Pierre Rolland finally gifts Cannondale-Drapac with a long-awaited stage win in a Grand Tour by taking Stage 17 of #Giro100, while GC contenders took a quiet approach before the looming hard stages ahead. Young Jan Polanc cut his deficit both in GC and the young riders’ classification with the help of his Slovenian compatriot Matej Mohoric. And no change overall, apart from Adam Yates leaving the top 10 – Tom Dumoulin is still in pink.
Goodbye dry spell, hello victory
After a two-year wait, Cannondale-Drapac finally get their Grand Tour win. Last time, it was Davide Formolo in the Giro 2015, on the Ligurian coast; today it was Pierre Rolland in the foothills of the Dolomites.
The Frenchman was part of a large group that, unlike the peloton, worked hard to make this stage entertaining. Once the gap between the two groups was in double digits, the only suspense was who would win the stage from the breakaway. It came down to sheer eagerness from the Frenchman, who attacked and went clear of his fellow riders in the last 8km with a strong and brave acceleration. With his lead extended, he managed to cross the line with more than 20 seconds to spare. He could have downed a nice espresso in that time but he was too busy celebrating this long-awaited win!
Rider of the Race
It is a common recurrence to see Pavel Brutt in a breakaway but in this Giro he has often shared the ride with young Slovenian rider (and former Junior, then Under-23 World Champion) Matej Mohoric. On a stage where the GC contenders took a break from the action, Mohoric took his chances and, after dropping Brutt with 83km to go, he went solo to chase that elusive victory. Although not a mountain stage as such, it was nevertheless dotted with climbs and long uphill stretches. However, with a strong and sizeable chasing group working hard to close the gap, the outcome was inevitable and Mohoric was eventually caught with 61km to go, but his 22km of grit and determination made its mark on an otherwise quiet stage.
Rider of the day, however, has to go to another Slovenian rider: 25-year-old Jan Polanc. After winning stage 4 in style, on the slopes of Mount Etna, and holding the mountain jersey for 7 stages, he managed to sneak into the chasing group that eventually caught Mohoric and helped to keep the GC colleagues at bay, jumping from 13th to virtual 3rd at one point, before settling for a very dignified 10th overall, kicking Adam Yates out of the top 10. Both Slovenian riders are teammates in the UAE Team Emirates outfit and the team worked really hard to help Polanc in his seemingly desperate quest. Jan also managed to climb to the second spot in the Maglia Bianca (young riders) competition, overtaking Davide Formolo, and Adam Yates. Quite spectacular.
It’s not often that GC riders form a gruppetto with the sprinters and the strugglers, however today’s leisurely ride ahead of three hard mountain stages was perhaps well earned and predictable. The overall classification is more open than ever and no doubt there will be plenty of fireworks going off by the time the TT in Milan settles matters on Sunday.
Oh, and I couldn’t resist the cheekiness of this tribute to Dumoulin’s troubles (last one, I promise) [Um, that definitely will be the last one, Fabs – Ed]
1 Pierre Rolland (Cannondale-Drapac) 5:42:56
2 Rui Costa (UAE Team Emirates) +0.24
3 Gorka Izaguirre (Movistar) same time
4 Rory Sutherland (Movistar) s/t
5 Matteo Busato (Willier Triestina – Selle Italia) s/t
GC Top 5
1 Tom Dumoulin (Sunweb) 76:05:38
2 Nairo Quintana (Movistar) +0:31
3 Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain Merida) +1:12
4 Thibaut Pinot (FDJ) +2:38
5 Ilnur Zakarin (Katusha-Alpecin) +2:40
All the jerseys
Leader’s jersey: Tom Dumoulin (Sunweb)
Points jersey: Fernando Gaviria (Quick-Step Floors)
KOM jersey: Mikel Landa (Sky)
Best young rider: Bob Jungels (Quick-Step Floors)
For full review of the stage, go to Cycling News
Header Image: Pierre Rolland ©GETTY / Corbis Sport / Tim de Waele