Monday was a rest day for the riders of the 2012 Giro d'Italia, but a spate of nasty weather prevented the riders from getting in the 2-3 hours of training typical for a rest day. That left them a little stiff for Tuesday's stage, and that meant the peloton was looking to take it easy. The breakaway took full advantage of that, as a group of ten men made their escape about halfway through the stage. The peloton declined to chase almost entirely, and the gap grew to over 12 minutes.
None of the members of the break were a threat to the overall lead, so it was safe for the main bunch to give them as much time as they wanted. José Herrada of team Movistar was the best placed rider, but he was still over 30 minutes back. Most of his fellow escapees were at least an hour away, so there was no need for overall leader Joaquim Rodriguez to be concerned. Santa Rosa-based Team BMC was represented by Mathias Frank, a Swiss rider who excels in climbing. As the amount of distance remaining dwindled it became clear the peloton wasn't going to chase down the break, and the men in the break began wondering which of them had the legs for the stage win.
The last five kilometers of the race are three steep uphill km with a section of cobblestones and a max grade of 12%. After that it flattens out for the last two km, meaning that the climbers in the break had a natural advantage, but the stronger roleur riders could try to snatch the victory in the closing stretch. BMC's Frank was able to stick with everyone through the attacks on the closing stretch, but in the final kilometer he came up short as Jon Izaguirre Insausti (Euskaltel), the current holder of the best young rider jersey, took thewin. Alessandro De Marchi (Adroni Giocattoli) crossed the line second, and Stef Clement (Rabobank) finished up the podium, just shutting out Frank.
The peloton finished together about ten minutes later, meaning the GC standings were unchanged.
The provisional GC standings after Stage 16:
1) Joaquim Rodriguez Oliver (Spa) Katusha Team 65:11:07
2) Ryder Hesjedal (Can) Garmin - Barracuda -:30
3) Ivan Basso (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale -1:22
4) Paolo Tiralongo (Ita) Astana Pro Team -1:26
5) Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Astana Pro Team -1:27
6) Michele Scarponi (Ita) Lampre - ISD -1:36
7) Benat Intxausti Elorriaga (Spa) Movistar Team -1:42
8) Sergio Luis Henao Montoya (Col) Sky Procycling -1:55
9) Dario Cataldo (Ita) Omega Pharma-Quickstep -2:12
10) Sandy Casar (Fra) FDJ-Big Mat -2:13
There are three more high mountain stages to come in the race, and things are tight enough at the top of the standings that it's anyone's race to win.