Valerio Conti (UAE Team Emirates) was arguably Italy's best hope of ending its shutout in the 100th Giro d'Italia, but a bit of overenthusiastic pedalling on a turn in the final kilometre sent him sprawling and dashed any hopes of taking the stage victory in Peschici.
Conti made it across to the breakaway after the category 2 Monte Sant'Angelo, and then sparked an attack that whittled down the group to him, Luis Leon Sanchez (Astana), Giovanni Visconti (Bahrain-Merida), Gregor Muhlberger (Bora-Hansgrohe) and eventual winner Gorka Izagirre (Movistar).
Visconti burned a few matches with a big attack with 10.7km to go, Muhlberger was dropped, and Sanchez had been on the attack all day. Conti was confident in his chances as he led into a turn but slid out - his crash providing enough of a disruption to give Izagirre the jump on his rivals.
"It's a shame. I made a mistake and I'm so sorry," a beleaguered Conti said. "I believed in the victory. Maybe I exaggerated a bit in the turn pedalling too much. Maybe I had too much adrenaline in order to get through the final few metres. I fell still attached to the pedal and lost time.
"I did a perfect stage in the finale the strongest breakaway riders remained in front and we were ready to fight in order to win the stage. The only thing I can say is I was feeling good and believed in the stage victory. Now I'm really sorry and disappointed. I hope there will be another occasion because I am in good shape."
The team could take some solace in the fact that Jan Polanc still wears the mountains classification jersey, but with the Blockhaus finish ahead, keeping it will be tricky.
"Tomorrow for sure it's difficult," Polanc said. "There is only one mountain for classification, and it's the finish of the stage. You never know - we will try something."
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