LOTTO’S LARS BAK made the decisive move to win stage 12 of the Giro d’Italia today, ahead of eight other breakaway riders.
The 32-year-old Dane waited until just before the final kilometre to burst away from the other front runners, timing his attack perfectly. Bak was part of an original group of seven which broke away just 45km into the 155km-stage between Seravezza and Sestri Levante.
The group, later joined by Martijn Keizer (Vacansoleil) and Jackson Rodriguez (Androni), were as much as seven minutes in front of the peloton. That gap offered breakaway riders Sandy Casar (FDJ-BigMat) and Ivan Santaromita (BMC) a chance of ending the day in the pink jersey.
But although the nine-man group held off the peloton for the remainder of today’s stage, they were reeled to see Katusha’s Joaquim Rodriguez remain top of the general classification.
Bak’s victory took a potential 20-second gain away from Casar, who was best-placed to take the overall lead from Rodriguez. The former Danish time trial champion powered through the final kilometre to win by 11 seconds from Casar, Andrey Amador (Movistar) and four others of the breakaway group.
It was Bak’s first stage victory since the Tour of Benelux in 2009.
Spaniard Rodriguez, 33, remains 17 seconds ahead of Ryder Hesjedal of Garmin-Barracuda, while Casar has moved third, nine seconds further back.
Paolo Tiralongo of Astana is fourth, 32 seconds behind Rodriguez, while Santaromita’s involvement in Thursday’s breakaway puts him fifth, 49 seconds off the Giro’s leader.