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Giro d'Italia 2010: Stage 17


Things are a little easier today for the 17th stage. Yes, there is a category one ranked climb, but only one and it's in the middle of the stage. Not that that makes it much easier for all those tired legs from yesterday's brutal mountain time trial.

It's back to the mountains today for the weary riders, who have no doubt already forgotten Monday's rest day. It counts as a mountaintop finish, but it is only a very small mountaintop, and not even a ranked climb. That doesn't make it any easier, though, does it?

153 riders are now on the road!  Missing today was David Loosli, of Lampre, who must have decided he has had enough of the mountains.

This is a relatively short stage, only 173 kilometres from Brunico to the Palade Pass and then to Pejo Terme. We are way up in the north of Italy, just about as far north as you can go and still be in Italy, and will be travelling west-southwest today.

It is overcast today, but at least so far, there is no rain. And we hear that the fans are already lining the road up to the finish line.

What do we have to look forward to? The Palade Pass. The riders go 1,242 metres up, with an average gradient of 6.6% and a maximum of 16%. It's a long climb, at 19km, but not considered to be a really difficult one.

We would be very surprised to see Milram's Linus Gerdemann finish the Giro. The German explained yesterday after the stage why he lost so much time – he is suffering from bronchitis.

163km remaining from 173km

Here's a quick look at today is all about:

155km remaining from 173km

I'm handing things over to Dan Benson now, who will take you uphill and down and back up again....

Thanks, Susan.

As Susan straps on her parachute and jumps out from the CN blimp, let’s bring you up to speed on a few things.

Yesterday Stefano Garzelli blitzed the mountain time trial, finishing a whopping 42 seconds ahead of Cuddles and John Gadret a few seconds back. It was a bit of a surprise from Gadret but he's a strong climber with solid base in cross racing. As for the rest, they were bunched together with not that many major time gaps. Carlos Sastre was probably the biggest loser, finishing 2:31 down on Garzelli. So now our overall looks a little bit like this:

135km remaining from 173km

Giro aside, there are a number of stories in the media today. Firstly, we have this courtesy of the New York Times regarding the Landis investigation and possible implications.

One of the favourites to win the Giro is Ivan Basso, and he should have very fond memories of this area. It is where he won the Giro of Trentino last year, his first win coming back from his two-year doping-related suspension.

The stage started today in Brunico, hosting its third Giro stage since 1997. There are lots of sports activities available in the area, both summer and winter sports. It also features the South Tyrol Museum of Traditions, an open-air museum to which many old buildings have been moved.

The stage ends today in Pejo Terme, making only its second appearance in the Giro. It is located in the Stelvio National Park and offers
everything from skiing to river rafting. Look for lots of polenta on the menu here, like “rostida polenta”, sliced and heated in bacon with potatoes and cheese.

Just on the Landis affair,  Landisgate or whatever we're calling it now; Procycling ran an issue last year called the 'Power issue' and it focused on the top 50 most powerful people in the sport. Yours truly didn't make the cut, despite my constant letter writing and threats, but many people involved in the story so far did.  To highlight the significance of the entire story here are some the names: Paul Kimmage as 49th and has already said that the ramifications could be huge. Jim Ochowicz (40th) is at BMC and one of his directors has been named by Landis. Dave Brailsford (22nd) hired Michael Barry, another rider mentioned by Landis. 

125km remaining from 173km

A total of 19 riders have nipped off the front. We'll cobble together some names for you now.

115km remaining from 173km

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Once again we're about to be joined by Daniel Friebe from Procycling

DB: Dan, what do think about today's stage. What are you predicting?

Sorry to stop you there Dan but we have our riders within the break. They are : Wyss, Efimkin, Ochoa, Kireyev, Arashiro, Amador, Konovalovas, Duque, Monier, Stortoni, Hondo, Marzano, Moreno, Kruijswijk, Cummings, Reynes, Ignatiev, Fothen, Nicki Sorensen

100km remaining from 173km

DB: Just a few days to go and the GC is very tight. You said that if Basso didnt win the Giro it would a huge blow to him. He's right in there though. Obviously reading your words on live coverage when he goes to bed at night.

95km remaining from 173km

DB: Basso has said that we should believe in clean cycling and that he's clean. He's said that before. What's the difference now? Is there one?

DB: It seems to me like the UCI entire PR machine doesnt understand what's expected of it, or what cycling fans really want from them.


Just to jump in but the lead group are about to hit the main climb.

Only five teams are not represented in the break: Acqua & Sapone, Footon-Servetto, Garmin-Transitions, Liquigas and Quick Step. Best-placed rider in teh group is Efimkin, who is 16th at 18:57 back.

DB: Thanks for joining us Daniel.

DF: One last point: how fair is it for the UCI to publicly single out a rider as "clean"? What does that say about the others, most of whom have never broken the rules, unlike Ivan Basso? They can feel justifiably aggrieved.

85km remaining from 173km

BMC and Liquigas are willing to let Caisse do the work on the front of the bunch.

79km remaining from 173km

81km remaining from 173km

And now Susan will take over for a few minutes.

Susan back again for a bit.  We are really lucky with the weather, it looks like the sun is coming out.

77km remaining from 173km

The gap is sinking slowly, now down to 10:40.

Remember, we have two other races going on right now:  The Tour of Belgium and the Bayern Rundfahrt.  But don't worry, we won't put any spoilers in here!

Nibali looks fairly relaxed today.

75km remaining from 173km

74km remaining from 173km

Amador was back at the team car, getting some adjustments on his bike. Further back, his Caisse d'Epargne teammates are at the head of the chasing peloton.

We have an abandon today:  Federico Canuti of Colnago has just  called it quits.

Thanks once again Susan.

72km remaining from 173km

71km remaining from 173km

The gap is now at 9:27 with the break just a few kilometers from the top of the climb.

Basso's army are sitting just behind Arrroy's armada. Basso himself with that fixed grin he seems to always ride with.

Pozatto has his jersey unzipped to his waist. Oh wait, he's spotted the TV cameras and the zip comes up.

Kruijswijk leads the break, swings off and immediately grabs a drink.

Basso moves to Arroyo's wheel and then alongside the Spaniard as the peloton ride through a tunnel and the road begins to climb again. The gap is coming down but slowly.

The climb is 18.9K long and the average gradient is 6.6 per cent, in case you wanted to know.

66km remaining from 173km

Liquigas are more than happy for Caisse to set the pace here so they can save their powder for either the final climb today or later in the race.

Efimkin and Sorensen are probably the strongest riders in the break in terms of climbing ability. The Dane having already won a stage in this year's race.

Scarponi now on the front, with Cunego out of the saddle and on his wheel.

A couple of riders in the bunch are zipping up their jerseys now with the descent in mind. The gap now at 6:23.

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The break sweeps through an Italian town, still with a lead of over 8 minutes.

40km remaining from 173km

39km remaining from 173km

The break are climbing now and we should see some kind of selection made as the non climbers and tired riders begin to pop off the back.

The gap is growing, over 9 minutes again.

Arroyo with his pink bike comes to the front and has a word with his man on the front.

Correction from earlier. Nicki Sorensen is in the break today, not Chris, who won a stage earlier in the Giro.

The peloton have certainly taken their foot off the gas and they'll wait for the final climb of the day until they start attacking each other.

The peloton has started the gradual climb now. Caisse still on the front, Basso's bullies just behind.

The gap is close to ten minutes now.

31km remaining from 173km

30km remaining from 173km

And we have our first attack and as you would expect Ignatiev takes off.

27km remaining from 173km

The Katusha rider has a 14 second gap.

Ignatiev hits a short downhill section and he gets a roar from the crowd. He has 25K to go.

Ignatiev is looking back and he doesn't look great. Jaw clenched, hunched over the drops. Is he about to throw in the towel?

22km remaining from 173km

21km remaining from 173km

The lead group is starting to break up a bit. Four riders have moved off the front but are then caught.

It has split into four groups. Hondo, Situation
Mikhail Ignatiev and two other riders have formed as the lead group.

155km remaining from 173km

Basso sits on Cunego's wheel.

16km remaining from 173km

Duque is next to have a dig but he's quickly brought back.

Cummings moves to the front and immediately Moreno tries his luck. Caught! Then Hondo goes again and he's followed by Kruijswijk. The two riders have a small gap.

Moreno goes again and is trying to catch the two riders ahead.

13km remaining from 173km

Cummings is leading the chase behind but Hondo and co are not hanging around. They're flying along.

The three leaders have 20 seconds on the remnants of the break. Moreno still trying to come across to them.

11km remaining from 173km

The three leaders have 37 seconds the chasers now. That's not a racing wining margin so  they'll still have to work hard if they're going to decide the finish between them.

Moreno is about to be caught.

Hondo on the front of the trio again. He has been very aggressive today.

9km remaining from 173km

Kruijswijk takes a turn, mouth open as he gulps in air.

Cummings is now off the front of the second group and trying to catch the lead trio, who are about to hit a steep section of the climb.

8km remaining from 173km

Lampre have come to the front now. Possible to protect Cunego's position in the overall against Efimkin.

6km remaining from 173km

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The bunch pass through the 10K to go barrier. Simoni on the front Greipel behind him.

Hondo does look smooth though. He;s in second wheel here and turning the pedals.

Monier attacks on the right.

Monier has a gap and he's pushing on. There's no response from behind. In the saddle and moving well here but it looks like a rider might be coming over to him. The lead trio have blown apart as Kruijswijk moves!

2km remaining from 173km

Monier doesn't look great on a bike it has to be said ,but it is effective.

I think Steven Kruijswijk has blown though. I dont think he can come across. Less than 2K to go now.

Monier has 8 seconds on Kruijswijk as he takes a corner.

2km remaining from 173km

Heading for the biggest win of his career is Damien Monier. Remember the GC riders are still 11 minutes back.

Kruijswijk has totally blown and Hondo is coming back to him. Monier turns to look back, sees the gap and then pushes back on the pedals. he gets out of the saddle, he doesnt look great doing that either.

1km remaining from 173km

100 meters to go

And the Frenchman takes the win! he's on the floor, totally shattered.

Hondo grabs second with Kruijswijk in third.

The rest of the early break are now filtering through.

That was the second French win in this year's Giro.

Now back down the climb and Liquigas are now in charge.

Basso is sitting just at the end of the train, Cunego not too far back and Vino sitting on Arroyo's wheel. The pace is pretty high, riders getting dropped and sitting up.

I think Liquigas want to try something here and exploit some tired legs.

A Colnago rider makes a move but Liquigas will close that one down.

Simoni is dropped.

The peloton down to around thirty riders or so. Cuesta pops too.

All the big guns are present. Vino, Evans, Basso, Nibali, Sastre, Porte

Scarponi is also there and sits in third wheel. Will we see fireworks?

Less than twenty riders with Nibali now driving on. What a teammate to have in this situation.

Pinotti hanging on at the back

Scarponi moves with 250 to go

Scarponi finishes two or three bike lengths ahead of Basso but everyone finished roughly together.

Big winners of the day Monier and Efkimkin.

Monier looks shocked on the podium. I don't think the stage win has sunk in yet. Simoni crosses the line and watches the podium presentation.

1 Damien Monier (Fra) Cofidis, le Credit en Ligne
2 Danilo Hondo (Ger) Lampre-Farnese Vini
3 Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) Rabobank
4 Daniel Moreno Fernandez (Spa) Omega Pharma-Lotto
5 Steven Cummings (GBr) Sky Professional Cycling Team
6 Simone Stortoni (Ita) Colnago - CSF Inox
7 Alexander Efimkin (Rus) AG2R La Mondiale
8 Marco Marzano (Ita) Lampre-Farnese Vini
9 Carlos Jose Ochoa (Ven) Androni Giocattoli
10 Nicki Sorensen (Den) Team Saxo Bank

Thanks for joining us today. We'll see you tomorrow for stage 18!

1 Damien Monier (Fra) Cofidis, le Credit en Ligne 4:29:19
2 Danilo Hondo (Ger) Lampre-Farnese Vini 0:00:36
3 Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) Rabobank 0:00:39
4 Daniel Moreno Fernandez (Spa) Omega Pharma-Lotto 0:01:05
5 Steven Cummings (GBr) Sky Professional Cycling Team 0:01:18
6 Simone Stortoni (Ita) Colnago - CSF Inox 0:01:48
7 Alexander Efimkin (Rus) AG2R La Mondiale 0:01:55
8 Marco Marzano (Ita) Lampre-Farnese Vini 0:01:57
9 Carlos Jose Ochoa (Ven) Androni Giocattoli
10 Nicki Sorensen (Den) Team Saxo Bank

General classification after stage 17

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