Another medium mountain day on tap for the peloton at the Giro today, with a lumpy course profile spanning 186 kms from Civitavecchia to Assisi.
The early break lived up to its name and established itself early again, containing: Bonnafond (Ag2r), Mнnguez (Euskaltel-Euskadi), Failli (Farnese Vini), Brandle (NetApp) and Keizer (Vacansoleil).
Over some of the later climbs, the break was split as the attacks and in-fighting began. The break broke into two trios, as the peloton had the hook firmly set and was methodically reeling them in.
The three leaders were 100% all in at this point, while the peloton, smelling blood and knowing they could reel the escapees in at will, spent most of its time spreading out across the road as teams kept their captains neatly near the front.
The break reunited as a sextet, and immediately went back to work, rotating as hard as possible, each rider taking their pulls.
The Garmin-Barracuda team decided the six reunited break riders were too dangerous with 50’ and just 15km to go, so they put riders on the front with a mission to protect Ryder Hesjedal’s maglia rosa. And as sure as birds can fly, the gap immediately had a dent put in it. Fifty seconds became thirty seconds right quick as the entire Garmin-Barracuda team made its way to the front and put the group in a straight line. Liquigas also lurked en masse near the front.
At 10km the gas turned down a bit in the peloton as they sped towards the finish town of Assisi, and two small but sharp climbs for the finale. Rabobank’s Stef Clement up front led the break, laboring out of the saddle, shoulders rocking. They were more than likely to be caught, but not without a fight.
But by 8km the writing was on the wall as the peloton had the break in their sites. All the GC favorites were tucked in near the front as the break was swept up at full speed with 7km to go.
At the back, Cavendish seemed to struggle and didn’t seem to have interest in the finish, as ironically his Sky team was at the front driving the pace along with Astana. Garmin seemed to have burned their matches as they settled back a few wheels and huddled around their leader clad in the pink jersey.
5 km to go, and the jets were on, but a little nervous. A few suicidal jumps, and a few moments of looking around, as they started the final climb before the uphill finishing drag This little stinger was 3.9 k in length, with an average 8.8% gradient, with a max of 15%. Ouch!
Hesjedal wasn’t giving up the maglia rosa without a fight, and hung in right to the end, just missing a crucial time bonus that helped Rodriguez.
Radioshack did the early tempo work, while Ryder Hesjedal helped himself to some Astana wheels, keeping himself well positioned right near the front. The first little jumps from riders came and went, none of them sticking. The group started to sharpen up with the heads of state of this year’s Giro all near the front.
Ryder’s head started bobbing a little bit, so Scarponi tested him and made a little dig, but the maglia rosa dug deep to maintain contact.
Rabobank made a move with Tom Slagte, but again it only served to stretch out the group as all the favorites were keen to keep everything in line. Two riders jumped away. Gadre of AG2R and Uran from Sky “killed the hill” and immediately slipped away from the field.
Rodriguez gets ready to jump…
The field caught wind of it immediately as they blasted into town and under the 1km mark had them swept up with Katusha leading the charge in the skinny ancient roads. And it stayed that way until they raced through the magnificent ‘striped’ square in front of the famous church, turning onto an ever narrowing street – jammed with tifosi.
Tiralongo made a dig, got caught by Slegte, and Rodriguez of Katusha laid in wait….the uphill drag to the finish favored only the strongest. Purito made his jump in the final meters and it was never in doubt as he took the win a few lengths ahead of NetApp’s Huzarkski.
The maglia rosa power in for in 6th, but 6th wouldn’t be good enough as with Rodriguez’s win came the time bonus, putting him in the jersey. A valiant effort, but the Canadian’s run in pink was over.
A perfect stage for Rodriguez, who takes over the race lead.
Stay tuned for Ed’s Roadside report – !
Giro 2012 Results: Stage 10
1 Joaquim Rodriguez Oliver (Spa) Katusha Team 4:25:05
2 Bartosz Huzarski (Pol) Team NetApp 0:00:02
3 Giovanni Visconti (Ita) Movistar Team 0:00:02
4 Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) Colnago – CSF Inox 0:00:06
5 John Gadret (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 0:00:06
6 Ryder Hesjedal (Can) Garmin – Barracuda 0:00:06
7 Tom Jelte Slagter (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team 0:00:06
8 Dario Cataldo (Ita) Omega Pharma-Quickstep 0:00:06
Overall After Stage 10: Giro 2012
1 Joaquim Rodriguez Oliver (Spa) Katusha Team 40:27:34
2 Ryder Hesjedal (Can) Garmin – Barracuda 0:00:17
3 Paolo Tiralongo (Ita) Astana Pro Team 0:00:32
4 Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Astana Pro Team 0:00:52
5 Benat Intxausti Elorriaga (Spa) Movistar Team 0:00:52
6 Ivan Basso (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale 0:00:57
7 Damiano Caruso (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale 0:01:02
8 Dario Cataldo (Ita) Omega Pharma-Quickstep 0:01:03