BAGNO DI ROMAGNA, Italy (Reuters) – Italian Andrea Vendrame pulled clear late on to take a first-ever Grand Tour win on Stage 12 of the Giro d’Italia, a 212-kilometre ride from Siena to Bagno di Romagna, on Thursday, as Egan Bernal retained his general classification lead.
Vendrame emerged from a breakaway group of four riders vying for the stage win after the final climb up Passo del Carnaio, and held off a late challenge from New Zealander Christopher Hamilton to take the victory.
Another Italian, Gianluca Brambilla, came a distant third.
In the first of four Giro stages this year over 200km in distance, Bernal, with his Ineos Grenadiers team all around him, settled at the head of the peloton before Vincenzo Nibali, the 2016 Giro champion, split the pack with a late charge.
Nibali’s surge saw him climb to 13th in the general classification, while Colombian Bernal keeps hold of his pink jersey and a 45 second advantage over second-placed Aleksandr Vlasov after coming in a comfortable 17th on Thursday.
Stage 13 of the Giro d’Italia is a 198-kilometre ride from Ravenna to Verona.
(Reporting by Peter Hall; Editing by Christian Radnedge)