The Tour Take | GIRO D'ITALIA Stage 17

 Photo: Twila Federica Muzzi

Photo: Twila Federica Muzzi

The Steps

1st- Elia Viviani

2nd - Sam Bennett

3rd- Niccolo Bonifazio

The Parcours

155 km from Riva Del Garda to Iseo. There were three long climbs, though only one was categorised (the Cat 3 climb to Lodrino). There was a 10km climb straight out of the holes which set up as a perfect platform for the break to form.

The day finished with a 23km loop around Iseo. It was more or less flat, with narrow roads at times and some tricky corners and roundabouts. The finish itself was testing; in the final 400m, the road went around a small chicane to the left, making positioning even more key than normal. Wet roads were added to the tricky run in but luckily all the riders stayed upright.

The Jerseys

S.P Yates holds the Maglia Rosa and KOM jersey. Elia Viviani extended his lead in the points classification and M.A Lopez holds onto the white jersey.

 

The Break

All the talk pre stage was about this stage being one for the breakaway, that talk may have detrimental to the likelihood of the breakaway surviving in the end. It seemed 80% of the bunch was in the mood for the break at some point today. The attacks started straight out of the holes. Groups of 20 were slipping down the road but with teams missing out the move, the groups were eventually pinned back.

With Bora- hansgrohe acting as the main glue, it was madness for 100km until the breakaway finally stuck. Wout Poels, Alessandro De Marchi, L.L Sanchez and Ben Hermans from Israel Cycling Academy (yes they are still in the race) were the riders that finally snapped the elastic and pressed on in pursuit of victory. The quartette got a maximum gap of 1:40 and it was Lotto- Jumbo who decided to take up the chase for Danny Van Poppel. Which looking back was a complete waste of resources. With roughly 12km to go it was lights out for the break and we set up for a bunch gallop.

 

The Winning move

With no team properly set up in the last five kilometres, it was Mitchelton- Scott who controlled the front of the peloton with Sam Bewley. The big Kiwi riders had S.P Yates on his wheel like a joey in a pouch. It wasn’t until Stybar went full gas at 800m to go with teammates  Sabatini and Viviani on his wheel that the pace was cranked up to level 100. With the final kilometer technical in nature, and filthy wet, it was perfect timing by ‘the wolfpack’.  

Sabatini hit out a tad early with 400m to go into the headwind and it was Danny Van Poppel who launched his sprint early, Viviani used the Dutchman as a final lead-out man to take his fourth win of this Giro. Sam Bennett came home with a wet sail for second, but in the end he ran out of road.

 

The GC Movers and Shakers

Nothing to report here with all the GC men coming in on bunch time. A fast stage from start to finish, far from an easy day for all involved. The GC battle will continue tomorrow. Get the legs up boys!

 

The Aussies

42nd – Ben O’Connor @ 0:00 (12th on the GC @7:33)

52nd- Chris Hamilton

56th- Rohan Dennis (6th on the GC @5:04)

87th- Zak Dempster @ 0:54

88th- Mitch Docker

92nd- Jack Haig @ 1:31

132nd- Adam Hansen @ 10:20


Next

196km finishing at Prato Nevoso. Simon Gerrans won here in the 2008 Tour de France from the breakaway. Will we see the opportunists go to the line tomorrow? Maybe. A flat opening 130km followed by a cat 4 climb and then the finishing 20km climb to the finish. With 2 massive days after this one, who will dare to come out and play on the roads to Prato Nevoso.

 

The Pick

Mitchelton- Scott will be looking for the easiest day possible. So, it could be a good chance for the break to slip up the road and have a showdown between themselves for the stage. On the other hand, teams like Astana, Movistar and UAE will be looking for the stage win so it could be controlled for their leaders of the day such as Aru, Betancur or Lopez. With the Italian champion losing 25 minutes a few days ago, he will be given plenty of rope to go for the win here, so our pick is Fabio Aru. He showed the legs are ok in the TT and will be looking to salvage something from this nightmare Giro.

See you back at the social club

Campbell