At the end of stage 12 of the 106th Giro d’Italia there are 136 riders still in the race. The Alps are on the menu for Friday’s stage and the battle for GC will resume. It’s Geraint Thomas’ first stint in the maglia rosa and since the rest day on Monday, the Ineos Grenadier has held a two-second advantage over Primoz Roglic in the overall standings.

Photos by Stefano Sirotti

It has been a battle of attrition with crashes and COVID claiming many casualties in what has been a sodden contest for much of the first fortnight, but Thomas is still in the hunt for a second Grand Tour title.

“Hopefully it’s all good tomorrow in Switzerland and I can defend the maglia rosa,” said Thomas after stage 12.

Jack Haig is now the best-placed of the seven Australians who are still in the race, in 11th place, 2:58 behind Thomas.

The winner of stage five, Kaden Groves (Alpecin-Deceuninck), was one of three riders not to finish stage 12 because of gastrointestinal problems. “He has been suffering for several days and failed to recover sufficiently,” explained his team on Thursday.

Sebastian Berwick of Israel-Premier Tech, third in stage 12.

Seb Berwick (Israel-Premier Tech) was third in stage 12 after being in the breakaway on the road to Rivoli, finishing three seconds behind escape companions Nico Denz (Bora-Hansgrohe) and Tom Skujns (Trek-Segafredo).

The 23-year-old Australian was amongst the 30 riders who were part of the early break and he pushed the pace on the final climb on the road to Rivoli but admits he didn’t have the power to take on Denz in the sprint for the stage win.

“That last climb was my last opportunity,” said the climber after getting his best result in a Grand Tour stage.

“I didn’t have much in the sprint,” confessed Berwick, adding: “58kg vs 75kg, it’s a bit hard to win but I kept fighting. I was in the hunt for the win, so you never know what happens… Steven Bradbury and all that.”

Stage 12 winner Nico Denz.

Runner-up in stage 12, Toms Skujns.

Torrential rain in Italy has prompted the cancellation of the F1 race that was scheduled to take place in Imola on the weekend and the weather continues to heavily impact the Giro.

We can expect a shake-up of the GC standings after Friday when the peloton faces a 199km route from Borgofranco d’Ivrea to the mountain-top finish at Crans-Montana in Switzerland.

The Giro of 2023 has been a compelling contest but also an unsettling one in which some of the title favourites have abandoned because of COVID and crashes. The weather hasn’t been kind and it doesn’t look like it’s going to improve when the race arrives in the mountains on Friday.

There are three major climbs in stage 13: Gran San Bernado near the halfway mark, then comes the 2,174m high Croix de Coeur after passing through Verbier, and the uphill finish at Crans-Montana where the forecast suggests a high chance of rain and maximum of 14 degrees.

We take a look back on the day Denz beat Skujns in the sprint and Berwick claimed third place with a gallery of images by Stefano Sirotti who captured a series of photos on a descent of stage 12. It’s a great showcase of bikes and riders… and one of the rare moments of this year’s Giro d’Italia when the road has been dry.