Giro stage 17: Visconti wins once more

Stage 17: Caravaggio to Vicenza, 214km

Movistar’s Giovanni Visconti swept the board today when he soloed across the finish line. It was his second victory of this year’s Giro, and his team’s third consecutive stage win – and fourth in total.

In addition, it was the perfect 80th anniversary gift for the team’s component sponsor Campagnolo in its hometown of Vicenza. The former Italian national champion attacked and escaped over the only climb of the day – the fourth category climb Crosara – with under 20km remaining and held off a disorganised and much-reduced pursuing pack. Stage 11 winner Ramunas Navardauskas (Garmin-Sharp) was best of the rest, celebrating as though he’d won, followed by Argonaut Luka Mezgec.

It demonstrates that the mind is everything. The truth is that the Galibier has resurrected me. It has helped me find myself, to restore confidence in me and my career choices. It was a dream to win a stage in the Giro and in three days I’ve won two.

Giovanni Visconti

The break of the day – Luke Durbridge (Orica-GreenEDGE), Miguel Angel Rubiano (Androni Giocattoli-Venezuela), Gert Dockx (Lotto-Belisol) and stage nine winner Maxim Belkov (Katusha) never led by more than five minutes before the sprinters’ teams began to reel them in. The quartet split on the Crosara climb with Rubiano the last man standing but not before he was joined firstly by Danilo Di Luca (Vini Fantini-Selle Italia) and then Visconti who dropped them both before he crested the summit on his way to victory.

Race leader Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) spent a tranquil day in the peloton and finished the day with his overall lead unchanged. None of the jerseys swapped shoulders today and there were no changes to the overall classification.

VeloVoices riders of the day

I’m giving today’s award to the squad led by the elegantly coiffed and clad Gianni Savio. Yes, it’s a big round of applause for the entire Androni Giocattoli-Venezuela squad: Italian national champion Franco Pelizotti, Giairo Ermeti, Fabio Felline, Mattia Gavazzi (excluded yesterday for taking a tow or two), Tomas Gil Martinez, Jackson Rodriguez, Miguel Angel Rubiano and Emanuele Sella, who have animated pretty much every stage of this race. It’s a team which perfectly understands its role and its mix of young South Americans and Italian former bad boys plays it to perfection.

Opinion & analysis

Today panned out as expected. It could have provided a classic opportunity for an early break to try and ride away with the win but it didn’t, even though the overall contenders opted to conserve their energies on the almost perfectly flat stage, save for the category four sting in the tail. With few opportunities for the sprinters in this year’s race, the Omega Pharma-Quick Step, Argos-Shimano and Movistar squads committed manpower to the chase in hopes of delivering their respective sprinters to the finish in Vicenza. Mark Cavendish (OPQS) made a heroic effort to stay in touch, electing to ‘do a McEwen’ on the 7% climb but he couldn’t sustain the effort. His four-point margin over Cadel Evans (BMC) in the race for the maglia rossa is looking ever more slender.

One winner from today was escapee Maxim Belkov who, by virtue of being in today’s break, added points to take the lead in the intermediate sprint classification, formerly held by Rafael Andriato (Vini Fantini-Selle Italia). The Katusha rider took maximum points at the first and second sprint points to take over the classification lead.

Stage 17 result

1. Giovanni Visconti (Movistar) 5:15:34

2. Ramunas Navardauskas (Garmin-Sharp) +0:19

3. Luka Mezgec (Argos-Shimano) same time

4. Filippo Pozzato (Lampre-Merida) s/t

5. Danilo Hondo (RadioShack-Leopard) s/t

General classification

1. Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) 73:11:29

2. Cadel Evans (BMC) +1:26

3. Rigoberto Uran (Sky) +2:46

4. Michele Scarponi (Lampre-Merida) +3:53

5. Przemyslaw Niemiec (Lampre-Merida) +4:13

6. Mauro Santambrogio (Vini Fantini-Selle Italia) +4:57

7. Carlos Betancur (Ag2r La Mondiale) +5:15

8. Rafal Majka (Saxo-Tinkoff) +5:20

9. Benat Intxausti (Movistar) +5:47

10. Robert Gesink (Blanco) +7:24

Link: Official website

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