Pirazzi wins from breakaway on Giro d'Italia stage to Vittorio Veneto

The ever attacking Stefano Pirazzi (Bardiani-CSF) finally secured the win his aggressive style had promised, emerging victorious from the breakaway on stage 17 of the Giro d’Italia. The Italian attacked from the remnants of a huge group that went clear earlier in the stage and hung on to finish ahead of Tim Wellens (Lotto-Belisol) and Jay McCarthy (Tinkoff-Saxo) to secure Bardiani’s third stage win of the race so far.

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

His attack in the final kilometer went unanswered, as Omega Pharma-Quickstep's Thomas De Gendt and Matteo Montaguti (AG2R-La Mondiale) put in some effort to chase to no avail. Pirazzi was well clear of the tight sprint between Wellens and McCarthy, with the larger remnants of the breakaway 28 seconds further behind.

On a day when the Giro d'Italia would have welcomed anything in the way of distraction after yesterday’s chaotic scenes on the Stelvio, Pirazzi delivered, taking centre stage as GC riders and their team managers drew battle lines in the sand over the neutralized debacle that had rumbled on from yesterday.

The success of the Italian team, now with a hat-trick of stage wins, will provide some balm for the controversy-fatigued public.
"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," Pirazzi said.

The debate and friction had boiled over with team managers from Tinkoff, Omega Pharma and Astana pressuring RCS Sport into action. The meetings between the parties in Sarnonico threatened to disrupt the stage start but the show went on, albeit with the peloton riding at a tranquil pace to begin with.

Eventually a break did go clear with over 20 riders slipping clear. This, with three stages in the mountains to come and a likely sprint on the final stage, would be a final opportunity for a number of teams to make amends for poor returns in this year’s race. And there were plenty will to play their hand with a stage profile that screamed breakaway.

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 (Lampre-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), all made the move, with Garmin, Colombia, Orica GreenEdge and Neri Sottoli the only teams to miss out.

Behind them the rest of the peloton eased up, more concerned with wagging tongues and resting legs than racing, with the break establishing a lead of in excess of 12 minutes.

The time gap eventually peaked with around 60 kilometres to go before Movistar gently increased the pace but a winner was destined to come from the break as the race rolled towards Vittorio Veneto.

Tim Wellens, who has ridden well for Lotto during the race, was particularly frisky, picking up the intermediate sprint points and then going clear to claim available mountains points, too. The Belgian was briefly matched by Malacarne but it was De Gendt who laid down the most significant attack.

The former podium rider in this race has been on domestique duties for most of the race, but he was let off the leash and was clearly enjoying the freedom as Pauwels covered a number of counter attacks from behind.

At the foot of the final fourth category climb of the day De Gendt held a lead over a hesitant and stuttering chase but by the summit Pirazzi had moved to within touching distance.

Wellens, McCarthy and Montaguti soon made contact and the five riders established a lead of around 30 seconds by the time they sped through the final kilometres. Behind them the rest of the break split and reformed but any cohesion was lost, especially with two from the second group crashing on the rain-slick roads.

With just over a kilometre to go Pirazzi struck for home. Like so many times before he dangled off the front of the peloton, a carrot for them to chase but this time, for the first time in his Giro d’Italia, he hung on for the win.

Full Results

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#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Stefano Pirazzi (Ita) Bardiani-CSF4:38:11
2Tim Wellens (Bel) Lotto BelisolRow 1 - Cell 2
3Jay Mccarthy (Aus) Tinkoff-SaxoRow 2 - Cell 2
4Thomas De Gendt (Bel) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling TeamRow 3 - Cell 2
5Matteo Montaguti (Ita) AG2R La MondialeRow 4 - Cell 2