Giro d'Italia: Visconti wins stage 17

Giovanni Visconti soloed to victory in Vicenza to earn his second stage win of the 2013 Giro d'Italia and the third straight for his Movistar squad. The 30-year-old Italian jumped away from the peloton on the day's only climb, the category 4 Crosara with 16km to go, rode through the remnants of the day's early break, and held off the pursuit of a diminished peloton in the stage finale.

Ramunas Navardauskas (Garmin-Sharp) took the sprint for second ahead of Luka Mezgec (Argos-Shimano) and Filippo Pozzato (Lampre-Merida) in the maglia rosa group, which crossed the line 19 seconds after Visconti.

The top of the general classification remained unchanged with Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) retaining the overall lead, 1:26 ahead of Cadel Evans (BMC) and 2:46 in front of Rigoberto Uran (Sky).

Prior to the start of the Giro, Visconti had thought that today's stage into Vicenza would be a favourable parcours for either himself or teammate Francisco Ventoso. "I decided to try my luck on the climb, and leave the sprint to Ventoso," said Visconti. "I saw [Danilo] Di Luca and [Miguel] Rubiano ahead. I caught them, and dropped them on the climb. I dropped Rubiano because he is fast in the sprint. Then I just gave it full gas on the descent and flat."

When it rains it pours for the Movistar Italian who won his first race of the season on the Giro's 15th stage to the Galibier, and now added another Grand Tour stage victory to his palmares just three days later.

"My mentality has changed completely," said Visconti. "It is now what it was before, and how it should be: your head can make you ride badly, but it can also revive you. The stimulus of the win on the Galibier and the congratulations I received, were deeply touching.

"I felt fearless today. I rode 13km without panicking. The kilometres flowed past one after the other and it was wonderful. I can't describe it. The crowds shouting my name. Today was special for me."

From the gun

Today's stage would provide a classic opportunity for an early break to try and ride away with the spoils as the GC contenders would opt to keep their powder dry on a parcours nearly perfectly flat, except for a category four kick in the tail at 16km to go.

And, as if on cue, soon after kilometre zero and the official start of proceedings in Caravaggio, four riders went out on the attack: Miguel Rubiano (Androni Giocattoli), stage 9 winner Maxim Belkov (Katusha), Gert Dockx (Lotto Belisol) and Australian road champion Luke Durbridge (Orica-GreenEdge), in the midst of his Grand Tour debut.

With Rubiano the highest placed rider on general classification in 49th, 1:17:50 down, the escape sparked no alarm bells from maglia rosa Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) and his rivals for overall honours. However, in a Giro d'Italia with few opportunities for the fast men, the Omega Pharma-QuickStep and Argos-Shimano squads soon committed men to the chase in hopes of delivering their respective sprinters Mark Cavendish, who had previously downplayed his chances for today, and Luka Mezgec, another Grand Tour debutant with a pair of third place finishes thus far in Giro sprint finales, to the finish in Vicenza.

The quartet quickly pushed their advantage out to nearly five minutes, but the two sprinters' teams came to the fore and prevented a runaway. After approximately 100km of racing in the 214km stage had been completed the gap was reduced to nearly two minutes, but with so much real estate still to cover the peloton eased back on the throttle and the break's lead was pushed out to more than four minutes.

With 80km to go and the escape now with a more than five-minute advantage, the tempo ramped up in the peloton as Omega Pharma-QuickStep, Argos-Shimano as well as Movistar, perhaps thinking favourably of Spanish champion Francisco Ventoso's chances, added additional horsepower to the front of the peloton. Soon Cannondale chipped in support, too, but with the break fully committed and working smoothly the lead still remained at approximately five minutes for another 20km.

Belkov had additional motivation for the break to succeed, or at least remain off the front deep into the stage, as the 28-year-old Russian started the day just one point out of the lead in the intermediate sprint classification, held by Rafael Andriato (Vini Fantini-Selle Italia). The Katusha rider took maximum points at the first sprint line in San Bonifacio (150.3km) to take over the classification lead and prevailed again 23km later to further increase his points tally.

As the break rolled through the second sprint line in Orgiano, however, their lead was down to 3:04 and falling steadily. Belkov, content with his sprint classification success, was the first to drop from the break with 35km to go as they grew close to the day's only climb, the 5.3km ascent to Crosara with its summit just 16km from the finish.

In the approach to the climb where was a changing of the guard at the head of the peloton as Vini Fantini-Selle Italia drove the pace on the narrow, technical roads with Rubiano, Dockx and Durbridge still maintaining a one-minute lead as they began their ascent of the Crosara.

Sting in the tail

The leading trio shattered on a steep ramp under the impetus of Rubiano while Vini Fantini's Alessandro Proni and Danilo Di Luca jumped away from the peloton. Proni gave it his all for Di Luca and cracked, while Di Luca pressed onwards in pursuit of the solo Colombian. Di Luca made contact with Rubiano two kilometres from the summit while stage 15 winner Giovanni Visconti (Movistar) also attacked the peloton and quickly crossed the gap to the two leaders.

Visconti kept his foot on the gas, gapping Di Luca and Rubiano, but the Colombian dug deep to regain contact. Nearing the KOM line, however, Visconti dispatched of Rubiano once and for all while the Lampre-Merida led peloton swept up Di Luca and crested the summit 30 seconds behind the Movistar Italian.

Cavendish, meanwhile, had lost contact with the peloton and trailed the maglia rosa group which still contained several fast men eager to contest a stage's endgame without the Manxman in their ranks.

Rubiano was soon caught by the peloton while Visconti plummeted down the technical descent at the head of the race. Visconti held a 25-second lead when he reached the bottom, but still faced a flat, 8km run-in to the finish. In his favour, however, was the fact that the peloton was greatly reduced in numbers by the ascent and descent of the Crosara, and there wasn't an organised pursuit driving the pace in his wake.

Inside of five kilometres to go Visconti maintained a 23-second advantage as attacks were launched and brought back within the pursuing peloton. Only three seconds were chipped away in the next three kilometres and Visconti soon found himself in another technical section of twists and turns which played to his favour.

Still lacking any cohesion in his pursuit the peloton would never close the gap to Visconti, who enjoyed his second stage victory of this Giro in the home of Campagnolo, his Movistar team's equipment supplier.

"The cheering of the crowds made the hairs stand up on the back of my neck," said Visconti. "On the final corner, with 200m to go, everything around me was like a dream - beautiful. In the final 50m, I was already thinking of the photograph in tomorrow's papers, the photo I'll put on the wall at home. What more could I ask for?"

Full Results

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#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Giovanni Visconti (Ita) Movistar Team5:15:34
2Ramunas Navardauskas (Ltu) Garmin-Sharp0:00:19
3Luka Mezgec (Slo) Team Argos-ShimanoRow 2 - Cell 2
4Filippo Pozzato (Ita) Lampre-MeridaRow 3 - Cell 2
5Danilo Hondo (Ger) RadioShack LeopardRow 4 - Cell 2
6Salvatore Puccio (Ita) Sky ProcyclingRow 5 - Cell 2
7Sacha Modolo (Ita) Bardiani Valvole-CSF InoxRow 6 - Cell 2
8Fabio Felline (Ita) Androni GiocattoliRow 7 - Cell 2
9Francisco José Ventoso Alberdi (Spa) Movistar TeamRow 8 - Cell 2
10Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC Racing TeamRow 9 - Cell 2
11Mauro Santambrogio (Ita) Vini Fantini-Selle ItaliaRow 10 - Cell 2
12Rafal Majka (Pol) Team Saxo-TinkoffRow 11 - Cell 2
13Yury Trofimov (Rus) KatushaRow 12 - Cell 2
14Francis Mourey (Fra) FDJRow 13 - Cell 2
15Manuele Boaro (Ita) Team Saxo-TinkoffRow 14 - Cell 2
16Johan Le Bon (Fra) FDJRow 15 - Cell 2
17Valerio Agnoli (Ita) Astana Pro TeamRow 16 - Cell 2
18Ivan Santaromita (Ita) BMC Racing TeamRow 17 - Cell 2
19Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana Pro TeamRow 18 - Cell 2
20Dario Cataldo (Ita) Sky ProcyclingRow 19 - Cell 2
21Rigoberto Uran Uran (Col) Sky ProcyclingRow 20 - Cell 2
22Samuel Sanchez Gonzalez (Spa) Euskaltel-EuskadiRow 21 - Cell 2
23Benat Intxausti Elorriaga (Spa) Movistar TeamRow 22 - Cell 2
24Tanel Kangert (Est) Astana Pro TeamRow 23 - Cell 2
25Robert Gesink (Ned) Blanco Pro Cycling TeamRow 24 - Cell 2
26Przemyslaw Niemiec (Pol) Lampre-MeridaRow 25 - Cell 2
27Michele Scarponi (Ita) Lampre-MeridaRow 26 - Cell 2
28Kanstantsin Siutsou (Blr) Sky ProcyclingRow 27 - Cell 2
29Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Blanco Pro Cycling TeamRow 28 - Cell 2
30Robert Kiserlovski (Cro) RadioShack LeopardRow 29 - Cell 2
31Evgeny Petrov (Rus) Team Saxo-TinkoffRow 30 - Cell 2
32Franco Pellizotti (Ita) Androni GiocattoliRow 31 - Cell 2
33Jorge Azanza Soto (Spa) Euskaltel-EuskadiRow 32 - Cell 2
34Miguel Angel Rubiano Chavez (Col) Androni GiocattoliRow 33 - Cell 2
35Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) Ag2R La MondialeRow 34 - Cell 2
36Steve Morabito (Swi) BMC Racing TeamRow 35 - Cell 2
37Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) Blanco Pro Cycling TeamRow 36 - Cell 2
38Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana Pro TeamRow 37 - Cell 2
39José Herrada Lopez (Spa) Movistar TeamRow 38 - Cell 2
40Danilo Di Luca (Ita) Vini Fantini-Selle ItaliaRow 39 - Cell 2
41Nicola Boem (Ita) Bardiani Valvole-CSF Inox0:00:50
42Marco Canola (Ita) Bardiani Valvole-CSF Inox0:01:11
43Giacomo Nizzolo (Ita) RadioShack LeopardRow 42 - Cell 2
44Adam Hansen (Aus) Lotto BelisolRow 43 - Cell 2
45Darwin Atapuma Hurtado (Col) ColombiaRow 44 - Cell 2
46Sergio Luis Henao Montoya (Col) Sky ProcyclingRow 45 - Cell 2
47Marco Marcato (Ita) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team0:01:19
48Edwin Alcibiades Avila Vanegas (Col) Colombia0:01:37
49Mark Cavendish (GBr) Omega Pharma-Quick StepRow 48 - Cell 2
50Serge Pauwels (Bel) Omega Pharma-Quick StepRow 49 - Cell 2
51Koen De Kort (Ned) Team Argos-ShimanoRow 50 - Cell 2
52Fabio Sabatini (Ita) Cannondale Pro CyclingRow 51 - Cell 2
53Gianluca Brambilla (Ita) Omega Pharma-Quick StepRow 52 - Cell 2
54Patrick Gretsch (Ger) Team Argos-ShimanoRow 53 - Cell 2
55Stef Clement (Ned) Blanco Pro Cycling TeamRow 54 - Cell 2
56Thomas Damuseau (Fra) Team Argos-ShimanoRow 55 - Cell 2
57Juan Manuel Garate (Spa) Blanco Pro Cycling TeamRow 56 - Cell 2
58Leonardo Fabio Duque (Col) ColombiaRow 57 - Cell 2
59Francis De Greef (Bel) Lotto BelisolRow 58 - Cell 2
60Pablo Lastras Garcia (Spa) Movistar TeamRow 59 - Cell 2
61Luca Paolini (Ita) KatushaRow 60 - Cell 2
62Grega Bole (Slo) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling TeamRow 61 - Cell 2
63Brett Lancaster (Aus) Orica-GreenEdgeRow 62 - Cell 2
64Paul Martens (Ger) Blanco Pro Cycling TeamRow 63 - Cell 2
65Sonny Colbrelli (Ita) Bardiani Valvole-CSF InoxRow 64 - Cell 2
66Tiziano Dall'Antonia (Ita) Cannondale Pro CyclingRow 65 - Cell 2
67Michal Golas (Pol) Omega Pharma-Quick StepRow 66 - Cell 2
68Giairo Ermeti (Ita) Androni GiocattoliRow 67 - Cell 2
69Emanuele Sella (Ita) Androni GiocattoliRow 68 - Cell 2
70Danilo Wyss (Swi) BMC Racing TeamRow 69 - Cell 2
71Oscar Gatto (Ita) Vini Fantini-Selle ItaliaRow 70 - Cell 2
72Pavel Brutt (Rus) KatushaRow 71 - Cell 2
73Lars Ytting Bak (Den) Lotto BelisolRow 72 - Cell 2
74Frederik Willems (Bel) Lotto BelisolRow 73 - Cell 2
75Egoi Martinez De Esteban (Spa) Euskaltel-EuskadiRow 74 - Cell 2
76Hubert Dupont (Fra) Ag2R La MondialeRow 75 - Cell 2
77Petr Ignatenko (Rus) KatushaRow 76 - Cell 2
78Stefano Garzelli (Ita) Vini Fantini-Selle ItaliaRow 77 - Cell 2
79Daniele Pietropolli (Ita) Lampre-MeridaRow 78 - Cell 2
80Damiano Caruso (Ita) Cannondale Pro CyclingRow 79 - Cell 2
81Paolo Tiralongo (Ita) Astana Pro TeamRow 80 - Cell 2
82Robert Vrecer (Slo) Euskaltel-EuskadiRow 81 - Cell 2
83Thomas Dekker (Ned) Garmin-SharpRow 82 - Cell 2
84Vladimir Karpets (Rus) Movistar TeamRow 83 - Cell 2
85Jackson Rodriguez (Ven) Androni GiocattoliRow 84 - Cell 2
86Xabier Zandio Echaide (Spa) Sky ProcyclingRow 85 - Cell 2
87Simone Stortoni (Ita) Lampre-Merida0:01:46
88Jose Rodolfo Serpa Perez (Col) Lampre-MeridaRow 87 - Cell 2
89Ben Gastauer (Lux) Ag2R La MondialeRow 88 - Cell 2
90Pieter Weening (Ned) Orica-GreenEdgeRow 89 - Cell 2
91Edoardo Zardini (Ita) Bardiani Valvole-CSF InoxRow 90 - Cell 2
92Jérôme Pineau (Fra) Omega Pharma-Quick Step0:01:55
93Tobias Ludvigsson (Swe) Team Argos-Shimano0:02:00
94Christian Knees (Ger) Sky ProcyclingRow 93 - Cell 2
95Yaroslav Popovych (Ukr) RadioShack Leopard0:02:09
96Giampaolo Caruso (Ita) Katusha0:02:38
97Paolo Longo Borghini (Ita) Cannondale Pro Cycling0:03:12
98Elia Viviani (Ita) Cannondale Pro CyclingRow 97 - Cell 2
99Rafael Valls Ferri (Spa) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling TeamRow 98 - Cell 2
100Alan Marangoni (Ita) Cannondale Pro CyclingRow 99 - Cell 2
101Gert Dockx (Bel) Lotto BelisolRow 100 - Cell 2
102Matteo Trentin (Ita) Omega Pharma-Quick StepRow 101 - Cell 2
103Julien Vermote (Bel) Omega Pharma-Quick StepRow 102 - Cell 2
104Diego Rosa (Ita) Androni GiocattoliRow 103 - Cell 2
105George Bennett (NZl) RadioShack LeopardRow 104 - Cell 2
106Vladimir Gusev (Rus) KatushaRow 105 - Cell 2
107Carlos Alberto Betancur Gomez (Col) Ag2R La Mondiale0:00:19
108Alessandro Proni (Ita) Vini Fantini-Selle Italia0:05:22
109Rob Ruijgh (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team0:05:53
110Davide Appollonio (Ita) Ag2R La Mondiale0:06:26
111Peter Stetina (USA) Garmin-SharpRow 110 - Cell 2
112Martijn Keizer (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling TeamRow 111 - Cell 2
113Manuel Belletti (Ita) Ag2R La Mondiale0:07:28
114Laurent Pichon (Fra) FDJ0:08:09
115Murilo Antonio Fischer (Bra) FDJRow 114 - Cell 2
116Dirk Bellemakers (Ned) Lotto BelisolRow 115 - Cell 2
117Andrey Zeits (Kaz) Astana Pro TeamRow 116 - Cell 2
118Vicente Reynes Mimo (Spa) Lotto BelisolRow 117 - Cell 2
119Kenny Dehaes (Bel) Lotto BelisolRow 118 - Cell 2
120Frederik Veuchelen (Bel) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling TeamRow 119 - Cell 2
121Francesco Manuel Bongiorno (Ita) Bardiani Valvole-CSF InoxRow 120 - Cell 2
122Matteo Rabottini (Ita) Vini Fantini-Selle ItaliaRow 121 - Cell 2
123Brian Bulgac (Ned) Lotto BelisolRow 122 - Cell 2
124Svein Tuft (Can) Orica-GreenEdgeRow 123 - Cell 2
125Luke Durbridge (Aus) Orica-GreenEdgeRow 124 - Cell 2
126Christian Meier (Can) Orica-GreenEdgeRow 125 - Cell 2
127Juan Jose Cobo Acebo (Spa) Movistar TeamRow 126 - Cell 2
128Bruno Pires (Por) Team Saxo-TinkoffRow 127 - Cell 2
129Tiago Machado (Por) RadioShack LeopardRow 128 - Cell 2
130Gorka Verdugo Marcotegui (Spa) Euskaltel-EuskadiRow 129 - Cell 2
131Jarlinson Pantano (Col) ColombiaRow 130 - Cell 2
132Christian Vande Velde (USA) Garmin-Sharp0:09:33
133Robert Hunter (RSA) Garmin-SharpRow 132 - Cell 2
134Maarten Tjallingii (Ned) Blanco Pro Cycling TeamRow 133 - Cell 2
135Rafael Andriato (Bra) Vini Fantini-Selle ItaliaRow 134 - Cell 2
136Alex Dowsett (GBr) Movistar TeamRow 135 - Cell 2
137Jesse Sergent (NZl) RadioShack LeopardRow 136 - Cell 2
138Daniel Oss (Ita) BMC Racing TeamRow 137 - Cell 2
139Willem Wauters (Bel) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling TeamRow 138 - Cell 2
140Jens Keukeleire (Bel) Orica-GreenEdgeRow 139 - Cell 2
141Nelson Filipe Santos Simoes Oliveira (Por) RadioShack LeopardRow 140 - Cell 2
142Ricardo Mestre (Por) Euskaltel-EuskadiRow 141 - Cell 2
143Cristiano Salerno (Ita) Cannondale Pro CyclingRow 142 - Cell 2
144Ioannis Tamouridis (Gre) Euskaltel-EuskadiRow 143 - Cell 2
145