22 May 2013

Giro d'Italia Stage 17 Carvaggio - Vicenza

Yesterday it was all go on the Andrate. For a start there were 22 riders ahead of the peleton in the valley leading to it, it included the man in 18th in the GC Damiano Caruso (CAN) who was a real danger if he got too far ahead. Also the breakaway knew that while he remained with them that they would be chased down. So there were two races within the race, one to pull him back and one to get rid of him.

In the end a trio of Danny Pate (SKY), Emanuele Sella (AND) and Wilco Kilderman (BLA) did break the elastic with about 36 km to go, and 10 km until the start of the Andrate. Behind them another group of five formed King of the Mountains Stefano Pirazzi (BAR), Gorka Verdugo (EUS), Ramunas Navardauskas (GRS), Grega Bole (VCD) and Jose Herrada (MOV).

On the climb Caruso was hauled back into the peleton and these eight formed the head of the race together. But nearer the summit the Maglia Rosa group hauled all of them back in as well. Though missing was Mauro Santambrogio (VIN), who was only one second behind third placed Rigoberto Uran (SKY) at the start of the day.

But it wasn't all over yet. People kept attacking on the descent. In the end, with about 3km to go, a group of four managed to stay away Robert Gesink (BLA),Przemysław Niemiec(LAM), Beñat Intxausti (MOV) and Nibali's Astana team mate Tanel Kangert. Only for Gesink's run of bad luck to continue and for him to puncture on the cobbles with 1.7km to the finish.

Niemiec started to go for the line, but his inexperience meant he went too early and in the end Intxansti won his first individual stage in a Grand Tour. The main contenders coming in 14 seconds behind. Santambrogio lost 2'10" on his rivals in the GC dropping him from 4th to 6th.

Today's stage is flat, though there is a little kick up towards the end. But the last 3km is twisting. There are four turns and two other roundabouts to be negotiated. The last turn is a right hander only 500m from the finish. It could lead to a lot of bumping and barging. It is the sort of finish that needs a well drilled lead out and that is what Cavendish has, but there is, as always with such a fraught finish, the change that less experienced sprinters will panic and get into the wrong places and cause mayhem. But it should be dry with no rain forecast which is a relief.

If everyone stays on two wheels it is hard to look past Mark Cavendish picking up his 5th stage win of this Giro. If he doesn't I suspect he won't be more than a bike length away from doing so.

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