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From cocaine-fueled gangster themes to tiny details on the hubs
Leonardo Piepoli (Saunier Duval)
Leonardo Piepoli (Saunier Duval) has recorded his second Giro stage win, beating maglia rosa Ivan...
Leonardo Piepoli (Saunier Duval) has recorded his second Giro stage win, beating maglia rosa Ivan Basso (CSC) in a two man finish on the Furkelpass, the ending point of today's weather-shortened stage. After his dominating performance in stage 16 yesterday, Basso seemed content to let Piepoli have the stage, while at the same time putting even more time into his nearest rivals on the general classification. The consistent José E. Gutierrez Cataluna (Phonak) was the next best of these, finishing third at 15 seconds, while Gilberto Simoni's 8th place at 48 seconds moved him into third on the general classification.
The much anticipated 17th stage to Plan de Corones turned into a fairly tame affair, after most of the climbing was cancelled due to the weather. The riders protested against doing the Passo delle Erbe due to the cold and wet conditions on the descent, then a fresh snowfall at the top of the Plan de Corones forced the organisers into carving the last five, ferociously steep kilometres, off the finish. Instead, the finish was atop the Furkelpass at 1739m.
After Benoît Poilvet (Credit Agricole) and Dario Cioni (Liquigas) attacked after 33 km, they were able to gain 2'53 over the peloton with around 45 km to go. Saunier Duval did most of the chasing, and the pair were brought back before the foot of the final climb. An attempt by Illiano (Selle Italia) and Davis (T-Mobile) didn't go far, before the inevitable happened and the favourites' group split to pieces. Leonardo Piepoli and Ivan Basso were the strongest, moving away from Gutierrez, Pellizotti and Perez Cuapio in the final kilometres, with Basso not contesting the finish against the Saunier Duval rider.
See also: Stage 17 full results, report & photos and .