(Reuters) – Slovenian Jan Polanc seized the leader’s pink jersey at the Giro d’Italia on Thursday as Cesare Benedetti claimed victory on the first mountainous stage on this year’s route.
After two pancake flat days, UAE rider Polanc got in a breakaway group on the 158km stage 12 from Cuneo to Pinerolo and finished 25 seconds behind 31-year-old Italian Benedetti.
Benedetti, riding for Bora Hansgrohe, had been dropped on the category one Montoso climb around 35km from home but worked his way back before sprinting to the biggest win of his career.
Polanc then had a long wait to discover how much time the main bunch pre-stage leader Valerio Conte and favorite Primoz Roglic had lost.
He will move on to stage 13 with a four minute seven seconds lead over Roglic with Conti another 44 seconds in arrears.
Reporting by Martyn Herman; Editing by Toby Davis