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Denz wins from Giro breakaway as Crans Montana looms

BORA - hansgrohe rider Nico Denz. Photo: Luca Bettini/AFP

Germany’s Nico Denz of the Bora Hansgrohe team won a hilly stage 12 of the Giro d’Italia on Thursday as Geraint Thomas safely defended the overall leader’s pink jersey.

Denz and a clutch of cohorts covered the route from Bra to Rivoli a good eight minutes faster than the main peloton which was led over the finish line by Ineos rider Pavel Sivakov, showing his fall Wednesday had no profound effect.

“I’m over the moon,” said Denz, who revealed he had long planned to win this stage.

“I prepared that stage actually. I had it in my mind already before, but I also have quite a fast finish and that saved me in the end,” said Denz, racing his sixth Giro d’Italia here.

In the overall classification Thomas remains two seconds ahead of new race favourite Primoz Roglic, who might be expected to do far better than the Welshman in the upcoming mountains.

And lurking with intent in third place is Joao Almeise of Team UAE Emirates just 22 seconds behind Thomas.

On Friday, the Giro veers into Switzerland for a mountain stage that should have been the highest peak on the route but which has been shortened due to avalanche risk.

However, the Alpine peaks signal a new phase of the Giro and many ambitions will be broken or achieved in this mountainous final week.

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