Giro d'Italia: Nico Denz scores significant sprint victory on stage 12 (2023)

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Nicole Dance(Bora-Hansgrohe) achieved the biggest victory of his career on stage 12trip to Italy, in winning the three-way sprint after a dramatic day.

The Germans wonTom Scukin(Trek Segafredo) iSebastian Bewick(Israel-Premier Tech) in the final sprint in Rivoli and made a big breakaway almost 100 km away.

The bulk headed home after eight minutes as Geraint Thomas (Ineos Grenadiers) kept the pink shirt and Patrick Conrad (Bora-Hansgrohe) both had the advantage in the closing minutes.

The breakaway consisted of 30 riders as it made up the sides of Pedaggera's early Class 3 climb, but was brutally whittled down to five riders with 95km to go. With many riders returning to buy raincoats, Skujins Trek-Segafredo teammates hit the brakes at the roundabout to give the five riders in front the lead.

Samuele Battistella (Astana, Kazakhstan) was there but fell shortly after vomiting on the bike, while Alessandro Tonelli (Green Project-Bardiani-CSF-Faizane) was carried away on the second stage of the late climb at Colle Braid distance and the last three men went to fight.

The highest point of this climb was 9.8km with a gradient of 7.1%, and it got even steeper in the last 5km, a virtual finish line for Denzo, who struggled to keep up as Skujins picked up the pace. The trio began the descent before Denz launched an attack with 12km to go that briefly knocked Berwick down and eventually exposed his weakness.

Denz was happy to be in the lead going into the final kilometer and Skujins could hardly have planned better as he began a sprint in the slipstream, but Denz was so strong that Skujins had to keep his head down as the German made a frantic bid for the first grand prix of the tournament in celebrated a stage victory in his career.

"I don't know what to say. It's obviously very important to me and I'm very proud," Danz said.

“I shouldn't break out. When I look around, there are only monsters - only big guys. I think it will be difficult for me to do something and I think I can help Conrad win the stage. But the cooperation is very, very bad and I was still in the lead, but suddenly we were in the lead and we were pushing hard.

"I was on the limit on the last climb. I barely made it. When I got to that point, I knew there was a kick and I had to attack with all my might. Apparently it all came back. I pulled myself together, but I also had a very fast finish that saved me in the end. Now I'm excited."

Looking at the overall standings, the top ten remained unchanged, but three outsiders gained some time.

Conrad finished 16th in 8:43 and was the day leader. At 4:15 he managed to move up three places to 13th. Kuss and Van Wilder continued to advance, returning from the Colle Braidi descent, 2:20 behind the winner, but almost 6 minutes faster than the peloton. Van Wilder, who replaced team leader Remco Evenepoel, moved up to 16th in 6:08, while Kuss moved up two places in 9:43. 20 digits.

as it develops

The 185km stage started with hilly terrain, then climbed steadily and led to the first three climbs on the Pedagger and launched a tough battle for victory. Some of the sprinters were kicked out of the first kicker after 5km before longer resistance caused the peloton to split into several parts.

At the second peak, after 13.4 km, the lead was taken by Marco Frigo (Israel Prime Minister Tech Team) and Davide Formolo (UAE UAE Team), but a big crowd formed behind them, and the "oil" consisted of only 50 people. The drivers of Ineos Grenadiers want peace at the chaotic start.

The breakthrough increased on the next big descent when 24 riders crossed: Michael Matthews (Jayco-AlUla), Mads Pedersen, Bauke Mollema, Toms Skujins, Amanuel Ghebreigzhabier (Trek-Segafredo), Alberto Bettiol (EF Education-EasyPost), Sepp Kuss , Michael Hessman (Jumbo-Visma), Ilan Van Wilder (Soudal-QuickStep), Alex Baudin, Valentin Paret-Painter (AG2R Citroën), Samuel Battistella, Vadim Pronskiy, Christian Scaroni (Astana, Kazakhstan), Nico Denz, Patrick Konrad ( Bora-Hansgrohe), Jasha Sutterlin (Bahrain Victorious), Einer Rubio (Movistar), Sebastien Berwick (Movistar), Marco Frigo (Israel-Premier Tech), Laurens Huys (Intermarket-Circus-Wanty), Jonathan Lastra (Cofidis), Veljko Stojnić (Corratec-Selle Italy), Alessandro Tonelli (Green Project-Bardiani).

During the Cat 3 climb on Pedagger, there were further attacks from teams who missed their boats. Denz leads the race while four riders share the 30th downhill lead: Luca Covili, Davide Gabburo (Green Project-Bardiani), Stefano Oldani (Alpecin-Deceuninck), Lorenzo Fortunato (Eolo-Kometa). Behind the large troop, they were regrouped and the distance was more than three minutes.

The first intermediate sprint took place at 80km and Pedersen took the opportunity to close the gap on Jonathan Milano (Bahrain Victory) in the overall standings. Matthews challenged and Sutlin tried to score, but Pedersen did his best.

Not long after, 95 kilometers from the finish line, there was a decisive halftime break. It was raining and cooperation faltered as the drivers stopped to put on their jackets. As they passed through the roundabout, a gap suddenly opened up for the four in front of them: Denzo, Skuggins, Berwick, Tonelli and Battistella. Skujin's Trek mate stepped on the pedal, opened it, and it was gone before anyone else could notice or react.

The first five people go all in, followed by discussions and doubts, sporadic accelerations, but no coordinated pursuit. With 88 kilometers to go, Battisetalla suddenly dropped the leash and threw up on the bike. Given that Battistella had two teammates, that may have given the chasing group an advantage, but if nothing else, things became more chaotic and contentious, and the gap narrowed to a minute.

Jack Haig (Bahrain Victory) and Andreas Leknessund (DSM) fell in the catchment zone, increasing the gap to seven minutes as the peloton relaxed.

However, drama ensues. With the first four 3 minutes behind and 66 km to go, it looked like the second group was finally starting to catch up solidly, but that wasn't the case. Bettiol was trying to control the pace while Oldani was so frustrated that he got into a heated argument with the Bardiani driver who was stopped on behalf of his team-mate Tonelli on the road.

Eventually the group finally got going as Baudin attacked with Scaroni and Bettiol soon joined them.

With 45 kilometers to go before the riders crossed the finish line for the first time, the top four were more than three minutes ahead of Bodin, Scaloni and Bettiollo, who had a 10-second lead by the end of the break, minus Pedersen, the latter nearly nine minutes behind the pack.

Approaching the Cat 2 main line of Braida College, the crossings of Oldani, Lastra, Huys, Frigo and Stojnic, a new attack formed and was soon joined by Formolo, Sutterlin and Paret-Peintre. The group started the climb 45 seconds behind Bettiol's trio and 2 minutes 40 seconds behind the top four.

The ascent is divided by 1500 meters of descent where very little happens in the first half. At the top of the steep Skujin accelerated, Tonelli fell, and Berwick struggled for a while. The other groups also broke up and soon Bettiol and Scaroni pushed Baudin out, but were then overtaken by the four pursuers of Formolo, Paret-Peintre, Frigo and Huys.

These riders persevered but reached the top of the climb three minutes later with little chance of reclaiming the stage win. Meanwhile, despite Pavel Sivakov (a poor drop for Ineos Grenadiers the previous day), the main body dominated an impressive performance.

More riders rejoined the chasing group on the descent, including Kuss, Hessmann and Rubio, but the win was gone. Denz started the winning fight with 12km to go but Skuggins was alive and Berwick was back after what seemed like an eternity. When asked to turn around, the Australian clarified: "I'm not doing anything."

The three battled together for the last 9 km, with Denz taking the lead. Bwerick struck from 250m out but was immediately gone and Denz reacted quickly to stop Skujins in an impressive display of strength.


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Giro d'Italia: Nico Denz scores significant sprint victory on stage 12 (26)

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Giro d'Italia: Nico Denz scores significant sprint victory on stage 12 (28)

Patrick Fletcher

Deputy editor-in-chief

chief clerk.Patrick is an NCTJ-trained reporter with seven years of professional cycling experience. He has a degree in modern languages ​​from Durham University and was able to use this for a multilingual campaign with a particular focus on French and Spanish speaking drivers. After joining Cyclingnews as a Reviews Contributor, Patrick became Features Editor in 2018, driving significant growth in long-form and feature writing on the page. He has been associate editor since 2022, taking on more responsibility for the site's content while continuing to write and - despite the disruptions caused by the pandemic - traveling the world to compete. Apart from cycling, Patrick spends most of his time playing or watching other sports - football, tennis, running, darts etc - but he draws the line when it comes to rugby.

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