Rigoberto Uran was the big winner of Stage 12 of the 2014 Giro d'Italia, dominating the time trial on tap and taking advantage of Cadel Evans' struggles in the early parts of the course to take over the pink jersey as the pack starts gearing up for the mountain stages.
Cycling Weekly had the result:
Cadel Evans (BMC) places third on stage, but Rigoberto Uran (Omega Pharma) takes the stage win & race lead on #Giro d'Italia stage 12— Cycling Weekly (@cyclingweekly) May 22, 2014
Evans had to fight back from slower times in the first and second splits to finish in third, trailing the winner by one minute and 34 seconds. Diego Ulissi held the lead until Uran crossed the line as the second-to-last rider, and the Italian would beat out Evans for second.
|1||Rigoberto Uran||Colombia||Omage Pharma - Quick Step||57:34|
|4||Rafal Majka||Poland||Tinkoff - Saxo||+1:39|
|5||Gianluca Bambrilla||Italy||Omage Pharma - Quick Step||+1:53|
|6||Wout Poels||Holland||Omage Pharma - Quick Step||+2:00|
|8||Thomas De Gendt||Belgium||Omage Pharma - Quick Step||+2:07|
Stage 12 was overshadowed by a heavy crash from Tobias Ludvigsson, who misjudged a corner at full speed and went over the barriers protecting the edge of the road. Roadcyclinguk provided some details:
Ludvigsson does not look in a good way. Went wide at a corner straight over the barriers and over a gravelled path - long way to fall #giro— roadcyclinguk (@roadcyclinguk) May 22, 2014
Landing awkwardly, the 23-year-old Swede stayed down for minutes before being transported to the hospital by ambulance, effectively ending his 2014 Giro.
The weather conditions once again had a big impact on how the day played out, as shared by GCN's Daniel Lloyd. Early rain meant the roads would dry later in the day, giving even more of an advantage to the top riders.
Rain has already started to fall at the finish line of today's TT, seems that weather conditions will once again have a say in the result.— Daniel Lloyd (@daniellloyd1) May 22, 2014
Belgium's Thomas De Gendt held the lead for much of the day with a time of 59:41, but later times would figure to be a lot faster on dry roads.
Ulissi set the target for the later riders when he crossed the finish line 40 seconds faster than De Gendt, while Rafal Majka surprised a lot of people with a very solid opening split.
Domenico Pozzovivo came out on fire as well, with the pint-sized Italian storming the climb just before the first split and recording the best time overall.
Fabio Aru also looked to be in excellent form as the Italian riders had a strong day overall, but fans lining the track finally got what they had been waiting for when Uran and Evans hit the roads just minutes apart to end the day.
Uran looked very strong riding towards the first split and exploded beyond that point, putting pressure on the Australian favourite, who surprisingly struggled right from the start.
Procyclingnews.eu had the split times:
#giro With all riders through the first split Pozzovivo leads Uran +15 Aru +26, Majka +40 Quintana +45 Evans +53, Keldermann +56— Procyclingnews.eu (@Procyclingeu) May 22, 2014
Evans lost 38 seconds on Uran in the first split and was virtually out of the pink shirt by the second, down 59 seconds in eight place. Uran meanwhile took the lead from Ulissi with a time of 35:12, with one heavy climb and the last part of Stage 12 remaining.
The climb didn't faze Uran whatsoever, completely destroying Ulissi's top time of 58:51 by finishing in 57:34. The Guardian's William Fotheringham loved what he was seeing:
I do love to see a script ripped up in a bike race. Not often it happens in a time trial either. Uran for the pink jersey then...— William Fotheringham (@willfoth) May 22, 2014
Meanwhile, Evans was taking more and more risks in an attempt to keep hold of the pink jersey, nearly going off the road twice. Roadcyclinguk saw the same thing:
Slight error from Evans, bit of a slide. This is all looking good for Rigoberto Uran #giro— roadcyclinguk (@roadcyclinguk) May 22, 2014
He stayed upright, however, fighting back to finish on the podium with a time of 59:08—good for third.
Limiting the damage after an unspectacular Stage 12, Evans now trails new leader Uran by 37 seconds. The Australian was supposed to remain well in control of the standings ahead of the heavier stages of next week, and with Uran's proficiency in climbing, the 2014 Giro was just blown wide-open.
|1||Rigoberto Uran||Colombia||Omage Pharma - Quick Step||49:37:35|
|3||Rafal Majka||Poland||Tinkoff - Saxo||+1:52|
Stage 13 is relatively flat and will most likely be one for the sprinters, while the following stage is not challenging enough for any of the top riders to try and make something happen as they attempt to claw back some time in the standings.
The dream scenario seems to be unfolding for the event organisers, with the dreaded Stage 15 looking likely to play a decisive role in this edition.
Marco Pantani will be honoured on a day that will see the pack face some of the toughest climbs they'll see all year, including the fierce climb to Montecampione.
Evans will be forced to take action if he wishes to keep things close going into the final stages of this year's Giro, so fans can expect to see fireworks on Sunday.