Skip to main content

Live coverage

Giro d'Italia 2013: Stage 17

The race continues. Will this be one for the sprinters?

The Giro is starting to wind down – the end is in sight! Still, there are a handful of stages left to go (which may or may not involve major climbing). Today's stage is an odd one, flat as can be, but with a small, nasty climb built in right at the end.

The biggest news today is the predicted return of the snow. That would force some major changes in  the upcoming big mountain stages on Friday and Saturday. You can read all about it here.

The stage has started, and one rider was not there. RadioShack's Hayden Roulston had to abandon with the same respiratory infection that has plagued so much of the field.

Sorry, there were some technical problems, but we seem to be going again.

Rumours have it that the weather is supposed to be nice today. Hard to believe, isn't it?

208km remaining from 214km

Will there be an escape group today? Of course. The first riders are now trying to get away.

Four riders now apparently have 22 seconds on the field. We'll see if this group gets away or not.

Will there be a mass sprint today or not? That is the question. There are 16 kms from the top of the climb to the finish line, so yes, it is possible. But the sprinters could be badly dropped on the climb.....

This group is apparently Maxim Belkov (Katusha), Miguel Rubiano (Androni),Gert Dockx (Lotto Beilsol), and Luke Durbridge (OGE). They are said to have gotten away in the first kilometer.

200km remaining from 214km

However, they still have only 20 seconds on the field, so we aren't prepared to declare them away yet.

There is one good reason for the field to let this group go: Rubiano is the highest in GC of the four, and at 1:17:50 down, it seems highly unlikely he will disturb anyone at the top of the rankings.

Check out our stage preview here, complete with maps and video.
 

190km remaining from 214km

Well, that went fast -- this quartet now has 4:40 on the peloton.

Cavendish has said that this stage is not for him, with that climb at the end, but his team seems to think otherwise. Omega Pharma-QuickStep is leading the chase.

That climb near the end is the Crosara, and is ranked category four. It is a 5.3km long climb, with an average gradient of 8.1 percent most of the way, before flatting out to an average of 3.1% near the top. There is once setion of up to 12 %, though.
 

There were some changes in the top ten after yesterday’s stage, so let's take a look:

1     Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana Pro Team     67:55:36      
2     Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC Racing Team     0:01:26      
3     Rigoberto Uran Uran (Col) Sky Procycling     0:02:46      
4     Michele Scarponi (Ita) Lampre-Merida     0:03:53      
5     Przemyslaw Niemiec (Pol) Lampre-Merida     0:04:13      
6     Mauro Santambrogio (Ita) Vini Fantini-Selle Italia     0:04:57      
7     Carlos Alberto Betancur Gomez (Col) Ag2R La Mondiale     0:05:15      
8     Rafal Majka (Pol) Team Saxo-Tinkoff     0:05:20      
9     Benat Intxausti Elorriaga (Spa) Movistar Team     0:05:47    
10     Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) Ag2R La Mondiale     0:07:34      
 

175km remaining from 214km

The gap seems to be holding steady around the four minute mark.

Mark Cavendish still has a very narrow lead in the points jersey ranking.

1     Mark Cavendish (GBr) Omega Pharma-Quick Step     109     pts
2     Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC Racing Team     103      
3     Carlos Alberto Betancur Gomez (Col) Ag2R La Mondiale     85      
4     Mauro Santambrogio (Ita) Vini Fantini-Selle Italia     84      
5     Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana Pro Team     78      
6     Rigoberto Uran Uran (Col) Sky Procycling     76      
7     Elia Viviani (Ita) Cannondale Pro Cycling     72      
8     Giovanni Visconti (Ita) Movistar Team     61      
9     Giacomo Nizzolo (Ita) RadioShack Leopard     61      
10     Maxim Belkov (Rus) Katusha     55    
 

We understand that Blanco appealed the finish times yesterday, when Robert Gesink was struck by a mechanical problem near the end. Race organizer Michele Acquarone has now tweeted that the race jury looked into and gave Gesink 20 seconds, which moves him back into the top ten.

No change at the top of the mountain rankings, either. Stefano Pirazzi continues to lead there.

1     Stefano Pirazzi (Ita) Bardiani Valvole-CSF Inox     79     pts
2     Giovanni Visconti (Ita) Movistar Team     42      
3     Jackson Rodriguez (Ven) Androni Giocattoli     41      
4     Carlos Alberto Betancur Gomez (Col) Ag2R La Mondiale     32      
5     Robinson Eduardo Chalapud Gomez (Col) Colombia     31      
6     Mauro Santambrogio (Ita) Vini Fantini-Selle Italia     18      
7     Maxim Belkov (Rus) Katusha     18      
8     Rigoberto Uran Uran (Col) Sky Procycling     17      
9     Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana Pro Team     15      
10     Emanuele Sella (Ita) Androni Giocattoli     13

The Gazzetta tells us it is raining at the race. We also know that it is pouring down rain in Bavaria at the Bayern Rundfahrt. All together now, "Rain, rain go away....."

Benat Intxausti remembered the late Xavier Tondo when he won yesterday's stage. Intxausti was sitting in the car when Tondo was crushed by the garage door two years ago.

165km remaining from 214km

The gap has come down now to 3:18.

Vincenzo Nibali was happy to send faithful helper Tanel Kangert on his way to look for a stage win yesterday -- and it almost worked out.

OPQS continues to command the chase work. No doubt Astana appreciates it!

Mauro Santambrogio of Vini Fantini won Saturday's stage and jumped to fourth overall. But he lost two minutes yesterday and fell two places. He isn't giving up, though. “Tomorrow is another day, another stage and we start all over again,” he said.
 

140km remaining from 214km

What is happening in the race right now, you ask. And we answer: not much. 74km down and the gap hanging at around the three-minute-plus mark.

Usually the race jury will just close its eyes and look the other direction when a rider gets a hitch from a car up a climb. So it must have been egregious yesterday, because they threw Mattia Gavazzi out of the race for doing just that. “I'm sorry for him but I hope it's also a little lesson for him,” said Androni Giacattoli team manager Gianni Savio.

Cadel Evans didn't gain any time yesterday. But he didn't lose any, either. He is keeping his eye out for his best chance – perhaps tomorrow's mountain time trial?

Let's take a look at these four riders. First up is Maxim Belkov of Katusha. The 28-year-old Russian won stage nine here, you will recall. He turned pro in 2009 with ISD, rode for Vacansoleil in 2011, and joined Katusha last year.
 

Miguel Rubiano (Androni Giacattoli) is one of many Colombians in this race. He is also 28, and has a handful of top ten finishes this year. But did you remember that he won a stage at the Giro last year?
 

The weather does look to be nice today, as we originally said.

Gert Dockx is 24, and has been a pro since 2008, when he started out with HTC-Columbia. He won two stages at the Tour of  Gabon earlier this year.

Australian Luke Durbridge is the youngest rider in the Giro, we hear, having only turned 22 last year. He is a second-year pro with Orica-GreenEdge and this is his frist grand tour. How good is he? He is currently national champion in both road and time trial, that's how good he is.
 

112km remaining from 214km

112km to go, and it is feed zone time for the peloton. And the gap has now dropped to 2:22.

Filippo Pozzato looks through his feed bag, takes what he wants,and dumps the rest.

Astana's Valerio Agnoli drops back to the team car and picks up several feed bags.

We have a birthday in the peloton today! Christian Vande Velde (Garmin-Sharp) has turned 37! Happy Birthday!

102km remaining from 214km

The gap is creeping back up towards three minutes.

Here's the background on Gesink's situation yesterday. He had a mechanical problem with some 2km to go and lost time, but as we now know, he has since been given the same time as the winner.

This is not the only race going on right now. We also have stage races in Belgium and Bavaria (Bayern).

A teammate escorts Cadel Evans up from amongst the team car. We don't know why he was back there.

There is more to riding your first grand tour than you might think. Did you ever think of soap? Neither did Nathan Haas of Garmin-Sharp. A video here with him and teammate Peter Stetina.

The gap has gone back up and is nearly five minutes again.

That time gap just got too big. OPQS is leading the chase again and has really picked up the pace, with the field now spread on single file.

Argos-Shimano shares the lead work with the Belgian team, with Movistar lending a hand, too.

RadioShack DS Dirk Demol talks Giro! Catch it here!

Stage one of the Tour of Belgium is over! And the winner is......

65km remaining from 214km

Just a reminder, our four leaders are Maxim Belkov (Katusha), Miguel Rubiano (Androni), Gert Dockx (Lotto Beilsol), and Luke Durbridge (OGE).

Belkov wins the first intermediate sprint and takes five points, That gives him the overall lead in that category, as he had come into the day only one point down.

There are still two points available at the intermediate sprint, and OPQS makes sure that Cavendish gets them.

The chase is finally beginning to show effect. The gap is back down to four minutes.

Michele Scarponi seems determined to get on the Giro podium. He picked up enough time yesterday with his aggressive attacks to move up to fourth place overall.

51km remaining from 214km

The chances for the break no longer look so good, as the gap is now only 3:10.

The sun continues to shine and as we see fans in shorts and t-shirts, it must be warm as well. A nice change for the riders!

Under three minutes now but the four leaders are still giving their best.

Ag2R has taken itself out of the upcoming  Criterium du Dauphine, after its second doping case within 12 months. Team manger Vincent Lavenu hopes the situation won't affect his relationship with his sponsor.

Belkov again took the maximum points at the second intermediate sprint, and Cavendish again took the points for fifth place.

The peloton crosses under the 40 km marker, about 2:35 behind the lead group.

This Giro has really not gone as Thomas Dekker (Garmin Sharp) had anticpated. The bad weather and the loss of captain Hesjedal are part of it, but he also blames his own sub-optimal form.

34km remaining from 214km

The gap is now down to 1:42, as a variety of teams are the front of the chasing field.

A bit more than 10 km to go before the day's climbing starts.

This road is narrow. Very narrow. Could be tricky when the peloton comes to it....

So far the field is fitting nicely on the road.

31km remaining from 214km

Belkov has accomplished his goals today, and has dropped back. That leaves us with three in front, with roughly a one minute gap.

Still OPQS at the head of the field. They seem to feel they can successfully drag Cavendish over the climb.

It was a mass sprint finish in the first stage of the Bayern Rundfahrt today. To find out who won, click here.

Belkov has now been absorbed back into the peloton.

Thre three leaders are going down a slight descent -- very narrow, very curvy, not good for a large group....

Vini Fantini has moved into the lead with OPQS and has piced up the speed. Cavendish is still hanging on.

25km remaining from 214km

25 km and a gap of 1:03 for Miguel Rubiano (Androni), Gert Dockx (Lotto Beilsol), and Luke Durbridge (OGE).

 

Looks like the trio will take one minute with the as they start to climb.

Vini Fantini again controlling the pace. Cavendish starts the climb as fourth wheel.

Almost immediately Vini's Proni and Di Luca jump. Up ahead, Dockx is alone in the lead.

Durbridge is suffering dreadfully on the climb.

Lampre leds the chase, and the two Vinis don't have much of a gap. Proni drops back and Di Lucas goes on.

Not Dockx in the lead, but Rubiano. Di Luca catchs and passes Dockx.

Rubiano still in the lead, alone. Di Luca giving his best, but can't really get far awy from the Lampre-led field.

Cavendish no longer at the front of the group, but also not all that far back.

Rubiano makes his way up to the top, another 3 km  to go.

The favourites' group is getting smaller and smaller, and now Cavendish has dropped off the back. This climb is too hard for him.

Di Luca now has rubiano in sight. And Movistar's Visconti takes off in pursuit. Will we see another win for the Spanish team?

Di Luca has now caught Rubiera, so we have two in front -- soon to be three, with Visconti moving up quickly.

The leading trio only has maybe 15-20 seconds. Visconti takes off, and Rubiano goes with him. Di Luca can't match them.

Lampre leads the chase, but we see Nibali and Evans right behind them. Di Luca falling back with every meter.

The group of favourites is fairly small, 20-30 riders. So far no one lse has shown any interest in attacking.

The Lampre riders just turned around as if to ask, doesn't anyone else want to help with the lead work?

Visconti wants to dump Rubiano and is finally successful, as the Colombian finally cracks. Visconti takes the moutnai points and keeps on going.

Di Luca is bac in the field again. Rubiano is 15 seconds down, adn the peloton is at 32 seconds.

If Visconti were to stay away, he would take his second stage in this Giro. And it would be three in a row for Movistar.

Astana leads the way as they fly down the descent. OPQS has gathered back around Cavendish, working hard to pull him back to the front. But they are 1:32 down, with 13 km to go.

Rubiano is finally caught by the group of favourites which is 22 seconds behind Visconti.

It looks very doubtful for Cavendish, who is now 1:40 down.

Will Visconti stay away or will the group of favourites fight it out today?

Astana sends a rider up the road, and the favourites' group is starting to fall apart.

Now it is a Blano rider, Kruiswjck, togehter with Nizzolo and Marcato, as a chase group.

That group is caught, but we see constant attacks.

Visconti just keeps on going....

The favourites' group is really flying along, with 6 km left.

The favourites' group is really flying along, with 6 km left.

Three more riders try to get away.

Riders jump, are caught, more riders go....

This only helps Visconti, who simply concentrates on himself.

Another rider who is fairly unworried at the moment is Nibali, safely tucked in the group.

Five riders with a very slight lead over the group.

The group is large, but not at all working together.

Less thn two km for Visconti -- and only 18 seconds.

He steered wrong on a curve, bt stays upright.

A mechanical for Betancur.

Final km for Visconti!

He is going to take it! Although he looks backwards as much as forwards.

In the final turn he finally relaizes he will win tihs race! He rejoices as he crosses the line.

A Garmin rider takes the group sprint. Did he think he had won the stage?

Small groups of rider dribble over the finish line, and will continue to do so for a while.

Cavendish crosses the line with a large group, about 1:32 down.

Second place goes to Navardauskas  (Garmin), with Argos-Shimano's Luka Mezgec third.

Here our top ten on the stage:

1 Giovanni Visconti (Ita) Movistar Team 5:15:34
2 Ramunas Navardauskas (Ltu) Garmin-Sharp 0:00:19
3 Luka Mezgec (Slo) Team Argos-Shimano 0:00:19
4 Filippo Pozzato (Ita) Lampre-Merida 0:00:19
5 Danilo Hondo (Ger) RadioShack Leopard 0:00:19
6 Salvatore Puccio (Ita) Sky Procycling 0:00:19
7 Sacha Modolo (Ita) Bardiani Valvole-CSF Inox 0:00:19
8 Fabio Felline (Ita) Androni Giocattoli 0:00:19
9 Francisco José Ventoso Alberdi (Spa) Movistar Team 0:00:19
10 Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC Racing Team  0:00:19

And our top ten in GC:

1 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana Pro Team  73:11:29
2 Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC Racing Team  0:01:26
3 Rigoberto Uran Uran (Col) Sky Procycling  0:02:46
4 Michele Scarponi (Ita) Lampre-Merida  0:03:53
5 Przemyslaw Niemiec (Pol) Lampre-Merida  0:04:13
6 Mauro Santambrogio (Ita) Vini Fantini-Selle Italia  0:04:57
7 Carlos Alberto Betancur Gomez (Col) Ag2R La Mondiale  0:05:15
8 Rafal Majka (Pol) Team Saxo-Tinkoff  0:05:20
9 Benat Intxausti Elorriaga (Spa) Movistar Team  0:05:47
10 Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) Ag2R La Mondiale  0:07:24

Thanks for reading along today. Join us again tomorrow for what will no doubt be a very exciting mountain time trial!

Latest on Cyclingnews