Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma-Quickstep) won his 100th victory as a professional on a rain soaked and tumultuos day at the Giro d’Italia that saw the overall chances of Bradley Wiggins (Sky) all but disappear on the road to Treviso.
A well-drilled chase and leadout from Omega Pharma-Quickstep caught the day’s breakaway with metres to spare and the Manxman duly delivered in a messy sprint ahead of Nacer Bouhanni (FDJ) and Luka Mezgec (Argos-Shimano).
Meanwhile Wiggins, reportedly suffering from a cold and struggling once again on the sodden asphalt, lost over three minutes on Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) and Cadel Evans (BMC).
Griding a big gear and grimacing into the rain, he lost touch with the pink jersey group inside the final 30km of the shortest stage of this year’s Giro and will surely have waved goodbye to his chances of overall victory, slipping to 13th overall.
Nearly all of his Sky teammates dropped back in vain to help with the chase, however Rigoberto Uran crucially kept up with the front group to consolidate third overall and now become Sky’s de facto leader.
Bittersweet day for the Brits
Talk this morning was of Cavendish’s chance to make it 100 wins as a professional and his Omega Pharma-Quickstep team lived up to expectations, taking control of the three-hour stage, that included two category four climbs, from the gun.
The day’s break of Marco Marcato (Vacansoleil-DCM), Maurits Lammertink (Vacansoleil-DCM), Bart De Backer (Argos-Shimano), Maxim Belkov (Katusha) and Fabio Felline (Androni-Venezuela) never achieved more than four minutes, although the quintet did appear to have misread the script as they stayed away until the final few hundred metres.
As Cavendish celebrated his 100th win by throwing a t-shirt with ’100′ on it to the crowd, Wiggins waved goodbye to his chances of victory and the coveted Giro-Tour double.
For very different reasons, whether either one of the pair will continue any further in this year’s race after this evening remains to be seen.
Giro d’Italia 2013, stage 12: Longarone to Treviso, 134km
1. Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma-Quickstep) in 3-01-47
2. Nacer Bouhanni (FDJ)
3. Luka Mezgec (Argos-Shimano)
4. Giacomo Nizzolo (Radioshack-Leopard)
5. Brett Lancaster (Orica-GreenEdge)
6. Manuel Belletti (Ag2r-La Mondiale)
7. Roberto Ferrari (Lampre-Merida)
8. Sacha Modolo (Bardiani Valvole-CSF Inox)
9. Ioannis Tamoridis (Euskaltel-Euskadi)
10. Francesco Ventoso (Movistar) all at s.t.
122. Bradley Wiggins (Sky) at 3-17
Overall classification after stage 12
1. Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) in 46-28-14
2. Cadel Evans (BMC) at 41 secs
3. Rigoberto Uran (Sky) at 2-04
4. Robert Gesink (Blanco) at 2-12
5. Michele Scarponi (Lampre-Merida) at 2-13
6. Mauro Santambrogio (Vini Fantini-Selle Italia) at 2-55
7. Przemyslaw Niemiec (Lampre-Merida) at 3-35
8. Benat Inxausti (Movistar) at 4-05
9. Domenico Pozzovivo (Ag2r-La Mondiale) at 4-17
10. Rafal Majka (Saxo-Tinkoff) at 4-21
13. Bradley Wiggins (Sky) at 5-32
Giro d’Italia 2013: Stage reports
Stage 11: Navardauskas wins solo as favourites enjoy day off
Stage 10: Uran wins as Wiggins and Hesjedal lose time
Stage nine: Belkov takes solo win as Wiggins put under pressure
Stage eight: Dowsett wins as Nibali takes race lead
Stage seven: Wiggins crashes as Hansen wins
Stage six: Cavendish wins stage six of Giro
Stage five: Degenkolb avoids crash to take win
Stage four: Battaglin sprints to first Giro stage win
Stage three: Paolini takes charge
Stage two: Sky wins team time trial
Stage one: Cavendish wins opener
Giro d’Italia 2013: Photo galleries
Photos by Graham Watson
Stage 11 gallery
Stage 10 gallery
Stage nine gallery
Stage eight gallery
Stage seven gallery
Stage six gallery
Stage five gallery
Stage four gallery
Stage three gallery
Stage two gallery
Stage one gallery
Team presentation gallery