Ineos Grenadiers continue to make up for a lack of GC prospects in this year’s Giro d’Italia, winning its third stage victory on Thursday. Jhonatan Narváez had the luck of his breakaway partner Mark Padun flatting with 24 km to go and earned the biggest victory of his career. He becomes the second Ecuadorian to win a stage of the 103rd edition. João Almeida was safe in pink as very little happened in the GC race.
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Five categorized climbs and a few uncategorized ascents were spread evenly along the 204-km route that started and finished in Cesenatico. Rain and wind complicated things.
It's one of the toughest stages of this year's #Giro: 204 kilometers around Cesenatico, which will see the riders take on several short but really tough climbs where the peloton can split and gaps can form between the GC contenders. pic.twitter.com/QK8dD9Knu2
— Deceuninck-QuickStep (@deceuninck_qst) October 15, 2020
It was the kind of profile that would tempt a large breakaway, and a lucky 13 dashed away early. Simon Pellaud (Switzerland/Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec) was first over the Cat. 4 Ciola and Cat. 3 Barbotto. Joey Rosskopf (USA/CCC) attacked on the Cat. 3 Perticara, but it was Pellaud taking the maximum KOM points again.
On the Cat. 3 Madonna di Pugliano the breakaway split, the peloton 6:00 behind with 70 km to race. NTT drove the greatly reduced field in the crosswinds, with their GC man Domenico Pozzovivo in mind.
Leading from the front….
Great work from our team. 💪
Break of seven have around six minutes with 70km to go. pic.twitter.com/17h0i9EyXk
— NTT Pro Cycling (@NTTProCycling) October 15, 2020
Pellaud once more tipped over in the lead, but his 30 KOM points earned on Thursday still saw him 45 points behind classification leader Ruben Guerreiro (Portugal/EF Pro Cycling).
The final climb was Cat. 4 San Giovanni in Galilea (4.4 km of 6.3 percent with a maximum of 14 percent), cresting 30 km from the finish. By the time it started, there were two fugitives clear: Ukrainian Padun of Bahrain-Merida and the Grenadiers’ “other Ecuadorian” Jhonatan Narváez. The NTT-whipped group was 7:00 behind.
Padun flatted on the descent. He had 24 km to work back 24 second to Narváez. He came within 11 seconds but couldn’t not make the junction and eventually crossed the line over a minute back. All the riders were cold at the end.
Narváez’s triumph comes after Ineos rider Filippo Ganna won Stages 1 and 5, and Salvatore Puccio and Jonathan Castroviejo placed runner-up on Stages 8 and 9.
The only change to the GC top-10 was Jakob Fuglsang moving into 10th at the expense of Hermann Pernsteiner.
Friday is a fairly straightforward sprinter’s stage.
2020 Giro d’Italia Stage 12
1) Jhonatan Narváez (Ecuador/Ineos Grenadiers) 5:31:24
2) Marc Padun (Ukraine/Bahrain-Merida) +1:08
3) Simon Clarke (Australia/EF Pro Cycling) +6:50
2020 Giro d’Italia GC
1) João Almeida (Portugal/Deceuninck-Quick Step) 49:29:46
2) Wilco Kelderman (The Netherlands/Sunweb) +0:34
3) Pello Bilbao (Spain/Bahrain-McLaren) +0:43
4) Domenico Pozzovivo (Italy/NTT) +0:57
5) Vincenzo Nibali (Italy/Trek-Segafredo) +1:01
6) Patrick Konrad (Austria/Bora-Hansgrohe) +1:15
7) Jai Hindley (Australia/Sunweb) +1:19
8) Rafal Majka (Poland/Bora-Hansgrohe) +1:21
9) Fausto Masnada (Italy/Deceuninck-Quick Step) +1:36
10) Jakob Fuglsang (Denmark/Astana) +2:20