PREVIEW | Giro d'Italia 2024 stage 12 - Breakaway lottery on an explosive day where there could be GC action or sprint too

Stage 12 of the Giro d'Italia is one of the most open and tricky days at the Giro d'Italia. The hilly profile provides an opportunity for many to succeed, and we cannot exclude any scenario. We preview the stage ahead.

Stage 12 from Martinsicuro to Fano will be a tricky day. It features six categorized climbs - all of them small - and a few others. It's a day that is not too hard for a sprinter to take the win, but the combination of ascents will see breakaway specialists and classics riders try out their luck.

PREVIEW | Giro d'Italia 2024 stage 12 - Breakaway lottery on an explosive day where there could be GC action or sprint too
Stage 12: Martinsicuro - Fano, 183 kilometers

An explosive day, rather typical from the Giro I would say. In the hilly coast of the Adriatic we find plenty short and sharp climb that will make for an interesting day of racing with many scenarios that can lead to a victory.

The final sequence of climbs, starting from the second fourth category ascent, is as follows: 4.3Km; 4.4 (72Km to go); 900 meters at 9.9% (56Km to go); 4.8Km at 4.3% (44Km to go); 1.2Km at 5.1% (33Km to go). If the breakaway is to fight for the day, these ascents - but mainly the roads inbetween - will allow for attacks from some of the less strong climbers who will look to anticipate the final ascent, and win by the means of tactical prowess.

This could well happen. The final ascent is the hardest, but not overly difficult. The hilltop to Monte Giove is 1.2 kilometers long at 9.2% and summits with only 13Km to go. It's gradients go up to 18%, it can create differences in any group and decide the outcome of the stage. Following a small plateau the riders quickly descent into the final flat 6 kilometers, where teams can still work for a sprint to come to be.

PREVIEW | Giro d'Italia 2024 stage 12 - Breakaway lottery on an explosive day where there could be GC action or sprint too
PREVIEW | Giro d'Italia 2024 stage 12 - Breakaway lottery on an explosive day where there could be GC action or sprint too

The Weather

PREVIEW | Giro d'Italia 2024 stage 12 - Breakaway lottery on an explosive day where there could be GC action or sprint too
Map Giro d'Italia 2024 stage 12

Moderately strong southeastern wind. Yes, it matches perfectly with the map; the wind will follow along the coast and the exact direction the riders will be racing throughout most of the day. A tailwind, which will make it much more convenient for the breakaway riders... But also the final ascent will have a tailwind and could encourage attacks close to the finish.

The Favourites

GC fight? - Most likely the answer is no. Tadej Pogacar is the kind of rider who would traditionally take an opportunity such as this, but at this point of the race he neither needs it nor seems to be ordered to do so. UAE want a conservative race and the least matches burnt. With three stage wins in the pocket they will likely not burn themselves for another one... But other GC teams will not work either to try and get a stage win since to beat Pogacar would virtually be impossible. Only Jhonatan Narváez could realistically be a match if the climb would be ridden all out but I doubt INEOS will commit only taking that into consideration.

I expect a conservative day for the GC riders exactly as was the case with the gravel stage. It is an incredibly similar finale where a few riders may try but the podium contenders likely won't want to go all-out.

What about a sprint? - Unlikely, but not impossible. The first 50 kilometers of the stage are completely flat and not good for a strong group to go up the road. With plenty riders trying to get in, they may end up covering each other and a "random" group will go up the road. With several quality puncheurs, sprinters and Pogacar with a decent chance of winning, it would not be overly hard to control the day. In modern cycling - and the first stage was a good example - we sometimes see teams going all out to do this work. Kaden Groves, Luka Mezgec and Matteo Trentin could be some of the riders who can survive such terrain the best that then pack a strong pure sprint. Tobias Lund Andresen, Davide Ballerini and Jenthe Biermans are good outsider cards; whilst Jonathan Milan himself shouldn't be completely excluded as he does occasionally show great climbing legs.

But our main focus must be on the breakaway, dozens of riders pack a realistic chance of taking a win. This is because, despite having a tough final hilltop, the climbs earlier in the day are not so hard and the terrain is just perfect for long-range attacks. Classics riders, specially, could do quite well as they know how to race this kind of profile. Still it is key to mention the likes of Jhonatan Narváez and Max Schachmann as puncheurs in great form who could make a serious difference on that climb if it came down to that.

Narváez packs a very strong sprint; and he could very well headline a list of fast finishers that would also include the likes of Quinten Hermans, Andrea Vendrame, Aurélien Paret-Peintre, Andrea Piccolo and gravel stage winner Pelayo Sánchez. All of them would likely hope for a small group sprint. Laurence Pithie seems to be on rising form and if he is at his best, then he is just as dangerous for both scenarios.

Then we've got rouleurs who are extremely dangerous in such terrain and could decide the day before the climb. INEOS have particular firepower here with Filippo Ganna and Magnus Sheffield. The British team absolutely should aim for a breakaway win. Stage 5 winner Benjamin Thomas, Alessandro De Marchi, Jan Tratnik - who came close to win on stage 10 - and Lilian Calmejane have proven themselves this race already with strong performances. However with alliances, plenty others could be dangerous.

But we've got plenty quality riders remaining who could win under several scenarios. Soudal - Quick-Step is certain to aim high with Julian Alaphilippe and Mauri Vansevenant as quality puncheurs who have here one of their last opportunities; Astana with their puncheur trio of Henok Mulubrhan, Christian Scaroni and Simone Velasco; An Andrea Bagioli who is in rising form; Giulio Pellizzari who has shown himself great in these short climbs; Ewen Costiou and Mikkel Honoré who have each also put on strong rides in the first week.

Prediction Giro d'italia 2024 stage 12:

*** Jhonatan Narváez, Laurence Pithie, Max Schachmann
** Magnus Sheffield, Andrea Bagioli, Julian Alaphilippe, Jan Tratnik, Andrea Piccolo
* Tadej Pogacar, Daniel Martínez, Filippo Ganna, Kaden Groves, Luka Mezgec, Quinten Hermans, Ewen Costiou, Aurélien Paret-Peintre, Andrea Vendrame, Lilian Calmejane, Pelayo Sánchez, Alessandro De Marchi, Mauri Vansevenant, Giulio Pellizzari

Pick: Jan Tratnik

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