Stefano Oldani claimed a maiden race victory on home soil in a sprint finish ahead of compatriot Lorenzo Rota on stage 12 of the Giro d’Italia.
The longest stage of this year’s event, over 204 kilometres from Parma through the Apennines and on to to Genova, always looked set for a breakaway, which resulted in a trio kicking for home.
The initial group of 25 riders was eventually whittled down at the summit of La Colletta, the second categorised climb of the day.
Then with around 1km to go, Dutchman Gijs Leemreize made his move, but the Jumbo-Visma rider was soon reeled back in.
Oldani swiftly timed his own attack to perfection to fend off a late charge from Rota (Intermarche-Wanty) and deliver Italy’s second home victory in as many days following on from Alberto Dainese’s triumph.
Juanpe Lopez (Trek-Segafredo) finished in the peloton just over nine minutes back, which sees the Spaniard retain the maglia rosa leader’s jersey once again in the general classification standings.
Oldani’s win was a second for the Alpecin-Fenix team.
“It was not easy. I knew Rota, my friend, was also fast so I had to watch out,” the 24-year-old said on Eurosport.
“The other guy (Leemreize) also looked like he wanted to anticipate, so it was not easy to manage, but in the end I did it.”
Australian Caleb Ewan did not start the stage. His Lotto Soudal team announced the sprinter’s withdrawal to turn focus towards the Tour de France.
In the general classification standings, Lopez sits 12 seconds ahead of Colombian Richard Carapaz (INEOS Grenadiers) and Joao Pedro Goncalves Almedia (UAE Team Emirates).
Stage 13 on Friday will run over a flat 157km from Sanremo to Cuneo.