Cesare Benedetti (BORA-hansgrohe) produced an inspirational performance to win Giro d’Italia Stage 12 as Jan Polanc (UAE Team Emirates) took the Maglia Rosa.
Benedetti was part of a large, powerful breakaway that escaped early on the 158km stage, which incredibly had an advantage of over 15 minutes at one point, with Polanc virtual leader by around 11 minutes.
Dropped on the category one Montoso climb and again on the small ramp before the finish, Benedetti fought back into contention inside the final kilometre as the leading trio hesitated, and he had the strength and speed to beat his stage rivals to the finish line.
Meanwhile Movistar Team and Astana Team both went on the attack, with Mikel Landa and Miguel Angel Lopez both gaining time, causing a big shake-up in GC after two quieter stages since Monday’s rest day.
Polanc now leads overall by 4’07 from Primoz Roglic (Team Jumbo-Visma), with Valerio Conti, the former overall leader, 4’51” behind his team-mate in third.
Vincenzo Nibali (Team Bahrain Merida) is fifth overall, 5’51” back, Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo) sixth, 6’02” down.
Speaking to Eurosport, Benedetti said: "It was my first time in the break [at this Giro] and I used the opportunity 100 per cent in the end ... I kept on going, I knew I could make it back in the downhill [after the Montoso climb], and I did the same on the final hill.
“I knew the three guys in the front would probably look at each other and hesitate a bit ... I used all I had to make it back."
See all the VelonLive infographics from Stage 12 below.