Today's Stage 12 was a pan-flat 167.9 km jaunt from Elvas near the Spanish border to Beja in the central part of southern Portugal. It was a clear day for the sprinters, with Candido Barbosa (LA-Pecol) looking to gain revenge after his win yesterday was taken away by the race jury for "irregular sprinting" and awarded to Joan Horrach of the arch-rival Milaneza-MSS squad. Horrach also claimed the Green Points Jersey from Barbosa with his victory, a jersey that Barbosa would despirately like to win back to mitigate the domination of the relaxed steel pasta-men of Maia-Milaneza-MSS (note: the team has three sponsers, and is generally referred to as the Maia team, but they are listed as the Milaneza-MSS team on the official Volta site. Maia is a resort town in Portugal, Milaneza is a pasta producer, and MSS is a construction firm...thus relaxed steel pasta-men.) Milaneza-MSS began the day with the Yellow Jersey of the GC leader (Horrach), the Green Points Jersey (Horrach), and the Blue Climber's Jersey (Amorim). Only the White Metas Volantes (intermediate sprints) Jersey of Fernando Citoula (Parades-Rota dos Moveis) eludes them.
At the start there were only 113 riders remaining from the original 144 that began the race in Maia. Right from the gun two riders attacked: Luis Perez (Team Coast) and Marc Soares (Pepolim & Irmaos-Ovarense). By the 21 km point they had an advantage of 1' 35", but the peloton chased them back before heading into the first Meta Volante at 51.5 km. The sprint was won by Helder Lopes (Porta da Ravessa-Zurich) ahead of Cesar Quiterio (Parades-Rota Moveis) and Pedro Martins (Porta da Ravessa-Zurich). This gave Lopes the virtual White Jersey by 1 point over Citoula. Right after the Meta Volante, defending Vuelta a Espaņa champ Angel Casero (Team Coast) finally showed some legs, attacking for only the second time in the race so far. He went away in a group of eight that also included Hugo Sabido and Domingo Segado (Porta da Ravessa-Zurich), Atanas Petrov (Carvalhelhos-Boavista), Jon Odriozola (iBanesto.com), Orlando Rodrigues (LA-Pecol), Quintano Rodrigues (CCC-Polstat), and Alexei Sivakov. The eight men worked well together to slowly creep away from the field. They stayed away for 20 km before getting chased back. Right before the catch, Odriozola launched a solo effort and stayed off the front for a few more kilometers before finally conceding.
Another attack of nine riders went just before the 82.9 km Meta Volante, and the break contained none of the leaders in that competition. The group reached a maximum advantage of 3' 13" with 60 km left in the stage, and took all the remaining Meta Volante points, thus putting Helder Lopes in the White Jersey at the end of the day. As they neared the finish the peloton put the hammer down, and the breakaways were reabsorbed with 13 km left. There were the usual attacks at the end, but the peloton chased them down and stayed together until the final sprint. Milaneza-MSS led out their sprinter Angel "Judge" Edo, who finally found his legs again to take his second stage win of the Volta. Also as important, Barbosa only finished 4th on the line...a development which put Edo in the Green Points Jersey headed into tomorrow's final decisive time trial.
Stage 12 Results
1. Angel Edo, Milaneza-MSS @ 4h 07' 35" (10" bonus)
2. Ruben Galvan, ASC-Vila do Conde @ ST (6" bonus)
3. Rui Sousa, Milaneza-MSS @ ST (4" bonus)
4. Candido Barbosa, LA-Pecol @ ST
5 Cesar Quiterio, Parades-Rota dos Moveis @ ST
6. Saulius Sarkauskas, Cantanhede-Marques de Marialva @ ST
7. Joan Horrach, Milaneza-MSS @ ST
8. Juan de Dios, Matesica-Aboboda @ ST
9. Johan Verstrepen, Lampre-Daikin @ ST
10. Daniel Petrov, Porta da Ravessa-Zurich @ ST
13. Nuno Ribeiro, Barbot-Torrie @ ST
14. Adolfo Garcia, iBanesto.com @ ST
16. Claus Moller, Milaneza-MSS @ ST
19. David Bernabeu, Carvalhelhos-Boavista @ ST
26. Pedro Arreitunandia, Carvalhelhos-Boavista @ ST
32. Andrei Zintchenko, LA-Pecol @ ST
35. Felix Garcia Casas, BigMat.Auber 93 @ ST
76. Angel Casero, Team Coast @ 1' 31"
98. Juan Manuel Garate, Lampre-Daikin @ 1' 46"
109. Aitor Kintana, BigMat.Auber 93 @ 3' 58"
GC after Stage 12
1. Joan Horrach, Milaneza-MSS @ 47h 16' 35"
2. Rui Sousa, Milaneza-MSS @ 45"
3. Claus Moller, Milaneza-MSS @ 48"
4. Pedro Arreitunandia, Carvalhelhos-Boavista @ 1' 03"
5. David Bernabeu, Carvalhelhos-Boavista @ 3' 12"
6. Adolfo Garcia, iBanesto.com @ 3' 32"
7. Andrei Zintchenko, LA-Pecol @ 3' 37"
8. Nuno Ribeiro, Barbot-Torrie @ 4' 08"
9. Felix Garcia Casas, BigMat.Auber 93 @ 4' 24"
10. Daniel Petrov, Porta Ravessa-Zurich @ 4' 33"
Points Competition after Stage 12 (Green Jersey)
1. Angel Edo, Milaneza-MSS 112 pts
2. Candido Barbosa, LA-Pecol 104 pts
3. Joan Horrach, Milaneza-MSS 104 pts
4. Rui Sousa, Milaneza-MSS 65 pts
5. Claus Moller, Milaneza-MSS 59 pts
Mountains Competition after Stage 12 (Blue Jersey)
1. Goncalo Amorim, Milaneza-MSS 76 pts
2. Rui Sousa, Milaneza-MSS 69 pts
3. Joan Horrach, Milaneza-MSS 59 pts
4. Pedro Arreitunandia, Carvalhelhos-Boavista 45 pts
Metas Volantes (Intermediate Sprints) after Stage 12 (White Jersey)
1. Helder Lopes, Porta Ravessa-Zurich 19 pts
2. Fernando Citoula, Parades-Rota dos Moveis 18 pts
3. Claudio Faria, Barbot-Torrie 15 pts
4. Hugo Sabido, Porta da Ravessa-Zurich 13 pts
5. Eduardo Gonzalez, Barbot-Torrie 12 pts
6. Celio Sousa, Parades-Rota dos Moveis 12 pts