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Bennett’s storming sprint claims Giro stage, as Yates holds on to lead

Imola: Sam Bennett of Ireland has pulled off a superb final attack to win the 12th stage of the Giro d'Italia as Mitchelton-Scott's Simon Yates remained in the overall lead.

Bennett opened up his sprint a long way out to storm past Matej Mohoric and Carlos Betancur and claim his second victory of the 2018 race at the end of the 214-kilometre route from Osimo to the motor sport circuit of Imola.

Ireland's Sam Bennett takes the win in the 12th stage of the Giro.

Photo: EPA

Danny van Poppel was second, just ahead of Niccolo Bonifazio on the wet finish line.

The general classification was unchanged and Yates retained a 47-second advantage for his Australia-based team over defending champion Tom Dumoulin.

Thibaut Pinot was third, 1:04 behind the British cyclist.

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Australia's former leader Rohan Dennis remains seventh overall after finishing 23rd on a stage meant to be relatively easy before the race hits the mountains.

However, rain and hail in the final 30 kilometres and the one classified climb of the day made it more chaotic than it would have been.

The early breakaway of five had been reeled in by then. Tim Wellens attacked with just over 20 kilometres remaining and built a gap of 23 seconds but he too was caught. Though there were more attacks nothing stuck until Diego Ulissi made a move, taking with him Betancur.

Mohoric bridged the gap to the leaders shortly after and they dropped Ulissi but had a gap of just four seconds heading into the race circuit for the second and final time.

Bennett caught everyone by surprise by making his move so early, surging into the lead with 400 metres remaining and holding on to become the first Irish cyclist to win two road stages of the Giro.

Another mainly flat stage is scheduled for Friday, a 180-kilometre leg from Ferrara to Nervesa della Battaglia before the race heats up again with a climb up Monte Zoncolan on Saturday and a gruelling leg through the Dolomites on Sunday.

The race ends in Rome on May 27.

AP

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