Simon Yates maintains 47-second advantage as Ireland’s Sam Bennett wins stage 12 of Giro d’Italia
- Bennett won a sprint finish on the Imola racing circuit to take stage 12
- He held off the challenge of Danny van Poppel and Niccolo Bonifazio
- Yates maintained his overall lead on Tom Dumoulin at 47 seconds
Simon Yates protected his 47-second overall lead in the Giro d’Italia after finishing safely in the peloton in stage 12 at the Imola motor racing circuit.
Yates’ closest rival, Belgium’s Tom Dumoulin (Team Sunweb), recorded the same finish time as the Briton, who had previously extended his lead with a pulsating victory in stage 11.
Ireland’s Sam Bennett (Bora-Hansgrohe) claimed his second stage win of this year’s race amid lashing rain and lightning strikes over the final 10km of the race.
Simon Yates maintained his overall lead on Tom Dumoulin at 47 seconds on Thursday
The weather briefly threatened to cause havoc with the race as it split the peloton in half, but Yates was well assisted by his Michelton-Scott team-mates as he came through safely.
The 27-year-old Bennett fashioned victory in thrilling style, reeling in leaders Matej Mohoric (Bahrain-Merida) and Carlos Betancur (Movistar) over the final 400 metres before continuing a strong sprint over the line.
Bennett’s move left sprint rivals Danny Van Poppel (LottoNL-Jumbo) and Niccolo Bonifazio (Bahrain-Merida) to battle it out for second and third places respectively.
Sam Bennett won a sprint finish on the Imola racing circuit to take stage 12
Bennett’s win makes him the first Irishman to win two or more stages of the same grand tour event since Sean Kelly won the overall Giro title in 1988.
Bennett told the BBC: ‘It was a tough finale – I didn’t know how much energy the two riders in front had left at the end.
‘I decided to go early. I didn’t know if I could hold it but I think I caught a few by surprise so that worked to my advantage.’