Julian Alaphilippe of Soudal Quick-Step secured a stunning victory in Stage 12 of the Giro d’Italia, held from Martinsicuro to Fano, covering a gruelling 193km. The stage, filled with short, sharp climbs reminiscent of Belgian classics, saw Alaphilippe break away early and maintain his lead through to the finish.

Early Breakaways and Gruelling Pace

The race began with a frenetic pace, averaging 48km/h in the first three hours. Three breakaway groups formed, with a large grupetto of dropped riders and sprinters trailing several minutes behind. Alaphilippe and Mirco Maestri joined forces at the front with around 125km to go, maintaining a lead of one to two minutes over a nine-rider chase group that included Jhonatan Narváez, Quinten Hermans, Matteo Trentin, and Michael Valgren.

Meanwhile, Soudal Quick-Step’s Jan Hirt found himself in a third group. Bahrain Victorious, working to protect Antonio Tiberi’s GC position, increased the tempo in the peloton, eventually catching Hirt’s group within the final hour. This acceleration caused the peloton to split several times on the technical roads, but the teams of the GC leaders remained vigilant.

The Winning Move

At the front, Alaphilippe demonstrated his superior climbing ability on every ascent, urging Maestri to hold on. With 11km remaining, Alaphilippe launched his decisive attack on the Monte Giove climb, quickly establishing a 40-second lead. Despite a strong chase led by Narváez, Alaphilippe maintained his advantage to claim victory in Fano.

Reflecting on his win, Alaphilippe expressed his gratitude to his teammates and his determination throughout the race. “I didn’t plan it; I was expecting a big group to be in the break,” he said. “I have to thank my teammates, who controlled the first 60km perfectly. Maestri and I went first out of the big group, and I said, ‘We go, we go.’ It was amazing; we collaborated super-well.”

Pogačar’s Perspective

Tadej Pogačar, retaining the maglia rosa, praised Alaphilippe’s performance. “The plan today was to let the breakaway go and see who’s in it and just ride our pace to the finish,” Pogačar said. “It was better for us that Bahrain pulled in front, so we could save some energy today. For us, it was a really great day. It was hard, but I enjoyed it.”

Alaphilippe’s Resurgence

Alaphilippe’s victory marked his return to form after a challenging period marred by injuries and strained relationships within his team. The win also completed his set of stage victories across all three Grand Tours. Alaphilippe’s elation was evident as he credited his support system: “It was my dream to win a stage at the Giro d’Italia. It makes me really happy. It’s an important win for me after difficult times. I got it thanks to my team, my wife, and my son who have always supported me.”

Press Conference Insights

In the post-race press conference, Alaphilippe shared the emotional significance of his victory. “I’ll for sure remember today forever because it’s a really important victory for me and it’s also a big victory in a nice way,” he said. “Since the start of the Giro, I tried to win a stage, but on the first day, I didn’t have the legs to follow Pogačar and Narváez. I kept pushing and believing. This is what gives me emotions and the desire to continue my career. I’m very happy to have won this stage.”

Alaphilippe’s win continues a trend of former world champions succeeding at the Giro, following in the footsteps of Peter Sagan, Mark Cavendish, and others. His victory also marks a notable achievement for French cycling, joining the ranks of André Darrigade, Jean Stablinski, and Bernard Hinault as French world champions who have won stages at the Giro.

2024 Giro d’Italia Stage 12 result

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All photo credits: LaPresse