Giro d’Italia #12: Venter 12th in treacherous conditions

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Sam Bennett outsmarted the bunch, by taking victory on a cold and wet stage 12 at the Giro d’Italia. He sprinted to the finish line ahead of Danny Van Poppel (LottoNL-Jumbo) and Niccolo Bonifazio (Bahrain-Merida).

Today’s stage at the Giro d’Italia was another long day out, running from Osimo and ending on the Imola race circuit after 214km. It was a relatively flat stage that was ear-marked for the sprinters.

An early break of five riders was established once racing got underway. They spent the majority of the race out front, being caught by the peloton with 18km of racing remaining. The wind and rain played a major role in the race, splitting the peloton in two before the riders entered the final race circuit. Once on the circuit, the tough conditions continued to influence the race, causing havoc within the peloton with all GC and sprint teams disorganized.

There were a few attacks from the GC contenders, but in the end, a strategic “long sprint” by Sam Bennett (Bora-Hansgrohe) saw him win the stage ahead of Danny Van Poppel (LottoNL-Jumbo) and Niccolo Bonifazio (Bahrain-Merida). Jaco Venter finished just outside the top 10 for Team Dimension Data, placing 12th, with Ryan Gibbons taking 16th. Ben O’Connor finished with the main bunch, maintaining his GC position of 13th place.

Jaco Venter – Rider

Today was another long stage over 200km, which started in good weather along the coast for the first 100km. The second 100km was very different though, as we raced through a big thunder shower. Quickstep and Bora were controlling the break for a bunch sprint today but the rain and tricky final circuit didn’t make it a straight forward sprint stage. The bunch was splitting in the tough conditions, and after the final climb we were only about 50 guys in the front. The plan was to set up Ryan for the sprint but after the climb in the final 15km, the descent to the finish was fast and slippery in the rain. It was difficult to know who was in the group in those conditions, so we ended up just doing what we could to get something out of the stage.