17/05/18 - 12:15 PM
Osimo - Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari

Osimo - Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari
Giro d'Italia - 17 May 2018

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Today's stage result...


Yes, Yates, Dumoulin, Pinot, Aru, Pozzovivo, Carapaz, Froome, Dennis, Lopez et al all appeared to be there and so there shouldn't be any change on GC today.


We're waiting for confirmation of the results and all the splits - but it looks like Simon Yates finishes safely in that leading group and so will retain the pink jersey today after that chaotic finish in the rain.


Here's the moment Sam Bennett left the rest of his rivals for dead... what a sprint from the Irishman at Imola.


With those 50pts Bennett is going to close the gap on Elia Viviani significantly in the battle for the ciclamino jersey.


Danny van Poppel (LottoNL-Jumbo) took second place as Niccola Bonifazio (Bahrain Merida) powers through but leaves it too late and takes third.


The Irishman went so early and so clinically that he didn't even have to sprint for the win at the end - he can sit up and savour it as he crosses the line to take his second win of the race.


Victory for Sam Bennett of Bora-Hansgrohe!


Betancur looks to have given up... and that's why - Sam Bennett powers through!


Under the 1-to-go banner and they're back on the circuit. They may hold on... still four seconds...


Still 5 seconds but Mohoric is a dogged performer and has nothing to lose. Behind it's EF Education First who lead the chase.


Bora-Hansgrohe lead the chase. They reel in Ulissi. Just two more to go now. Danny van Poppel may still be there for LottoNL-Jumbo so it could be him, Bennett and Bonifazio in the finale. No news on Modolo but Viviani has gone.


Mohoric, who won the stage two days ago, catches Betancur. Ulissi is just behind and the peloton another 6 seconds back.


The chasing riders have to take a slippery tight corner very gingerly. Betancur leads the race going under the 5-to-go banner with Ulissi and Mohoric just behind.


The gap is 5 seconds for the two leaders.


Betancur and Ulissi zip down the descent with Mohoric and Patrick Konrad of Bora in pursuit on the front of the streamlined pack.


It's Carlos Betancur who joins Ulissi over the summit - and they have a small gap over the others.


They've done two of the three 'monti' and now it's just the last ramp to the summit. Ulissi has about 20 metres on the others as a Movistar rider kicks clear in pursuit.


Diego Ulissi has a dig when the main pack reforms 600m from the summit.


Bora have sent a man up the road in a pre-emptive attack. Blimey, it's Sam Bennett! He has Mohoric in his wheel and De Marchi is there now for BMC.


Rohan Dennis (BMC) kicks clear and joins Henao on the front. Yates is also right there - in fifth wheel as the pack splits once again going over the first crest. Now it's Mohoric who comes to the front - and Bennett is still in a good position.


Henao has a Katusha rider with him but their gap is small on this climb of Tremonti. EF Education First are bringing the pack back... Truly horrific conditions out there - rain, wind and general grimness.


There will be time losses today - but will any GC rider get caught out? Some already may have been. Wellens is caught and Sergio Henao takes it up.


Van Asbroeck peels off after his shift. Wellens only has five seconds now...


They're off the circuit now and heading onto the climb. Wellens still has 12 seconds but he's starting to struggle. Tom van Asbroeck of EF is driving the pace.


Wellens' gap is coming down as EF Education First drive the chase. They're buoyed by the disappearance of Viviani.


Wellens still has 17 seconds - and it looks like Viviani has been dropped as the peloton strings out on the circuit.


Tim Wellens, in time trial mode, swings onto the race track and powers towards the start-finish straight... he crosses the line with a gap of 12-odd seconds over the pack.


More on today's finish circuit... before it started raining, mind.


Wellens is going all guns blazing. His gap is up to 13 seconds now as the peloton is all strung out in pursuit. The conditions are apocalyptic.


Attack by Tim Wellens of Lotto-Fix All! The Belgian decides that the best place to be is out in front and he zips clear after a tight-bend. This is the kind of move that Zakarin made a few years ago.


The two packs have almost come together - but it was a reminder of what can happen when there is so much water on the road. It's almost pitch-black here as we approach the Imola race circuit. The two remaining escapees have been caught.


Yates, Dumoulin, Pinot and Froome all appear to be in this main pack. They have 25 seconds on the second pack, with the two escapees still 10 seconds out ahead.


The rain and all that surface water is wreaking havoc pretty much everywhere. Maestri and Mosca have ridden clear of the other escapees, who in turn have been swept up by the first pack. Viviani and Carapaz are not the only big-name riders who missed the split: the likes of Miguel Angel Lopez, Niccolo Bonifazio and Dominco Pozzovivo have all been caught out...


And that's why Bora-Hansgrohe are driving the pace: Viviani has also been dropped! Not only that, but around 100 riders have been caught out... the current main pack is only 60-odd strong.


There's a split and the white jersey of Richard Carapaz has been caught out. He's currently 45 seconds off the back of the peloton, with the breakaway now only 30 seconds ahead as Bora-Hansgrohe really throw down the hammer. All seven of Sam Bennett's team-mates are on the front.


It's coming down like cats and dogs now! Lightning is striking twice - it was like this when Ilnur Zakarin won three years ago.


I spoke too soon: the rain is now tumbling down again as the gap is reduced to two minutes.


The rain has eased up, by the way. The gap is still 2'30" for the five leaders.


Meanwhile, it's another 3pts for sixth place in the sprint as Viviani leads the peloton over the line. The Italian moves up to 184pts in the points classification to extend his lead in the maglia ciclamino competition. Can he add another 50pts with a third stage win at Imola in an hour or so?


Another intermediate sprint win for Androni's Frapporti who out-kicks Zhupa and Maestri in Forli. The 33-year-old is unbeatable in these breakaway sprints this year.


There's a game of cat-and-mouse going on in the break as Frapporti slows right down, knowing that Zhupa is sandbagging him ahead of the sprint. As a result the two riders slip 20 metres back from the other escapees and have their work cut out ahead of the sprint...


Hugh Carthy and Joe Dombrowski are the two EF riders setting tempo on the front, with riders from Quick-Step and Bora-Hansgrohe just behind. It's been a day of rest for the GC teams as the sprinters take centre stage with their support. That said, everyone will be on red alert on that final climb of Tremonti. The gap is down to 2'30" with the second intermediate sprint coming right up.


Fighting talk from EF Education First-Drapac powered by (published by? personal best??) Cannodale... Can Modolo now deliver?


Today's finish climb of Tremonti has been compared to the Poggio climb used in Milan-Sanremo - and here's why... The question is - will a sprinter win or can someone do a Vincenzo Nibali?


The gap has grown back above the three-minute mark for our five leaders - four Italians and an Italian-based Albanian.


Rain still coming down hard - and so too is the advantage of the break. They now have two-minutes on the pack and will almost certainly be reeled in ahead of that climb 10km from the finish in Imola.


The gap is 2'40" for the five-man break, who have been out from the 3km mark today. They are: Marco Frapporti (Androni-Giocattoli), Mirco Maestri and Manuel Senni (Bardiani-CSF) and Jacopa Mosca and Eugert Zhupa (Wilier Triestina).


The rain that has threatened to fall for quite a while is now pouring down. Many pre-empted it and got on their capes and jackets beforehand, but most of the peloton have been caught out and are now grappling with their wet weather clothing. It was very wet the last time the race came to Imola three years ago...


EF Education First-Drapac have been setting the tempo on the front of the pack through Mitch Docker and Joe Dombrowski for large parts of this stage. It's currently the moustachioed Australian Docker who drives the pace with the gap down to 2'25".


It's not the same Tiber river that runs through Rome - it's not even the Tiber, but the Marecchia - and nor is the bridge even named after the same Roman emperor. But still, it looks nice from above.


Talking of food, the press buffet at Imola appears to be a DIY affair that leaves journalists with not much change from a 20 euro note. Looks tasty, mind.


The break pass through the feed zone with three minutes to play with. Talking of food, our man Jonathan Harris-Bass has been doing a daily food blog during the Giro - and today's offering is trout...


The Giro came to Imola in 2015 with the rangy Russian Ilnur Zakarin of Katusha taking the win in the rain after a gutsy attack over the final climb - so a bunch sprint is far from guaranteed. That said, it was a very different parcours with five ascents ahead of four laps of the circuit including that climb.


The riders are passing the coastal resort of Cattolica en route to Rimini before heading inland towards the finish.


The break has just crested the summit of a small mound that rises 122 metres to La Siligata. It's quite punchy and the peloton is all strung out as they collectively big-ring it up out of the saddle, trailing the five escapees by 3'10". That's it for climbs until the final 20km of the stage.


It's all Quick-Step, Bora-Hansgrohe and EF Education First-Drapac on the front of the pack now as they help to regulate the advantage of the break for their sprinters Elia Viviani, Sam Bennett and Sacha Modolo ahead of today's fast finish at Imola. The gap is 3'30" for now.


There are still a few maglia ciclamino points available for the riders in the peloton, which prompts Elia Viviani and his Quick-Step team to come to the front. It's the Italian who swallows up the three points for sixth place and extend his lead in the maglia ciclamino standings. He led Sam Bennett by 178pts to 112pts this morning, and now is up to 181pts. But there's a huge 50pts available to the winner today so that will far more important in this battle.


That man Marco Frapporti bounds clear and staves off a two-pronged Wilier Triestina attack at bay to win the first intermediate sprint at Pesaro. It's Zhupa who pushes him right to the line but in the end Frapporti has enough kick to extend his lead in the intermediate sprints competition and win some more pocket money for his wildcard Androni team. He's not too interested in the maglia ciclamino competition, for which points are also up for grabs in the intermediate sprints, because he's well down on leader Elia Viviani there.


Someone is excited about today's finish at Imola... After all, Carlton Kirby is a huge petrol-head who often commentates on motor-sport too...


Still 3'35" for the five escapees, none of whom have ever won a stage on the Giro before. The best placed of them on GC is Manuel Senni, who is almost one-and-a-half hours down - making him only a threat if this race were being run a century ago when such gaps could be established over the 500km+ stages of yesteryear.


Marco Frapporti has amassed more breakaway kilometres than anyone else in this year's Giro - and by being in the break today he will pass the 500km mark, and some. Frapporti's last blast off the front was in Tuesday's stage to Gualdo Tadino, where he attacked with around 90km remaining and stayed out until reeled in by chasers Davide Villella and Matej Mohoric, who went on to win the stage. Here's a tweet from his last foray off the front, just to remind you of his badassery.


Just a reminder of the state of play in the battle for pink - with Yates now 47 seconds clear of his nearest rival Tom Dumoulin after adding another six seconds through his victory in Osimo. To answer the odd question posed by our social media man - yes, of course he will hold onto the maglia rosa today. Unless he stalls big time on that final climb outside Imola, that is.


We spoke to Chris Froome this morning and the Team Sky rider explained that in yesterday's finale - where he lost 40 seconds - he was caught out behind the crash which saw his team-mate Sergio Henao hit the barriers, and that made it hard for him to stay in touch with Yates et al. That and just not having the legs. The four-time Tour champion still hopes that he can turn things round in Saturday's stage to Monte Zoncolan.


The maglia rosa Simon Yates is currently very far back from the peloton after dropping back for a call of nature and a chat with the team car. It's no cause for concern as he has two Mitchelton-Scott team-mates with him - and no one will attack him on a stage like this. Indeed, after a frantic two days over rolling roads in the Abruzzo, Umbria and Le Marche - the first of which ended Esteban Chaves's hopes after the Colombian imploded in stage 10 - today and tomorrow presents an opportunity for the GC riders to save energy and recover ahead of the mountain showdowns over the weekend.


Could it be a hat-trick for Viviani, a double for Bennett or victory for someone else?


The gap has stabilised around the 3'10" mark for the five leaders with the EF Education First-Drapac team of sprinter Sacha Modolo - still without a win - fairly active on the front of the pack.


Our man Brian 'The Coach' Smith previews the finish today - which is not as straight-forward as it may seem...


Androni's presence in the break through the familiar face of Frapporti means that Gianni Savio's team have been involved in a break every day so far in this year's Giro. The run continues! Now if only they'd actually win a stage...


Tanel Kangert of Astana initially withdrew from the race this morning citing illness - but the Estonian had a change of heart and took to the start at Osimo.


Here's today's route in detail - and it's a return to the seaside as the riders head towards the port of Ancona before riding north up the Adriatic coast before skirting Rimini and heading inland for the finish at Imola.


Our friends at GCN are doing a daily highlights and analysis programme which you can watch here. In the latest episode, Dan Lloyd and Simon Richardson discuss yesterday's victory for Simon Yates and explain why Tom Dumoulin may have actually been the big winner...

Video - GCN Giro Daily: Stage 11- Is 'quietly pleased' Tom Dumoulin today's real winner?


The gap is already four minutes for our five leaders.


The riders are Marco Frapporti (Androni-Giocattoli), Mirco Maestri and Manuel Senni (Bardiani-CSF) and Jacopa Mosca and Eugert Zhupa (Wilier Triestina). So, like yesterday, there are four Italians in a five-man break...


Wildcard mayhem! An early attack of five riders pings off the front and it includes two riders from Bardiani-CSF, two from Wilier Triestina and one from Androni-Giocattoli - so that's all three Italian wildcard teams accounted for. Gluttons for punishment, eh?


They're off! There will no doubt be some early attacks even if, on paper, anyone would be crazy to take on the teams of the sprinters today...


Splendid scenes in the Marche town of Osimo this morning as the riders rolled through en route to the official start...


Here's what in store for the remaining 169 riders - with just that small Cat.4 climb adding a bit of intrigue ahead of what should be a fast finish at Imola.


Yesterday, Britain’s Simon Yates held off Dutchman Tom Dumoulin to win for a second time on the Giro and extend his lead in the overall standings after an explosive conclusion to Stage 11 in Osimo saw Chris Froome endure another day to forget. Doing the maglia rosa proud, the in-form Yates attacked early and clinically on the final climb of the short and sharp 155km stage from Assisi, blowing the peloton apart and reminding his GC rivals that he is the man to beat in the 101st edition of La Corsa Rosa. Yates, of Mitchelton-Scott, made his decisive move with a kilometre and a half remaining to catch Czech national champion Zdenek Stybar and the Belgian Tim Wellens on a steep 16-percent ramp before riding clear of Team Sunweb’s Dumoulin and the rest of the field.


Hello and welcome to live coverage of stage 12 of the Giro d'Italia - a 214km largely pizza-flat schlep from Osimo to the race circuit at Imola. Quite aptly, it's going to be one for the sprinters and a resumption of the maglia ciclamino battle between Elia Viviani and Sam Bennett.