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Giro d'Italia 2016: Stage 17


Hello and welcome to Cyclingnews' live coverage of stage 17 of the 2016 Giro d'Italia, a relatively flat 196km journey from Molveno to Cassano d'Adda.


Giro d'Italia race hub on Cyclingnews

Stage 16: Valverde wins intense stage to Andalo

Stage 16 highlights video

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Hello, good morning, and a warm welcome to Cyclingnews' live coverage of the 2016 Giro d'Italia. It's stage 17 and we're heading away from the mountains (don't worry they'll be back) on the road from Molveno to Cassano d'Adda. 

The team buses have pulled up in Molveno and the riders are going through their pre-race routines, which will include a team meeting to discuss tactics for the day.


After signing on, they'll roll out at 12.30 local time and after a short neutral section, racing will begin. 





So, it's flat for almost the entirety of the second half of the parcours and thus has bunch sprint written all over it. However, with Marcel Kittel, Andre Greipel, Caleb Ewan, Elia Viviani and other sprinters already out of the race, the teams interested today will have a tough task controlling proceedings. 


Trek-Segafredo will surely be hungry today - this is probably Giacomo Nizzolo's best chance to finally win a Giro stage. Lampre-Merida and Sacha Modolo are also sure to be in the mix. 


And here is Modolo on the podium for sign-on with lovely conditions in Molveno. 



Yesterday was good, wasn't it?


The short mountain stage made for fast and furious racing, with too many attacks to keep track of. Valverde shone, Kruijswijk held firm, Chaves battled, Nibali flopped, and many other storylines. You can re-live it with our stage report, which includes a photo gallery, full results, and video highlights. 


Giro d'Italia: Valverde wins intense stage to Andalo


So, who's going to win today?


Let me know you thoughts and predictions via Twitter @paddyfletch


The maglia rosa Steven Kruijswijk rides to the start line.


And they're off! The start has been given and the riders roll out for the neutral section. 


Perhaps the biggest story from yesterday - certainly in Italy - was Vincenzo Nibali being dropped by pretty much every other rider on the top 10. There is intense scrutiny on the ailing 2013 champion, with people like Roberto Bettini not holding back in his critical assessment of his performance. You can read more on this story here:


Giro d’Italia: Nibali’s collapse sparks a thousand questions


The flag drops and racing gets underway. It's no surprise to see some early attacks as Daniel Oss (BMC), Eugert Zhupa (Wilier Triestina-Southeast), and Pavel Brutt (Tinkoff) - all of whom tried to go clear at the start of yesterday's stage - try their luck.


Breakaway hopefuls have hard time of it so far in this Giro, but today it looks like this early move will stick. The trio have a minute and there's no panicked reaction in the peloton. 


@cyclingnewsfeed @paddyfletch No Kittel, Démare, Howard, Greipel, Ewan, Mezgec, Hofland, Viviani, Mareczko(enough?), Nizzolo will make it.

@reflector320 Wed, 25th May 2016 10:46:59

#Giro There's no doubt about it. @Daniel87Oss loves a breakaway! He's one of three riders who have a one minute lead

@BMCProTeam Wed, 25th May 2016 10:52:19

Well, that was easy. We have our break of the day it seems. The leading trio have over two minutes on the bunch now, and counting. They're in for the long haul.


Daniel Oss (BMC)

Eugert Zhupa (Wilier Triestina-Southeast)

Pavel Brutt (Tinkoff)


Again, a beautiful start to today's stage.


Trek and Lampre, as expected, are the two teams at the head of the peloton. They'll be mightily relieved at hassle-free start to proceedings, and pretty content that only three riders are up the road, making things that bit more manageable. 


4 minutes 15 seconds is the latest time gap. 

A reminder how the GC looks after 16 stages, not that it will change much today. 


1 Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) Team LottoNl-Jumbo 63:40:10
2 Esteban Chaves (Col) Orica-GreenEdge 0:03:00
3 Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar Team 0:03:23
4 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana Pro Team 0:04:43
5 Ilnur Zakarin (Rus) Team Katusha 0:04:50
6 Rafal Majka (Pol) Tinkoff Team 0:05:34
7 Bob Jungels (Lux) Etixx - Quick-Step 0:07:57
8 Andrey Amador (CRc) Movistar Team 0:08:53
9 Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) AG2R La Mondiale 0:10:05
10 Kanstantsin Siutsou (Blr) Dimension Data 0:11:03


Here's the first shot of our breakaway trio



And we should probably tell you a bit about those three riders. Let's start with Daniel Oss. The 29-year-old Italian rides for BMC and has been a key part of the American squad's team time trial success in recent years. They've won the last two world championships and also tasted victory last year at the Critérium du Dauphiné and Tour de France. This term there aren't as many TTT's on the calendar, but they took the honours at Tirreno-Adriatico a couple of months ago. 


Oss is a strong rouleur with a big frame, and as such is an ideal breakaway companion. Indeed, we make this his third proper breakaway of this Giro. 


158km remaining from 196km

Coming up to 40km covered, and the gap currently stands at 5:30


“Why do you want to wound my pride even more? I’m already in pieces”


The burden of pressure on the shoulders of Vincenzo Nibali - principally from the Italian media - is suffocating. The Astana rider is at a loss to explain is current malaise but despite the "humiliation" - as he put it - he has vowed to keep plugging away all the way to Turin. Full story here:


Nibali vows to fight on in Giro d’Italia


It's a stable gap, a manageable breakaway, and the onus is on Trek and Lampre to pull the peloton, so this should be a fairly relaxed afternoon for race leader Steven Kruijswijk. 



The riders covered 44km in the first hour of racing.


@paddyfletch Haussler with some departing @IAM_Cycling motivation for the win?

@brentkattau Wed, 25th May 2016 11:51:55

About that tweet below, Heinrich Haussler is looking for a contract for 2017 after IAM Cycling announced they are to fold at the end of the season. Added motivation to make an impression, certainly. 

Trek and Lampre still working to keep the breakaway's advantage stable at around the 6-minute mark. 


On this day two years ago


Vincenzo Nibali wins the penultimate stage in the mountains to cap a dominant performance at the Giro. How times change...



On this day three years ago


Vincenzo Nibali wins the penultimate stage in the mountains to cap a dominant performance at the Giro. How times change...



126km remaining from 196km

The gap comes down ever so slightly to around 5:30 as the break pass the 70km mark. Soon there'll be a feed zone followed by a short, gentle fourth-category climb. Then comes a welcome bit of downhill and 60-odd flat kilometres to Cassano d'Adda.

Time to shine our spotlight on our next escapee. For Pavel Brutt, the breakaway is a way of life. The 34-year-old Russian has basically built his career on getting himself in these kind of moves. This is his 13th Grand Tour so lots of you will be familiar with his antics, not least as he spent most of the long stage 5 out front two weeks ago.


Occasionally, it pays off. Brutt has seven pro wins to his name and they’ve all come after he got himself into the break. The biggest by far came at the Giro back in 2008, when on stage 5 the five-man escape managed to hold off the chasing pack, and Brutt struck out for glory. You can read about that day, including a great bit of bluffing from the Russian, in our stage report (back when CN looked a little different).


Fun fact: Brutt likes reading Tolstoy.


The gap is falling out there at the moment. It's down below 4:30 as we speak.


Lampre-Merida are one of the teams pulling on the front of the peloton and we have an exclusive story on them this morning. 


Diego Ulissi, Rui Costa and many others are out of contract at the end of this year, and the team is looking to revamp its squad, starting with acquiring a GC rider - they're interested in Contador. Their activity in the transfer market, however, could be shaped by the possibility of joining forces with the upcoming Bahrain project. You can read the story at this link.


Another lovely shot from the race



As we approach the 100km to go mark, the pace is quite high in the bunch as it strings out into one line on the approach to the only climb of the day.


The bunch are climbing now and the gap stands at 3:45. 


It's all Trek and Lampre at the front of the bunch still, save for one representative from Dimension Data, whose candidate for the win today would be Kristian Sbaragli, who won a stage of the Vuelta last year. 


98km remaining from 196km

The group has just been through the feed zone so the gap will edge out a little bit as the riders take a look at what's in today's musette.

Songezo Jim leading the bunch up the climb for Dimension Data. Jim is riding only his second Grand Tour. The South African only learned to ride a bike when he was 14 years old. 


Huge crowds at the top of the climb but the break stays calm. Daniel Oss leads them over the top with no challenge. None of the riders are a threat for the mountains classification. 


Alexander Porsev pulls over to the side of the road to great some fans. The peloton isn't going too fast so he's got plenty of time to stop and regain contact with the group. 


Today the riders will pass through the town of Treviglio just 8km from the finish. Treviglio is an important town for the maglia rosa Steven Kruijswijk as it is where the Bianchi factory is. Kruijswijk hasn't been riding the pink version but his bike got a bit of a make over earlier in the week


85km remaining from 196km

The three leaders have a 4:23 gap on the peloton as they pass through Nave. 


That is the only climb and descent dispatched for today and it will be a flat run to the line from here to the line. There are two intermediate sprints to come and we can expect some competition for the points back in the peloton. 


This is how it stands at the top of the points classification at the start of today. 


1 Giacomo Nizzolo (Ita) Trek-Segafredo 138 pts
2 Diego Ulissi (Ita) Lampre - Merida 130
3 Matteo Trentin (Ita) Etixx - Quick-Step 86
4 Sacha Modolo (Ita) Lampre - Merida 84
5 Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar Team 83
6 Maarten Tjallingii (Ned) Team LottoNl-Jumbo 83
7 Daniel Oss (Ita) BMC Racing Team 83
8 Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) Team LottoNl-Jumbo 76
9 Bob Jungels (Lux) Etixx - Quick-Step 61
10 Andrey Amador (CRc) Movistar Team 57


In the break, Daniel Oss is likely to be interested in the points at the intermediate sprint. He's not too far down that classification. 


Oss sprints for the line in the intermediate sprint and his break companions leave him to it. Zhupa crosses the line in second with Brutt in third. 


Lampre Merida and Trek-Segafredo form competing trains. Nizzolo takes the sprint from the bunch with Trentin in second and Ulissi third. That wasn't a full-on sprint though. There's still another intermediate sprint and then the finish to come. 


70km remaining from 196km

The gap has drifted back down to the 3:45 mark for the escapees. 


Lampre-Merida and Trek-Segafredo continue to manage things on the front of the peloton. All this work from them means that LottoNL-Jumbo are getting a bit of a rest. Nippo-Vini Fantini are also lending a hand for their sprinter Grosu. 


63km remaining from 196km

The pace is gradually increasing and the gap has fallen 3:13. 


60km remaining from 196km

The pace stays high in the bunch, which strings out into one long line as the riders negotiate some turns through Capriano del Colle. 2:35 is the gap now. 

Time to shine a light on the final of our breakaway members. Last but not least, it’s Eugert Zhupa. Like Oss and Brutt, this isn’t the first time we’ve seen him in a break at this Giro.


The 26-year-old was born in Albania but his family moved to Italy when he was just five, laying the foundations for his career as a cyclist given there isn’t much cycling culture in Albania to speak of. Indeed, Zhupa is the national time trial champion, but that wasn’t enough to prevent him from finishing 193rd, 166th, and 129th in the three individual time trials at this Giro. Now in his second season as a pro with the Wilier Triestina-Southeast team, he aspires to be a strong spring Classics rider.


Fun fact: You remember Zhupa as being the rider on the receiving end of a mid-race punch from Dmitriy Gruzdev during last year’s Tour of Turkey