Top Ryder: Ryder Hesjedal in pink as the Giro turns up the heat
We’re approaching the halfway stage of the 2012 Giro and the race is starting to take shape, with the big guns greasing the cogs for the steep climbs and rapid descents ahead. Here is a quick recap of how the stages have shaped the race so far.
Clearly feeling the effects of a nasty crash in Stage 2, Taylor Phinney battled hard to keep his Maglia Rosa in the Giro d’Italia’s team time trial, but fell 13 seconds shy.
The BMC Racing Team rider found it hard to hold the pace on the short ascent 12 kilometres from the start. The team lost a few seconds waiting for him on the climb; he looked sharper on the flat section, but he soon lost more time when he went flying through a sweeping bend. He didn’t fall, but it cost him another few seconds and snagged his rear derailleur in cabbage.
The team ended the 32.2 kilometre stage in 10th, 31 seconds behind eventual winners Garmin-Barracuda.
Phinney’s pink jersey passed to the Lithuanian Ramunas Navardauskas. His Garmin Barracuda team-mates Tyler Farrar, Robert Hunter and Ryder Hesjedal moved up to second, third and fourth in the overall classification.
Starting from Modena and following the edge of the Po valley to the Adriatic seaside in an almost pan-flat first hundred miles, this stage had a few small climbs on the coastal road, allowing the sprinters to get their teeth into a ferocious bunch finish.
It was no surprise to racing enthusiasts that Mark Cavendish (Team Sky) claimed his second stage of this year’s Giro d’Italia in Fano.
Cavendish was on the receiving end of another good lead out from his Sky team mates: Geraint Thomas, again leading the train, delivered Cavendish perfectly, allowing him to outsprint Matt Goss to take the victory.
Radioshack-Nissan’s Daniele Bennati grabbed third with South Africa’s Robbie Hunter back in fourth.
Miguel Angel Rubiano (Androni Giocattoli) secured the first solo breakaway win of the 2012 Giro d’Italia. In doing so, he notched up Colombia’s first victory in six years at Italy’s top stage race.
This was the biggest win of Rubiano’s career, with his most notable previous victory coming at a stage of the Tour de San Luis in 2011. If the team had not waited for leader Jose Rujano during the TTT, Rubiano would be wearing the coveted pink jersey.
Ryder Hesjedal became the first Canadian to wear the pink jersey in the Giro d’Italia, deserving plenty of praise after a gutsy ride on the slopes.
Hesjedal’s domestique riders, Peter Stetina and Christian Vande Velde, delivered him to the final climb: the 19km Rocca di Cambio ascent.
Hesjedal hovered all over the wheel of Fränk Schleck (RadioShack-Nissan); this excellent effort kept Rodríguez at bay, leaving the persistent Hesjedal in the pink jersey.