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Gilbert hits his target

As expected Philippe Gilbert won the day on the uphill, Cauberg-like, finish of stage 12 in the Giro. After a hard day in the rain we also saw plenty of action among the GC favorites in the wet and tricky finale. Fabio Aru lost some time on Contador despite all the work done by his team .

It was never going to be a day for the breakaway and the early attackers were caught by the time the race reached the hilly final part of the stage. Lois Vevaeke tried attacking and the Mountain-jersey contenders did what they could to grab points but the race really started on the Crosara climb with 30 km to go. In the wet and nasty conditions the field cracked on the climb and even more so on the following descent. Contador went for an inexplicable attack that only resulted in him isolating himself in a sea of Astana riders.

The descent caused all kinds of havoc with Alexandre Geniez providing entertainment with his attack and spectacularly poor descending, children and canines ran for their lives as he came flying out of control down the hill. On the flat run-in to Vicenza groups came together and Franco Pellizotti tried his luck with a well timed flyer. On a smaller climb other attackers tried joining him but he held his 20 second advantage until Astana's Tanel kangert used his descending skills to close in and join him at the front. With 5 km to go BMC took over at the front to try and close down he two leaders who had as much as 25-30 seconds and looked unreachable. Pellizotti was spent though and was summarily dropped as the duo entered the last km and the final climb. Kangert pressed on but behind Gilbert launched his sprint and the seconds flew away. With a few hundred meters to go Gilbert flew past a stalling Kangert, followed by Contador and Ulissi and he held on to win the stage in his inimitable style. Contador took second and some bonus seconds while Aru dropped off on the climb and lost valuable time, looking like death as he crossed the line clearly in crisis. If this was a sign of what is to come then Aru could be in big trouble even if he only lost 17 seconds on the day (11+6 bonus sec). He himself described it as a result of not eating and drinking properly and suffering a bit of a hunger-knock and for the race's sake we can only hope so or it could be a one-sided Contador race in the final week.

aru tired giro

Photo: LUK BENIES/AFP/Getty Images

Top 10 Stage 12

1 GILBERT Philippe BEL BMC 4:22:50 0:00 10"
2 CONTADOR VELASCO Alberto ESP TCS 4:22:53 0:3 6"
3 ULISSI Diego ITA LAM 4:22:53 0:3 4"
4 GESCHKE Simon GER TGA 4:22:53 0:3
5 BATTAGLIN Enrico ITA BAR 4:22:53 0:3
6 TIRALONGO Paolo ITA AST 4:22:53 0:3
7 IZAGUIRRE Jon ESP MOV 4:22:56 0:6
8 BETANCUR GOMEZ Carlos A. COL ALM 4:22:56 0:6
9 VAN DEN BROECK Jurgen BEL LTS 4:22:56 0:6
10 LANDA MEANA Mikel ESP AST 4:22:56 0:6