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Cassano d’Adda - Italy - wielrennen - cycling - radsport - cyclisme - Roger Kluge (IAM Cycling) pictured during stage 17 of the 99th Giro d’Italia 2016 from Molveno - Cassano d’Adda 196 km - foto LB/RB/Cor Vos © 2016

GIRO’16 St.17: King Kluge!

Race Report: It was a day when you could have been forgiven for taking a nap for the better part of the stage, only waking in time for the final 15kms and you wouldn’t really have missed much. As it was it seemed some of the riders had done just that, content to let three rouleurs hang out in front for almost 180 km. In the end; Roger Kluge pulled a surprise win over the sprinters.

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Overdosing on espressos we made it to the finish to see one rider, from the very team that needed a big win, come out and hold off a charging peloton. Roger Kluge (IAM Cycling) used all of his track experience to outfox the bunch and snatch the win from right under their noses.

All Quiet
After the fireworks of yesterday’s Stage 16, today’s route, on paper at least, had bunch sprint written all over it. A longish stage at 196km with a lumpy start but then a pan-flat second half coming into Cassano D’Adda on wide-open roads. A 90˚ right-hander 600m before the line would see the teams open up their sprint trains.

There’s the problem though. The big-name sprint kings have all gone home so the second-string, lead-out men get their chance. That is, if it’s all still together at the end.

No doubt smarting after yesterday’s disastrous stage Astana and Orica could throw something into the mix in order to claw back some time…but it wasn’t looking likely.


Sacrificial Three
The flag dropped and three riders shot up the road, with the bunch content to let them go. Daniel Oss (BMC) is looking more and more like a Wookie from Star Wars and he was joined by Pavel Brutt (Tinkoff) and Eugert Zhupa (Wilier Trestina-Southeast) and they quickly set about building a lead: 40km covered and they were up to 5:30.

100km and Downhill from Here
Trek-Sagafredo and Lampre-Merida had been policing the bunch, keeping the break just within control. The trio pushed it out to 6 minutes at one point but as the riders came through the feedzone it was hovering around 4 minutes.

Daniel Oss had now spent more km’s in breakaways on this Giro than any other rider and was surely hoping that the peloton would let them survive to the end but small chance of that as the stages, and chances of a win, are running out. He led them over the summit of the only climb today and it was downhill from the Passo Sant’ Eusebio to the intermediate sprint at Brescia.

Through the sprint and Oss made sure of it, even though he was unchallenged. With another to come he was interested in the points on offer as he’s well placed in that competition.

As the peloton came through it was the top three men in that classification that came out to play with Giacomo Nizzolo (Trek-Sagafredo) crossing ahead of Matteo Trentin (Etixx – Quick-Step) and Diego Ulissi (Lampre-Merida) in that order. The flurry of activity had reduced the gap to 3:30 but as the riders eased off behind, it pushed out a little again.

Cassano d’Adda - Italy - wielrennen - cycling - radsport - cyclisme -  team LottoNL - Jumbo pictured during  stage 17 of the 99th Giro d’Italia 2016 from Molveno - Cassano d’Adda 196 km  - foto LB/RB/Cor Vos © 2016The LottoNl-Jumbo team had an easy day looking after Kruijswijk in the pink jersey

Reeling Them In
It was situation normal for the next section of the race as the peloton began the controlled pullback. The three leaders were still riding well but they had been out in front for 4 hours in the hot sun and the gap was tumbling.

Into the second sprint at Calcio and Oss again made his intentions obvious but Zhupa made him work for it this time. As the peloton came through a short time later it was Nizzolo who showed that he wants to win this classification again.

With the flurry of activity through the sprint point three riders had clipped off the front and as the leaders were now in sight on the long wide roads their advantage disappeared and then we had six at the head of the race, the newcomers being Lars Bak (Lotto Soudal), Maxim Belkov, (Katusha) and Ignatas Konovalovas (FDJ).

With the injection of fresh pace they began to move clear of the peloton again but for how long with teams like Dimension Data beginning to work?

With so many tired riders, the sprint at the finish could be quite chaotic assuming the peloton timed the catch correctly. There were 17kms to run and the leaders had a slim 27 seconds lead.

Cassano d’Adda - Italy - wielrennen - cycling - radsport - cyclisme -  Ignatas Konovalovas (FDJ)  pictured during  stage 17 of the 99th Giro d’Italia 2016 from Molveno - Cassano d’Adda 196 km  - foto LB/RB/Cor Vos © 2016When three became six

Cat and Mouse
Lars Bak was the strongman at the front and was barking orders to the others, obviously intent on doing something if he could. The gap was moving out by mere seconds but the peloton could see them all the time on the wide run-in and was surely just playing with them.

IAM Cycling sent some men to the front and with their sponsor pulling out of the sport they were keen to show their worth, perhaps thinking of Heinrich Haussler.

Through Treviglio and there was no time to think about paying homage to the home of Bianchi Cycles. They would have to content themselves with the Maglia Rosa Steven Kruijswijk (LottoNL-Jumbo) being aboard one of their machines.

Ten kilometres to run and it was 14 seconds between the breakaways and the chasers so it was advantage the sprinters. And now other teams were beginning to come to the front, thinking of their riders who could finish in a bunch romp.

The GC teams were mixing it up at the front keen to protect their men as up ahead some of the six leaders were beginning to tire. Lars Bak was still pushing and with 14 seconds at 5km it could just happen for the leaders.

Cassano d’Adda - Italy - wielrennen - cycling - radsport - cyclisme -  Nizzolo Giacomo (Italie / Trek Factory Racing)  pictured during  stage 17 of the 99th Giro d’Italia 2016 from Molveno - Cassano d’Adda 196 km  - foto LB/RB/Cor Vos © 2016Nizzolo wanted the home win, but…

Desperate Measures
At 3km to run the gap was 5 seconds and they were looking back, sure that they were now being caught. Bak, though, was having none of it and pushing again, and as the peloton caught the leaders Bak went off on his own chased by Pippo Pozzato (Lampre-Merida).

Bak was cooked and Pozzato was out on his own as he came around the final right-hander ahead of the bunch. As the peloton would up for the sprint one man came off the front and overhauled Pozzato with 150m to run. It was Roger Kluge for IAM Cycling and he had timed it to perfection.

With the sprinters bearing down on the German rider he found just the energy he needed and he used all of his track experience to hold off a charging Nizzolo and the rest of the race to take the stage in beautiful fashion.

Cassano d’Adda - Italy - wielrennen - cycling - radsport - cyclisme -  Roger Kluge (IAM Cycling)  pictured during  stage 17 of the 99th Giro d’Italia 2016 from Molveno - Cassano d’Adda 196 km  - foto LB/RB/Cor Vos © 2016Just what the IAM Cycling team needed

It was just what the IAM Cycling team needed and showcases Kluge’s talents to any DS’s looking to pick up a quality rider.

It was a hard day in the saddle for some but an easy one for our leader Kruijswijk as he’s now one day nearer taking the final jersey in Turin.

Keep tuned to PEZ for Ed Hood’s day on the Giro d’Italia and catch up with ALL PEZ Giro news here.

Giro d’Italia Stage 17 Result:
1. Roger Kluge (Ger) IAM Cycling in 4:32:29
2. Giacomo Nizzolo (Ita) Trek-Segafredo
3. Nikias Arndt (Ger) Giant-Alpecin
4. Sacha Modolo (Ita) Lampre-Merida
5. Matteo Trentin (Ita) Etixx – Quick-Step
6. Alexander Porsev (Rus) Katusha
7. Pim Ligthart (Ned) Lotto Soudal
8. Ramunas Navardauskas (Ltu) Cannodale
9. Manuel Belletti (Ita) Willier-Southeast
10. Paolo Simion (Ita) Bardiani-CSF
11.Sean De Bie (Bel) Lotto Soudal
12.Kristian Sbaragli (Ita) Dimension Data
13.Eduard Michael Grosu (Rom) Nippo-Vini Fantini
14. Lukasz Wisniowski (Pol) Etixx – Quick-Step
15. Heinrich Haussler (Aus) IAM Cycling
16. Rick Zabel (Ger) BMC
17. Mickael Delage (Fra) FDJ
18. Stefan Kueng (Swi) BMC
19. Christian Knees (Ger) Sky
20. Marco Coledan (Ita) Trek-Segafredo
21. Filippo Pozzato (Ita) Wilier-Southeast
22. Alberto Bettiol (Ita) Cannondale
23. Ilnur Zakarin (Rus) Katusha
24. Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Movistar
25. Pavel Kochetkov (Rus) Katusha.

Giro d’Italia Overall After Stage 17:
1. Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) LottoNl-Jumbo in 68:11:39
2. Esteban Chaves (Col) Orica-GreenEDGE at 3:00
3. Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar at 3:23
4. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana at 4:43
5. Ilnur Zakarin (Rus) Katusha at 4:50
6. Rafal Majka (Pol) Tinkoff at 5:34
7. Bob Jungels (Lux) Etixx – Quick-Step at 7:57
8. Andrey Amador (CRc) Movistar at 8:53
9. Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) AG2R-La Mondiale at 10:05
10. Kanstantsin Siutsou (Blr) Dimension Data at 11:03.
11. Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana at 11:21
12. Rigoberto Uran Uran (Col) Cannondale at 13:53
13. Darwin Atapuma Hurtado (Col) BMC at 20:47
14. Hubert Dupont (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale at 22:13
15. Sebastian Henao Gomez (Col) Sky at 22:14
16. Giovanni Visconti (Ita) Movistar at 26:58
17. Stefano Pirazzi (Ita) Bardiani-CSF at 29:06
18. Matteo Montaguti (Ita) AG2R-La Mondiale at 30:11
19. Maxime Monfort (Bel) Lotto Soudal at 30:26
20. Andre Fernando S. Martins Cardoso (Por) Cannondale at 31:36
21. Michele Scarponi (Ita) Astana at 34:28
22. Diego Ulissi (Ita) Lampre-Merida at 38:28
23. Tanel Kangert (Est) Astana at 40:49
24. Davide Formolo (Ita) Cannondale at 42:35
25. Nicolas Roche (Irl) Sky at 43:06

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