2013 Vuelta a España Stage 12
Maella to Tarragona 164km


Eleven stages into the Vuelta and general classification time gaps are starting to get huge. And huge gaps ensure breakaways. On this 164km (101.9mi) race from Maella to Tarragona, three guys, the highest-placed 86th overall, over an hour down on race leader Vincenzo Nibali, raced away at the start with no objections. Even Nibali's Astana team, so unconcerned, abrogated their traditional responsibility of taking control of the pack.

The three, Cofidis' Romain Zinle, FdJ's Cedric Pineau, and Caja Rural's Fabricio Ferrari went out in the hopes of stealing a stage win, and short of that, publicity for their teams. None of this mattered to Cannondale Pro Cycling and their shepherding of captain Ivan Basso. They hoped that Astana might tire themselves chasing, but short of that, they needed to protect Basso.

The sprinters' teams took control of the peloton. First, Orica-Greenedge, then Argos-Shimano, Garmin-Sharp, and Belkin contributed riders to the chase. These teams wanted the break to stay out for a long time, but wanted it back before Tarragona, where the riders have to navigate a tortuous five-kilometer city circuit.

The collaboration in the chase was seamless, and the break was caught with eighteen kilometers (11.1mi) remaining. Three kilometers later (1.9mi), Basso snuck out of the peloton to snag points and a time bonus at the day's second intermediate sprint. He won the sprint, taking four points, and reduced three seconds off his deficit to Nibali and inching closer to sixth place overall. Teammate Cameron Wurf was third.

After Basso's move, Omega Pharma-Quickstep's Tony Martin blasted away from the pack. Fifteen kilometers (9.3mi) solo on flat roads would be hard, but Martin, the best time trialist in the world, was game to try. Four kilometers (2.5mi) later, and he was caught.

Into the serpentine city streets, the peloton roared. Orica was the most determined of the teams, staying at the front for their sprinter, Michael Matthews. But as the front hit the final right turn, it was Team Sky that accelerated to set up Edvald Boasson Hagen. He quickly put a few bike lengths on everyone. But streaking out of the pack was World Champion Philippe Gilbert of BMC. As the line rushed up at them, Gilbert rode past Boasson Hagen with several meters remaining and took the win.

Tomorrow, the riders depart Valls and ride 169km (105.1) to Castelldefells. The finish is flat and fast, but there's a four-kilometer category one climb that tops out with 50km (31.1mi) remaining. Sprinters might get dropped and their fight to get back on will make a difference at the finish. Basso and his Cannondale Pro Cycling team will ride to stay out of danger.

2013 Vuelta a España
Stage 12:Maella to Tarragona

Stage Results

1. Philippe Gilbert (Bel) BMC Racing Team 4:03:44
2. Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Sky Procycling same time
3. Maximiliano Ariel Richeze (Arg) Lampre-Merida same time
4. Luca Paolini (Ita) Katusha same time
5. Gianni Meersman (Bel) Omega Pharma-Quick Step same time

Stage Results Cannondale Pro Cycling

15. Daniele Ratto (Ita) same time
36. Ivan Basso (Ita) same time
68. Cayetano José Sarmiento Tunarrosa (Col) 0:00:19
95. Paolo Longo Borghini (Ita) 0:00:59
96. Maciej Paterski (Pol) same time
103. Tiziano Dall'Antonia (Ita) same time
116. Cameron Wurf (Aus) 0:02:11
144. Lucas Sebastian Haedo (Arg) same time

General Classification

1. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana Pro Team 45:26:06
2. Nicolas Roche (Irl) Team Saxo-Tinkoff 0:00:31
3. Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Movistar Team 0:00:46
4. Christopher Horner (USA) RadioShack Leopard same time
5. Joaquim Rodriguez Oliver (Spa) Katusha 0:02:33

General Classification Cannondale Pro Cycling

7. Ivan Basso (Ita) 0:02:52
51. Cayetano José Sarmiento Tunarrosa (Col) 0:41:01
76. Cameron Wurf (Aus) 1:01:41
82. Maciej Paterski (Pol) 1:06:32
97. Daniele Ratto (Ita) 1:17:12
102. Paolo Longo Borghini (Ita) 1:19:57
128. Tiziano Dall'Antonia (Ita) 1:33:40
162. Lucas Sebastian Haedo (Arg) 1:53:57