Jhonatan Narvaez soloed to win his first ever Grand Tour stage after Mark Padun suffered a late broken wheel with 23km to go.
Narvaez (Ineos Grenadiers) and Padun (Bahrain-McLaren) went clear from the rest of the 14 man break with around 50km to go with only Simon Clarke (EF Pro Cycling) trying to chase.
Behind, NTT Pro Cycling gave their all for Domenico Pozzovivo, but the Italian climber left it very late on the last categorised climb to attack and it meant that no race favourite was dropped.
João Almeida (Deceuninck – Quick-Step) lost no time at all and kept his lead of 34 seconds over Wilco Kelderman (Team Sunweb).
How it happened
The race started in the town of Cesenatico and they did a big 204km hilly loop around the Emilia-Romagna region before finishing back in Cesenatico. The stage that has been named the Marco Pantani stage as these were his local roads.
The breakaway was made up of 14 riders, these were Victor Campenaerts (NTT Pro Cycling), Narvaez, Etienne van Empel (Vini Zabù-Brado-KTM), Héctor Carretero (Movistar), Francois Bidard (Ag2r La Mondiale), Manuele Boaro (Astana), Cesare Benedetti (Bora-Hansgrohe), Simon Pellaud (Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec), Padun, Joey Rosskopf (CCC), Clarke, Max Richeze (UAE Team Emirates), Albert Torres (Movistar) and Jasper Hansen (Cofidis).
The break managed to pull out just over 11 minutes on the peloton, until NTT Pro Cycling hit the front and started working hard for their leader, Domenico Pozzovivo.
The gap then started to plummet as NTT committed the entire team to the front aside from Campenaerts who was in the break.
Moments after they upped the pace, the weather closed in and it was absolutely atrocious as the rain and wind battered the riders on the tight country roads as the break broke up on the fifth of eight climbs of the day.
It eventually came down to two riders up front with Narvaez and Padun able to kick on clear with 50km to go. Clarke was the solo chaser ahead of the remnants of the break. Riders like Richeze, Campenaerts and Benedetti had all been caught by the peloton.
Campenaerts paced the peloton for about 15km which saw the time gap go from four minutes up to seven again before Ben O’Connor (NTT Pro Cycling) took over the pace for Pozzovivo and the Italian climber left it very late to attack on the last climb with 30km to go, with no GC favourites were distanced.
Padun then had a broken wheel with 23km to go which meant that Narvaez pushed on hard as he looked to go solo to the line.
Back in what was left of the peloton, they had gone over the last climb and three Deceuninck – Quick-Step riders came up to work for the pink jersey, Almeida.
Narvaez was not keeping the gap ahead of Padun as the Ecuadorian kept looking behind and taking the slower lines through roundabouts as the gap had dropped fro 35 seconds at 15km to go to 10 seconds with 10km to go.
But then it started to swing back into the favour of Narvaez as it went up to 15 seconds with 8km to go as Padun started to really labour over a huge gear and the gap grew from there as Narvaez rode away to victory.
Narvaez crossed the line first with Padun almost a minute back in second and Clarke finishing third and the peloton just had a little sprint to the line, lead in by Brandon McNulty (UAE Team Emirates).
Giro d’Italia 2020, stage 12: Cesenatico to Cesenatico (204km)
1. Jhonatan Narvaez (Ecu) Ineos Grenadiers, in 5-31-24
2. Mark Padun (Ukr) Bahrain-McLaren, at 1-08
3. Simon Clarke (Aus) EF Pro Cycling, at 6-50
4. Joey Rosskopf (USA) CCC Team, at 7-30
5. Simon Pellaud (Sui) Androni Giocattoli-Sidemec, at 7-43
6. Brandon McNulty (USA) UAE Team Emirates, at 8-25
7. Patrick Konrad (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe
8. Ruben Guerreiro (Por) EF Pro Cycling
9. João Almeida (Por) Deceuninck – Quick-Step
10. Tao Geoghegan-Hart (GBr) Ineos Grenadiers, all at same time.
General classification after stage 11
1. João Almeida (Por) Deceuninck-Quick-Step, in 49-21-46
2. Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Team Sunweb, at 34 seconds
3. Pello Bilbao (Esp) Bahrain-McLaren, at 43s
4. Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) NTT Pro Cycling, at 57s
5. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita), Trek-Segafredo, at 1-01
6. Patrick Konrad (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe, at 1-15
7. Jai Hindley (Aus) Team Sunweb, at 1-19
8. Rafał Majka (Pol) Bora-Hansgrohe, at 1-21
9. Fausto Masnada (Ita) Deceuninck-Quick-Step, at 1-36
10. Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana, at 2-20.