Vuelta Stage 12: Gilbert at long long last

Doug Pensinger

It has been a dry year for the reigning World Champion Philippe Gilbert but on stage 12 of the Vuelta with just a few racedays to go before a new champion takes over he finally won a race.

On a day that looked destined for the sprint right from the start when only a weak break of three riders was let go the finale was sort of predictable but the slight incline in the final 2 kms made it rather hectic. The peloton got stretched out and only a select few made it all the way to the front in the final. Sky launched Edvald Boassson Hagen on a long sprint and he got a big gap that looked winning. But Gilbert had finally found a day when all the stars aligned and he was the only one who was able to close in on the ever so slightly fading Norwegian in the final meters. His well timed burst saw him overtake Boasson Hagen and win the stage with about a bikelength in the end.

It looked like a duel between two strong candidates for the Worlds in Tuscany in a few weeks and we have seldom seen as happy and relieved stage-winner. Gilbert has been struggling uncharacteristically to put wins on the board this year but it looks as he might make a repeat of last year's Worlds peak and now it just remains to be seen how well suited the Firenze course is to him. Is it even slightly to his liking he should be a major factor to be reckoned with to the relief of Belgian fans who have had little to cheer about this season.

Top 10 stage 12

1. BELGILBERT, Philippe 51 BMC RACING TEAM 4h 03' 44''
2. NORBOASSON HAGEN, Edvald 192 SKY PROCYCLING 4h 03' 44'' + 0''
3. ARGRICHEZE, Maximiliano Ariel 137 LAMPRE-MERIDA 4h 03' 44'' + 0''
4. ITAPAOLINI, Luca 128 KATUSHA TEAM 4h 03' 44'' + 0''
5. BELMEERSMAN, Gianni 164 OMEGA PHARMA-QUICK STEP CYCLING TEAM 4h 03' 44'' + 0''
6. ITALASCA, Francesco 66 CAJA RURAL - SEGUROS RGA 4h 03' 44'' + 0''
7. FRACHAINEL, Steve 14 AG2R LA MONDIALE 4h 03' 44'' + 0''
8. RSAJANSE VAN RENSBURG, Reinardt 25 TEAM ARGOS-SHIMANO 4h 03' 44'' + 0''
9. FRAROUX, Anthony 107 FDJ.FR 4h 03' 44'' + 0''
10. AUSDEMPSTER, Zakkari 155 TEAM NETAPP-ENDURA 4h 03' 44'' + 0''

General Classification

1. ITANIBALI, Vincenzo 31 ASTANA PRO TEAM 45h 26' 06''
2. IRLROCHE, Nicolas 205 TEAM SAXO-TINKOFF 45h 26' 37'' + 31''
3. ESPVALVERDE, Alejandro 1 MOVISTAR TEAM 45h 26' 52'' + 46''
4. USAHORNER, Christopher 184 RADIOSHACK LEOPARD 45h 26' 52'' + 46''
5. ESPRODRIGUEZ, Joaquin 121 KATUSHA TEAM 45h 28' 39'' + 2' 33''
6. ITAPOZZOVIVO, Domenico 11 AG2R LA MONDIALE 45h 28' 50'' + 2' 44''
7. ITABASSO, Ivan 71 CANNONDALE PRO CYCLING 45h 28' 58'' + 2' 52''
8. FRAPINOT, Thibaut 101 FDJ.FR 45h 29' 41'' + 3' 35''
9. POLMAJKA, Rafal 202 TEAM SAXO-TINKOFF 45h 29' 52'' + 3' 46''
10. ESPMORENO, Daniel 127 KATUSHA TEAM 45h 30' 02'' + 3' 56''

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