Giro d’Italia

Giro d’Italia favourite Alberto Contador extended his overall lead to 17 seconds over Fabio Aru on Thursday’s fast and rainy stage 12.

Former World Champion Philippe Gilbert won the stage, after making a perfectly timed attack on the short and steep final climb to the finish.

Team Sky’s Richie Porte remains over three minutes back on the Spaniard, after he was given a two-minute penalty for accepting a wheel from Orica-GreenEdge’s Simon Clarke.

Porte sits in twelfth place, well behind Contador, and surely too far from the lead to contemplate his first Grand Tour win.

The 2015 Giro route includes six mountain finishes and a long 59.2-kilometre individual time trial, providing an ideal showcase for the overall contenders. For the sprinters, there are six flat stages to take the honours in bunch finishes, with Sky’s Elia Viviani, Orica-GreenEdge’s Michael Matthews and Lotto-Soudal’s André Greipel taking one apiece thus far.

With victory at the Giro d’Italia 2014, Nairo Quintana (Movistar) became the first Colombian to win the race, but decided not to return to defend his title in 2015 as he concentrates on the Tour de France in July.

Former Giro winner and defending Tour de France champion Vincenzo Nibali has also skipped the Italian race, handing Astana leadership over to Aru.

Key info: Route guide | Start list | Contenders | TV guide

Key riders: Rigoberto Uran | Alberto Contador | Richie Porte | Fabio Aru

Previous editions: Giro d’Italia 2014 | Giro d’Italia 2013 | Giro d’Italia 2012 | Giro d’Italia 2011 | Giro d’Italia 2010