Today’s cracking stage proves that long descents can be just as exciting as long ascents. Omar Fraile (Team Dimension Data) won the stage after a spectacular breakaway effort which saw him regularly pinging off the front only to be pulled back again. But his persistence paid off. Attacked over the final climb, he had enough left in the legs to win the four-man sprint for the finish. The GC remains largely unchanged with Tom Dumoulin (Sunweb) still wearing the maglia rosa. Messrs Thomas, Kruijswijk and van Garderen had another bad day at the office, and lost further time.
Rider of the Race
What an outstanding victory for Omar Fraile! Part of a 26-man break that went clear early in the 161km stage from Firenzo to Bagno di Romagna, he nailed his (Basque) colours to the mast when he launched his first bid for victory at around 50kms with fellow Basque Mikel Landa (Sky). The duo were pulled back at the base of the final climb with 40kms to go. Landa dropped out of sight but Fraile didn’t give up, following an attack by Pierre Rolland (Cannondale-Drapac) over the summit (taking maximum KOM points) and down the long descent to the finish line. The pair were joined firstly by Rui Costa (UAE Emirates) and then by Tanel Kangert (Astana) but Fraile outsprinted his rivals to take his first WorldTour and Grand Tour victory. What a day for the Basque rider! And now he’s our Rider of the Race. Can today get any better?
Fraile is probably better known as the 2015 and 2016 Vuelta a Espana’s King of the Mountains winner but according to his bio on the team website, his objective for 2017 was to finally win a prestigious stage at a Grand Tour. Tick! Job well done. Speaking seconds after the stage finish, Fraile said:
It’s been an incredible day. It couldn’t have gone any better. I’m super happy. It’s a win I’ve dreamt of for a long time. I’ve had a passion for the Giro since I was a kid. This is my best win ever.
Celebrating Gino Bartali
Today’s stage celebrated legendary Tuscan rider Gino Bartali who won the Giro three times (1936, 1937 and 1946) and is fondly remembered for his rivalry with compatriot Fausto Coppi. More importantly, however, he is remembered as a true hero during the Second World War when he regularly risked his life working with the Italian Resistance and helped Jewish families hide from the Nazis. He was awarded the honour Righteous of the Nations by Yad Vashem in 2013 for his commitment to saving Italian Jews from persecution. A humble man, he once told his son, ‘One does these things and then that’s that.’
The stage went past the Gino Bartali Museum in Ponte e Ema, just outside of Florence. If you want to learn more about this amazing man, pick up a copy of Road to Valour: Gino Bartali – Tour de France Legend and World War Two Hero by Aili McConnon and Andres McConnon.
1 Omar Fraile (Dimension Data) 4:23:14
2 Rui Costa (UAE Emirates) same time
3 Pierre Rolland (Cannondale-Drapac) s/t
4 Tanel Kangert (Astana) s/t
5 Giovanni Visconti (Bahrain Merida) s/t
GC Top 5
1 Tom Dumoulin (Sunweb) 47:22:07
2 Nairo Quintana (Movistar) +2:23
3 Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo) +2:38
4 Thibaut Pinot (FDJ) +2:40
5 Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain Merida) +2.47
All the jerseys
Leader’s jersey: Tom Dumoulin (Sunweb)
Points jersey: Fernando Gaviria (Quick-Step Floors)
KOM jersey: Jan Polanc (UAE Emirates)
Best young rider: Bob Jungels (Quick-Step Floors)
For full review of the stage, go to Cycling News
Header Image: Omar Fraile ©GETTY/AFP/Luk Benies