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Giro d'Italia 2014: Stage 17

Welcome to live coverage of stage 17 of the Giro d"Italia

We are currently 20 minutes away from the start of stage 17. However, the after effects of yesterday's stage are still taking hold.

Astana manager Giuseppe Martinelli hinted that there could be a protest from his team, and a few others from the peloton. This could change after the DS's meeting earlier, but all will become clear when the stage start is given.

Omega Pharma-QuickStep manager Patrick Lefevere was understandably annoyed by yesterday's confusion. Cyclingnews spoke to him this morning, his anger clearly not dissipating, and he asked for RCS boss Mauro Vegni to retire. You can read the full article here.

Discussions with the UCI have ended, with less than 10 minutes to go until today's start. No comments have been made, but we will bring you anything as soon as we have it.

A decision has been made and all teams will take the start today, which is a relief. We can expect an official statement from the teams later today.

According to our reporter Stephen Farrand, teams are looking to get time taken from Nairo Quintana, but the conundrum is how they can and if they can do it. The discussion about this will last for some time.

208km remaining from 208km

And we're off. The remaining 160 all leave the start.

There were a few DNFs after yesterday's stage, although it's a surprise that there weren't more considering the conditions. The riders who failed to finish yesterday are Daniele Colli & Mauro Finetto (both Neri Sottoli), Arnaud Courteille (FDJ), Thomas Dekker (Garmin-Sharp), Alessandro Petacchi (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) and Michele Scarponi (Astana)

We'll briefly look forward to today's stage and here is what the riders can expect today. There are three fourth cat climbs, but sprinters such as Ben Swift could do well today.

 

As we wait for the first break to happen, we'll return to the confusion of yesterday's stage. Race radio did issue a message to the DSs, stating that there would be red flags on the descent, but the organisers later denied that they neutralised it. You can read a full translation of the radio message here.

After battling through the snow and freezing conditions yesterday, the peloton have got clear skies and sunshine for today's stage. Perhaps the good weather will go some way to abating the ill-feeling from yesterday.

It wasn't just the riders who were forced to tough it out in the brutal conditions yesterday. Camera bikes and photographers were out there two. Have a look at our two stunning galleries from yeaterday's stage. Here and here.

For now though, and possibly all the way into Trieste, Nairo Quintana is in the maglia rosa. Here is the man himself in his new pink kit.

 

Right before today's stage the team managers were in deep discussion about yesterday's happenings. They decided to race, but they are still looking to remove time from Nairo Quintana. Here is a picture of the meeting. Tinkoff-Saxo boss Oleg TInkov was also present at one stage, in the team kit and with his bike. We can confirm he didn't take the start.

 

188km remaining from 208km

The riders have complete 20km of today's stage and the peloton is still all together.

Don't forget that you can watch all of our Giro d'Italia videos here and subscribe so you don't miss a single one.

Yesterday's stage had a huge impact on the general classification. Here are how things look today.

 

1 Nairo Alexander Quintana Rojas (Col) Movistar Team 68:11:44
2 Rigoberto Uran Uran (Col) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team 0:01:41
3 Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC Racing Team 0:03:21
4 Pierre Rolland (Fra) Team Europcar 0:03:26
5 Rafal Majka (Pol) Tinkoff-Saxo 0:03:28
6 Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana Pro Team 0:03:34
7 Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) AG2R La Mondiale 0:03:49
8 Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling Team 0:04:06
9 Ryder Hesjedal (Can) Garmin Sharp 0:04:16
10 Robert Kiserlovski (Cro) Trek Factory Racing 0:08:02

181km remaining from 208km

Despite the initial talks of a protest, which were abandoned after the team talks this morning, the peloton isn't hanging about today. After 27 kilometres the bunch have been riding at a whopping average of 53 kph. They did start descending almost immediately, but at this speed a break will struggle to get away.

The peloton have hit a flat section, so we should see the pace come down a little bit and the attacks begin to fly off the bunch. With so many tired legs today, it could be another opportunity for the break to succeed.

Nairo Quintana is obviously at the centre of the storm today. However, he wasn't the only one to make it away on the Stelvio descent. Pierre Rolland and his teammate Romain Sicard were the first to go. Rolland moved himself within four seconds of a podium spot and with the way he has been riding, it's a possibility come Sunday. The Frenchman said he wasn't aware that there was a neutralisation.

Alessandro Petacchi was one of the non-finishers in yesterday's stage. Cyclingnews spoke to his boss Patrick Lefevere, who said that the Italian collided with a car on the descent of the Stelvio.

170km remaining from 208km

Still all together in the peloton after 38 kilometres of racing.

Michele Scarponi was another of the riders who failed to finish yesterday's stage to Val Martello. He's been suffering with injury for most of the race. He first discussed the topic of abandoning before the stage 12 time trial, but yesterday was obviously the straw that broke the camel's back.

Vittorio Venetto is where the riders will finish today. The peloton have finished on 8 occasions, with the last coming in 1988. It was a split stage that would finish the three-week race. Urs Freuler would win the morning's open stage, while Lech Piasecki took victory in the afternoon time trial.

The riders have been racing for an hour now and there doesn't seem like there's any inclination to slow down. The average speed has only dropped 1 kph on the flat to 52 kph. This is no transition day for the riders.

The supposed neutralisation or non-neutralisation, however you wish to view it, wasn't the only contentious issue yesterday. Many questioned whether the stage should be run at all, with rain and snow making the roads and descents incredibly tricky. Giant-Shimano rider Tom Stamsnijder saw his teammate Tobias Ludvigsson crash out during the rain affected time trial. He was very vocal about the situation yesterday.

 

"There must have been only reason, the tv ratings, for I just can't believe we rode this stage today, it was completely ridiculous! I just can't believe they let us start in these conditions! This is just endangering riders lives!"

Stamsnijder will have to put that behind him today though, as he has a teammate who is in contention for victory today. If things continue as they are there is no doubt that we will have a bunch sprint. Luka Mezgec has been strong so far, but is still without a stage win to his name. Could it be his day today?

Ben Swift is one of the riders who could possibly win today. He showed us his bike earlier in the race and you can watch the video and subscribe here

Perhaps this is some sort of anti-protest, ride so fast that there is no chance of a break. The riders are nearing the 70-kilometre mark and still nobody has been able to break free.

De Gendt and Van Emden have gone on the attack, but can they make it stick?

Information about yesterday's confusion continues trickle out. Cyclingnews spoke to Tinkoff-Saxo owner Oleg Tinkov at the start, wh. thinks that Quintana's time should be taken away. You can read the full article here.

The two escapees have been joined by Daniel Oss. The trio have a small margin of 8 seconds over the peloton.

The UCI have just issued a statement on twitter regarding yesterday's stage. Here is what they had to say.

 

"Re #Giro, concerned about security, organisers took initiative to place motos in front of each group on #Stelvio descent... This should have been approved by commissaires + coordinated and communicated to the teams more efficiently... but security is of course the primary concern for all race organisers and for the UCI."

Some fun is being poked at the whole situation. Katusha press officer Philippe Maertens posted this on twitter.

 

"Oh oh. Met this guy at km 117. Can we expect something later today?"

 

It looks like there has been a split in the peloton and around 20 riders have gone off the front. De Gendt, Van Emden and Oss still lead.

121km remaining from 208km

The two groups have merged, and a few more have come out of the peloton. The leading group is now 25 and they have a 4:07. We will bring you the names when we can.

Here are the names of the riders who have made it into the break. Enrico Gasparotto (Astana), Matteo Montaguti (AG2R La Mondiale), Stefano Pirazzi (Bardiani), Nicola Boem (Bardiani), Marco Canola (Bardiani), Jos Van Emden (Belkin), Daniel Oss (BMC), Oscar Gatto (Cannondale), Johan Le Bon (FDJ), Jussi Viekkanen (FDJ), Daniano Cunego Lampre-Merida), Mattio Bono (Lmapre-Merida), Lars Bak (Lotto-Belisol), Tim Wellens (Lotto-Belisol), Igor Anton (Movistar), Thomas De Gendt (Omega Pharma-QuickStep), Serge Pauwels (Omega Pharma-QuickStep), Davide Malacarne (Europcar), Simon Geschke (Giant-Shimano), Alberto Losada (Katusha), Eduard Vorganov (Katusha), Philip Deignan (Sky), Evgeni Petrov (Tinkoff-Saxo), Jay McCarthy (Tinkoff-Saxo) & Fabio Felline (Trek Factory Racing)

Four teams have missed the break today. Garmin-Sharp, Colombia, Orica-GreenEdge and Neri Sottoli.

118km remaining from 208km

After 90 kilometres, the 25 leaders have a gap of 5:45 on the peloton.

Androni Giocattoli missed out on the initial escape, but Marco Frapporti is attempting to bridge the gap at the moment. He is 1:32 back on the leaders.

Bardiani are the best represented in this escape group, with three riders. Marco Canola took stage honours on stage 13, when the break unexpectedly made it to the finish. His teammate Enrico Battaglin won the following day.

Unusual to see Neri Sottoli missing out on the break. They've been in almost everyone going this Giro. However, with Colli and Finetto abandoning yesterday, they are down to 4 riders.

Jay McCarthy is one of the rider who managed to make it into the break today. We spoke to him and Michael Hepburn (Orica-GreenEdge) earlier this week about another aspect of racing, riding in the grupetto. You can watch the video here and subscribe too.

100km remaining from 208km

The gap continues to go out. It is now at 6:35. With the size of the group out front, there is every chance today's winner is in that group of 25.

No less than 11 Italian riders have made it into the break today, could we see a sixth home victory at this Giro d'italia. Canola is the only stage winner from this year's race, but Gasparotto, Gatto and Cunego have all won stages in the past.

93km remaining from 208km

Frapporti has joined up with the leading group, which now has a gap of 6:35 on the peloton.

90km remaining from 208km

This leading group continues to extend their advantage and the peloton seem happy to let them go. The gap has ballooned to well over 8 minutes.

The best placed rider in today's break is Damiano Cunego who is over 48 minutes behind Quintana, so he's no threat to the maglia rosa.

Movistar manage the front of the peloton. With 83 kilometres to go, the gap continues to rise and has reached almost 10 minutes.

We have a whole host of Giro d'Italia videos from the last couple of weeks. There will be plenty more before the race finishes on Sunday, you can watch them all here and don't forget to subscribe.

Adam Hansen is back with the cars, trying to make his way back to the peloton. He's been down on the deck today and has been attended to by the race medics.

Ryder Hesjedal finished second yesterday and moved himself into the top 10, after making it into the controversial break. The 2012 Giro d'Italia champion says he did nothing wrong yesterday. Read the full story here.

The riders have been over one of the classified climbs today, but there are still two more to come. The final one, the Muro di Poggio, comes with 20km to go. We are likely to see a big selection made there in terms of riders contending for the victory.

65km remaining from 208km

There is also an intermediate sprint in around 9 kilometres. However, none of the members of the break are a threat to Nacer Bouhanni's red jersey. The gap to the escapees is now 10:55

Outside of the Giro d'Italia, there is some good news for the Omega Pharma-QuickStep team. Tom Boonen has just won the opening stage of his home race, the Tour of Belgium.

61km remaining from 208km

Enrico Gasparotto is chasing back onto the escape group. He suffered a mechanical and took a new bike from the team car.

59km remaining from 208km

The Movistar controlled peloton are looking pretty relaxed at the moment. Rigoberto Uran is deep in discussion with Cannondale rider Moreno Moser. They'll be saving themselves for the tougher stages still to come, as the gap goes out to 12:26.

Pierre Rolland was one of the riders who reportedly triggered yesterday's escape. The Frenchman says that he didn't see the red flag on the descent of the Stelvio. You can read the full article here.

56km remaining from 208km

Tim Wellens attacks and takes the full points at the intermediate sprint. Not going to do much for him in the points competition, but it's a nice €500 in his pocket.

Another bike problem for Enrico Gasparotto. He calmly leans his bike against the front of his team car and takes yet another one, probably his original bike but with whatever problem it was now fixed.

The entire Movistar team is on the front, minus Anton who is in the break,  and they don't look like they're trying too hard. Movistar are one of only three teams to still have a full compliment of riders at this stage. Lampre-Merida and Trek Factory racing also have all nine riders.

The team with the least number of riders remaining is Orica-GreenEdge. They've only got three riders remaining, Michael Hepburn, Svein Tuft and Italian champion Ivan Santaromita. We spoke to Hepburn who said it is getting a little lonely with only two teammates for company. You can watch the video here and subscribe to our YouTube channel.

Diego Ulissi, who has won two stages of the Giro d'Italia, spots some friends or fans on the side of the road. He splits off from the peloton to give them a Mexican wave type greeting.

Reports coming through that it is raining at the finish line. That's not what the riders want to here. It seems like this might be the rainiest Giro in a long time.

46km remaining from 208km

Wellens attacks out of the break. He's looking for the KOM points.

45km remaining from 208km

Malacarne catches up with Wellens and the two begin to gap the other escapees. The gap back to the peloton is now 11:10

There is quite a tight turn after the KOM marker and it causes a bit of a blockage as the team cars fail to make it in one go. Hopefully we won't have those problems when the peloton make it to the top of the climb in around 10 minutes time.

Belgian TV are reporting that all the teams have put forward a suggestion to the UCI to take away the time gained on the Stelvio descent. That would be around 2 minutes and would hand Rigoberto Uran the pink jersey back, albeit by a small margin.

37km remaining from 208km

The peloton finally go over the penultimate climb of the day, and are 10: 45 behind the escapees. As they ride up the climb, the road narrows and a lot of riders have to completely stop as the riders go under the KOM marker.

Up front it is all together as the make their way to the final climb of the day, which comes up in around 25 kilometres.

Another race won by a home rider. Heinrich Haussler takes victory at the Bayern Rundfahrt, ahead of Hutarovich and Von Hoff. Is this a good sign for the Italians today?

Before you write in, we are aware that Haussler now rides under an Australian licence these days.

29km remaining from 208km

De Gendt takes a flyer off the front of the escape group. He won a stage in the 2012 Giro and finished on the podium. No chance of the podium this time, but he wants that victory.

De Gendt's attack has sparked a rise in the pace in the breakaway. Pirazzi now has a go.

25km remaining from 208km

The roads to the finish look fairly wet and a few riders come down. They are Le Bon, Frapporti and Vorganov.

Vorganov takes a while to get going again, but he gives the thumbs up to his team carries on. A replay shows the trio going down separately.

De Gendt continues to pus on alone. He looks comfortable on this descent and he's now got a 22 second gap on the chasing group.

A brief diversion from the action. The cyclists union the AIGCP has released a statement on yesterday's stage. Here is some of what they said.

 

"When asked by the AIGCP, the UCI commissaires have specifically denied to have heard the instructions 'not to attack in the descent' broadcasted on Radio Tour…

"In order to have fair cycling, teams need a regulator that applies the rules in a transparent, consistent and fair way. The complete absence of the ability to regulate the race to correct the mistakes, lead to a significant influence on the results in the race yesterday and until the end of the Giro. That should never happen.

"The AIGCP is open to discuss with all stakeholders in order to raise the level of regulation during bike races."

20km remaining from 208km

Back to racing and De Gendt is powering up the final climb. He has extended his advantage, and is being cheered on by huge crowds. Pirazzi is chasing hard.

Pirazzi catches De Gendt at the KOM

The pair drive on together, as the group of escapees begins to break up and Geschke comes off.

16km remaining from 208km

Gatto suffers a mechanical problem on the descent. He has to climb off and try to fix it.

De Gendt distances Pirazzi a tough on this descent. He's probably got the power advantage on the flat.

The gap for the leaders is now 18 seconds to the chasers and 11:57 to the peloton. Montaguti, McCarthy and Wellens have joined them to make it a five-man group up front.

12km remaining from 208km

The rain is coming down fairly hard and the peloton have knocked the pace off a bit. The gap goes out to 12:25.

Deignan attacks from the chasing group, followed by Pauwels. There is only 20 seconds to the leaders.

10km remaining from 208km

This group of five is working well together, but Deignan's attack has brought their advantage down to 15 seconds.

7km remaining from 208km

Felline now tries to bridge the gap, which has now gone up to 23 seconds.

There is now cohesion in this chasing group at all, there are a lot of attacks coming from them. Nicola Boem goes off in chase of Felline.

4km remaining from 208km

The peloton are now just rolling to the finish. No need to risk it on these wet roads, with the action happening up front. Felline and Boem have been caught but Van Emden and Canola.

Bardiani trying to give themselves the best chance of converting today's break into victory. They got three riders into the 26-man group.

3km remaining from 208km

It looks like this leading group of five are going to make it to the finish. Their lead is now 25 seconds.

None of these riders are sprinters by any stretch of the imagination. It will be interesting to see how this finish plays out.

1km remaining from 208km

Montaguti seems to be doing most of the work in the closing kilometres. He keeps looking back, but few helping him out.

207km remaining from 208km

Pirazzi attacks

The four riders behind keep looking at each other.

De Gendt leads the chase behind Pirazzi

Pirazzi still leads

Pirazzi wins

That is the third victory for Bardiani this season and Pirazzi's first, after winning the mountain's jersey last season.

Thomas de Gendt takes the sprint for second place, but they took too long to respond to Pirazzi's attack.

Apologies, it was Wellens who took second and McCarthy finishing in third.

Pirazzi is in tears as he hugs a member of his team. He's been on the attack so many times in the Giro over the last few years and finally it has worked out for the 27-year-old.

The peloton is still a little while out from the finish, but we already have our top 10 for the stage. Here it is:

 

 

1    Stefano Pirazzi (Ita) Bardiani-CSF
2    Tim Wellens (Bel) Lotto Belisol
3    Jay Mccarthy (Aus) Tinkoff-Saxo
4    Thomas De Gendt (Bel) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team
5    Matteo Montaguti (Ita) AG2R La Mondiale
6    Jussi Veikkanen (Fin) FDJ.fr
7    Simon Geschke (Ger) Team Giant-Shimano
8    Fabio Felline (Ita) Trek Factory Racing
9    Marco Canola (Ita) Bardiani-CSF  
10    Serge Pauwels (Bel) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team

 

Three teams have now won three stages of this year's Giro d'Italia. Bardiani, Orica-GreenEdge and FDJ. A lot of teams going to miss out.

Pirazzi has calmed down a little by the time he did his post-race interview. Here is what he said at the finish:

"I knew that between the first five it would be difficult to arrive together and I knew that I had no chance against them.

 

"Of course we're all young guys at Bardiani and we've done well so far. We're all good riders and I think that we can be proud of ourselves."

The peloton are still making their way into the finish, but they're almost there.

Plenty of fans waiting for the podium presentation and to see one of their riders take to the podium. They will have to wait for Quintana and Bouhanni to make it in though. A chance for Pirazzi to reflect on what he's managed to do today.

Pirazzi may find that he has to hand over some of his prize money to the UCI, however. The Italian made a rude gesture as he crossed the line. We will have to wait and see who it was directed towards.

Make sure you check out our YouTube page for some post race videos. You can subscribe here.

Omega Pharma-QuickStep lead the peloton over the line 15:36 behind the race winner Pirazzi.

There is no changes in the top 10 after that stage, everybody finished safely inside the peloton. Here is how that looks

 

1    Nairo Alexander Quintana Rojas (Col) Movistar Team    73:05:31
2    Rigoberto Uran Uran (Col) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team    0:01:41
3    Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC Racing Team    0:03:21
4    Pierre Rolland (Fra) Team Europcar    0:03:26
5    Rafal Majka (Pol) Tinkoff-Saxo    0:03:28
6    Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana Pro Team    0:03:34
7    Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) AG2R La Mondiale    0:03:49
8    Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling Team    0:04:06
9    Ryder Hesjedal (Can) Garmin Sharp    0:04:16
10    Robert Kiserlovski (Cro) Trek Factory Racing    0:08:02

After that rolling stage, we return to the mountains tomorrow with stage 18 from Belluno to Panarotta, which takes in two first category climbs. We should see some changes in the GC then.

You can find the full report, results and gallery from today's stage here.

That is all from us today. Come back tomorrow for live coverage from stage 18 of the Giro d'Italia.

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