseler (Bel) Garmin - Barracuda0:09:43
104Jussi Veikkanen (Fin) FDJ-Big Mat0:12:05
105Guillaume Bonnafond (Fra) AG2R La MondialeRow 104 - Cell 2
106Aliaksandr Kuchynski (Blr) Katusha TeamRow 105 - Cell 2
107Branislau Samoilau (Blr) Movistar TeamRow 106 - Cell 2
108Pavel Brutt (Rus) Katusha TeamRow 107 - Cell 2
109Mikhail Ignatyev (Rus) Katusha TeamRow 108 - Cell 2
110Fabio Felline (Ita) Androni GiocattoliRow 109 - Cell 2
111Danilo Wyss (Swi) BMC Racing TeamRow 110 - Cell 2
112Luca Mazzanti (Ita) Farnese Vini - Selle ItaliaRow 111 - Cell 2
113Enrico Gasparotto (Ita) Astana Pro TeamRow 112 - Cell 2
114Matteo Carrara (Ita) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling TeamRow 113 - Cell 2
115Robert Hunter (RSA) Garmin - BarracudaRow 114 - Cell 2
116Daryl Impey (RSA) Orica GreenEdge Cycling TeamRow 115 - Cell 2
117Ramunas Navardauskas (Ltu) Garmin - BarracudaRow 116 - Cell 2
118