Would today’s Stage 17 of the Giro d’Italia, which had a sting in its tail, prove as exciting as yesterday’s? Absolutely! Nans Peters (Ag2r La Mondiale) seized his chance, attacking out of the 18-strong break with 16km to go, building a respectable advantage which saw him solo across the line in the Antholz Biathlon stadium arms aloft, to savour his first ever professional victory. Breakmates Esteban Chaves (Mitchelton-Scott) finished second, with David Formolo (BORA-hansgrohe) third. But there was more excitement 3km back down the course as Mikel Landa (Movistar) attacked from the GC group, followed by Hugh Carthy (EF-Education First). Then race leader Richard Carapaz (Movistar) followed the wheel of Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana) leaving Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain Merida) and Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) flailing in their wake. Birthday boy Carapaz is now 1:54 ahead of his nearest rival.
Stage 16 of the Giro d’Italia. No Passo Gavia because of the threat of an avalanche, but there was an uphill start, the Mortirolo (dedicated to Marco Pantani), and over 5,000m of climbing. This should have all the elements for a lively queen stage, particularly right after the rest day. Shouldn’t it? It should and it did! A very cold and wet KOM Giulio Ciccone (Trek-Segafredo) was one of two men left from an early 21-strong break, and through chattering teeth and possible hypothermia, he gathered everything left to outsprint Astana’s Jan Hirt for an emotional stage win. We expected Vicenzo Nibali (Bahrain Merida) to attack and we weren’t disappointed as his offensive shook up the GC and allowed him to leap over Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) but the Shark of Messina couldn’t dent his 1:47 deficit to maglia rosa wearer Richard Carapaz (Movistar).
On a finishing stretch rendered treacherous with torrential rain, Pascal Ackermann (BORA-hansgrohe) surfed the spray of Fernando Gaviria‘s (UAE Emirates) wheel, the latter his unwitting poisson-pilote, allowing Ackermann to smoke everyone to land his second victory in stage 5 of the 2019 Giro d’Italia. Gaviria was (a very close) runner-up with a distant Arnaud Demare (Groupama – FDJ) rounding out the podium. There were no changes on GC as all the contenders crossed the line safely together after their race had been neutralised. Race leader Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) has added a pink “waterproof” jacket to his rosy coloured swag.