In professional cycling, a breakaway has little to no chance of succeeding. The correct composition of riders and teams, the parcours, and the motivations of the riders behind must all factor in to the formation and ultimately the success of a break away attempt. Often times, the attempt ends up in fool's gold. But on that rare occasion, such as on the roads from Seravezza to Sestri Levante, a break not only goes off the front but all the way onto the podium.
A third of the way into the 157 kilometer Stage 12, a group of nine, including Lars Bak (Lotto Belisol), Sandy Casar (FDJ-BigMat), Ivan Santaromita (BMC), Jan Bakelants (RadioShack-Nissan), Amets Txurruka (Euskaltel-Euskadi), Andrey Amador (Movistar), Jackson Rodriguez (Androni Giocattoli-Venezuela), Martijn Keizer (Vacansoleil-DCM) and Michal Golas (Omega Pharma-QuickStep), finally broke free from the restraints of the peloton.
Each would take his chances over the course of the next 107 kilometers, but a well-timed, late attack by Lars Bak decided the stage's final outcome. The 32-year old Dane soloed across the line in Sestri Levante to take his first grand tour victory. Casar and Amador would round out the podium.
By virtue of his second place, Casar vaulted up the overall standings into third, just 26 seconds in arrears of current maglia rosa wearer Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha Team).
Results - Stage 12 - Seravezza - Sestri Levante (157km)
1. Lars Ytting Bak (Den) Lotto Belisol Team - 3:58:55
2. Sandy Casar (Fra) FDJ-Big Mat - 0:00:11
3. Andrey Amador Bakkazakova (CRc) Movistar Team
No General Classification After Stage 12
1. Joaquim Rodriguez Oliver (Spa) Katusha Team - 51:19:08
2. Ryder Hesjedal (Can) Garmin - Barracuda - 0:00:17
3. Sandy Casar (Fra) FDJ-Big Mat - 0:00:26
4. Paolo Tiralongo (Ita) Astana Pro Team - 0:00:32
5. Ivan Santaromita (Ita) BMC Racing Team - 0:00:49
6. Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Astana Pro Team - 0:00:52
7. Benat Intxausti Elorriaga (Spa) Movistar Team
8. Ivan Basso (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale - 0:00:57
9. Damiano Caruso (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale - 0:01:02
10. Dario Cataldo (Ita) Omega Pharma-Quickstep - 0:01:03
Jersey Leaders After Stage 12
maglia rosa - Joaquim Rodriguez Oliver (Spa) Katusha Team
maglia rosso passione - Mark Cavendish (GBr) Sky Procycling
maglia azzurra - Michal Golas (Pol) Omega Pharma-Quickstep
maglia bianca - Damiano Caruso (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale
Next: Stage 13 - Savona - Cervere (121km)
Photo: Associated Press/Fabio Ferrari