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 hyped as one of the showcase stages of this year’s Giro d’Italia and it actually lived up to our expectations. With some aggressive pacemaking from Astana, by the time the maglia rosa group hit the slopes of the mighty Zoncolan, the field was well and truly thinned out. With 4km to go, Chris Froome found his form and attacked with no one catching his wheel. Simon Yates waited until under the 3km banner to give chase, hoping to distance a slowly-but-surely Tom Dumoulin. Froome won the stage but didn’t do anything to prise Yates’s grip off the maglia rosa. It did juggle the top 10 around, though.
Contre-le-montre, cronometro a squadre, whatever the language it was all about riding against the clock at both Paris-Nice and Tirreno Adriatico.