Peters powers home to take first pro victory at Giro d'Italia

Frenchman left in disbelief after solo win

"C'est énorme. This is amazing," said AG2R La Mondiale's Nans Peters having taken victory on stage 17 of the Giro d'Italia on Wednesday – and his first win as a professional rider.

As first wins go, they don't get much bigger, or more amazing, than a stage at a Grand Tour, and it certainly doesn't get much better than coming home alone, with a 1:34 gap over the next best rider, which was Peters' gap back to Mitchelton-Scott's Esteban Chaves, who was also on his own.

"I can't believe it," the 25-year-old said on his team's website. "I've taken my first pro victory and it's at a Grand Tour. It's fantastic.

Peters had been part of a day-long 18-man escape, and made his winning move with 15km of the 181km stage left to go.

"I found myself in a breakaway group with some big names [Chaves, Deceuninck-QuickStep's Bob Jungels], but I didn't let myself get too carried away. I tried my best to stay fresh for the last kilometres of the stage, and then really tried to concentrate at the end," he said.

"I attacked just once with around 15km to go, and then really tried to gauge my effort," continued Peters. "With 1.5km to go, I realised that it I was going to make it.

"I could hear Arturas [Kasputis, sports director] in my ear on the radio, telling me that there was no one in sight behind me, and after a difficult day yesterday," when team leader Alexis Vuillermoz suffered an asthma attack and Tony Gallopin was forced to retire with a knee injury, "this win gives us the chance to continue on in the race with something to be happy about."

It was AG2R's first win at the Giro since 2011, when John Gadret won in Castelfidardo, and a true milestone for Peters, who only turned pro with AG2R in 2017, and whose best result prior to Wednesday's win had been fourth place on a stage of last year's Vuelta a Espana, although he did also wear the white jersey as best young rider for three days earlier in this year's Giro.

"It was such a great day," added Kasputis of Peters' win. "Nans was in a breakaway with some other really big names, but he acted like a champion, too. He really managed his efforts well, not panicking and waiting for the right moment to attack.

"We did actually do a reconnaissance of the finish of this stage after the Tour of the Alps [in April], so Nans knew how to measure his efforts," the AG2R directeur sportif continued. "It's been eight years since we last won a stage here at the Giro, and so it feels wonderful."

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