Sum up stage 17 of the Giro d’Italia in two words? BREATHLESS EXHILARATION. Santiago Buitrago (Bahrain Victorious) comes back from a crash then puts in a vicious attack to fly solo for his maiden Grand Tour victory. His team, especially Wout Poels, set Mikel Landa up to displace UAE Team-Emirate’s Joao Almeida on the third step of the Giro podium. Richard Carapaz (INEOS – Grenadiers) is still in pink with Jai Hindley (BORA-hansgrohe) still locked at three seconds adrift in second, and I haven’t even mentioned the exploits of dynamic Dutch duo of Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin Fenix) and Gijs Leemreize (Jumbo-Visma). Hold onto your hats, people!
It was a five-star stage 16 of the Giro d’Italia and the riders responded. It started with riders all over the road (early breaks trying to get away) and ended with riders all over the road. It was Jan Hirt who kept Intermarche-Wanty’s Giro fires burning with a well-fought solo win, with Thymen Arenseman (DSM) coming in second. But the GC put on a show as well, with Bora’s Jai Hindley in an uphill sprint with Richard Carapaz (Ineos) to take precious bonus seconds for third. Carapaz keeps the maglia rosa, but give Hindley anything over 3sec tomorrow and it’s on his shoulders. None of the other jerseys changed hands either.
Although Stage 9 of the Giro d’Italia took until the final 30km or so to really take off, take off it did. The climb to the summit finish on the infernal Blockhaus saw much-touted GC names dropping off the back to the consternation of the commentators, the maglia rosa fighting with every fibre of his being to save pink for another day, and a surprise sprint to the finish line. The GC changed so much, only one rider kept his place from yesterday.