After an intense battle in the opening 20 kilometers of the 158-kilometer race, a large group of riders, including the Czech national road race champion, went clear and the group was able to open up a sizeable advantage of more than 15 minutes and 30 seconds.
Before reaching the day’s category one climb, the riders had to tackle the first of two ascents of a brutal 500-meter cobbled climb and it was only approaching this point of the race that the peloton started to react to the situation up the road.
Despite having Černý in the second group, 30 seconds behind the then leading duo at the start the Montoso climb, CCC Team was still maintaining a strong position near the front of the main bunch, protecting the interests of Amaro Antunes and Víctor de la Parte.
On the 8.8-kilometer long climb, which had an average gradient of 9.5 percent, the race exploded with the peloton splitting into several pieces while, at the same, the peloton shattered after attacks from some of the General Classification contenders.
After a the fast descent, a new eight-rider front group, from which Cesare Benedetti (BORA – hansgrohe) took the win, was formed with Černý continuing to dig deep as part of the first chasing group, two minutes back, on the second ascent of the short but steep climb that came just two kilometers from the line.
Černý showed his strength and promise as a young rider, in his first season at UCI WorldTour level, by going onto battle to a very respectable 11th place, out of the original 25 rider breakaway.
Meanwhile, a reshuffle of the General Classification saw Jan Polanc take the Maglia Rosa from his UAE-Team Emirates teammate Valerio Conti and it was in his group that Amaro Antunes and Víctor de la Parte finished.
The CCC Team duo worked well together in the second group of General Classification favorites after a dramatically reduced main bunch split on the climb and following the shake-up of the General Classification on the line, Antunes now sits 14th overall while, de la Parte is 27th.
Despite yesterday’s stage being the final opportunity for the sprinters in the race, Jakub Mareczko was ready to take on today’s challenge but as the gradient started to take its toll, he lost contact with the back of the peloton and ultimately finished just outside the day’s time limit. He will now take the time to recover from a demanding opening phase of the Giro d’Italia and prepare for his next races.
Quotes From the Finish Line
“Actually it was not too hard to get into the breakaway today because the group went clear earlier than I expected. We tried to cover every attack and I think me and Owsian did a good job at the beginning and then I got the chance to be in the breakaway.”
“Some teams had two riders in the group so, I was able to take care of myself a little bit more thinking about the climb, which was really hard. I was maybe spending less energy than the others. On the climb, I still believed that maybe we would come back to the group in front but it was impossible at the end.”
“This is my first Giro d’Italia and my first Grand Tour so I am really happy with my shape and my performance today. I hope I will have another chance to go into the breakaway over the rest of the race.”
Stage 12: Cueno > Pinerolo (158km)
Top 3: 1. Cesare Benedetti (BORA – hansgrohe) 2. Damiano Caruso (Bahrain Merida Pro Cycling Team) 3. Eddie Dunbar (Team INEOS)
CCC Team Top 3: 11. Josef Černý 49. Amaro Antunes 55. Víctor de la Parte