Bak attack secures Giro stage
Lars Bak fired off a late attack to claim a superb breakaway victory on stage 12 of the Giro d'Italia into Sestri Levante.
The Lotto-Belisol Dane hung in over the day's tough climbs before putting the power down in the flat run-in to win by a comfortable margin of 11 seconds.
A group of nine escapees fought it out during the 155-kilometre stage with both Sandy Casar (FDJ-BigMat) - who finished the day in second - and Ivan Santaromita (BMC Racing) sensing the chance to move into the maglia rosa.
With the peloton taking time in the final kilometres Casar's performance proved only enough to elevate him to third in the standings, 26 seconds back on leader Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha).
The Spaniard maintained his 17-second advantage out front in spite of the fact he and his Katusha team seemed willing to hand over the race lead and the burden of controlling the peloton to a rival team.
With a breakaway always looking a good bet to succeed it was nearly 50km before any meaningful escape was able to stick, seven riders finding the magic formula to push clear after what had been a tough and fast start to the day.
The group extended their advantage and were bolstered by a further two riders as the climbs arrived, yet a nervous peloton looked unwilling to give them enough of an advantage to prosper.
Katusha set the tempo on the third category Valico Guaitarola but from that point onwards the pace was knocked off allowing Mark Cavendish (Team Sky) the chance to move to the front of the bunch on the descent to stay out of trouble.
Shortly afterwards the gap spun back out to over seven minutes, brinksmanship from Katusha forcing rivals Liquigas-Cannondale to take up the running and immediately force the gap back down.
Casar looked keen to push on in the break with the knowledge that he was in a prime position to move into the race lead, yet it was Michal Golas (Omega Pharma-Quickstep) who not only did enough out on the road to move into the blue mountain's jersey, but attacked the break over the Valico La Mola.
The Pole had 5:00 on the peloton at the foot of the climb but was reeled in by the remainder of the break with 13km to go, each escapee taking it in turns to attack on the run for home where Bak proved strongest.