What's Cool In Road Cycling

Blown Wide Open: Giro Stage 17

Giro Stage 17 – Corvara In Badi a- Folgaria

In brief, here’s how the stage played out:

What a day! The Giro got blown wide open again over the last 20 kms of the 17th stage to Folgaria in the Dolomites of northern Italy. At the start, the top five riders on gc were within 1 minute of each other, and it turns out everyone of them had designs on taking over the pink jersey.

Not much action for the first 160 km, which were mostly downhill. Then yesterday’s winner Perez attacked on the 1165m climb to Santa Barbara, and was soon joined by Lampre’s Pavel Tonkov. They pulled out a lead that hovered around 2 minutes, while the rest of the gc contenders, Cadel Evans, Tyler Hamilton, Dario Frigo, Aitor Gonzalez, Pietro Caucchioli, and Paolo Salvodelli all stuck together with Mapei controlling the pace.

Over the top and through the final valley not much changed. Things even looked a bit sleepy half way up the final 20kms of climbing to the finish at 1640 m, until Tonkov accelerated and dropped Perez. Tonkov took off like a man possessed, or at least a man refreshed, and never looked back.

Meanwhile, Frigo got ejected from the back of the lead leaders’ group and clearly hit a wall, watching helplessly as his Giro hopes faded into a pink hazy distance.

Shortly after, it was CSC’s Hamilton who put in the acceleration that started a chain reaction of events that reshaped the Giro. At Tyler’s move, Evans could not respond. Of course everyone noticed and that was it, then group split as everyone basically took off like a bunch of kids chasing the ice cream truck.

Evans was in worse shape than Frigo, having blown big time, and could only struggle feebly as he wobbled and got pushed by the fans to eventually finish over 10 minutes down!

Hamilton was riding as the virtual pink jersey! That was until Alessio’s descender Paolo Salvodelli decided to be a climber, and broke away from the Hamilton group. Looking fresh, relaxed, and flying up the road, he put the hammer down and began to close on Tonkov. By the end, he was second on the day and the new maglia rosa!

Hamilton seemed to be out of energy, and let the Italians in his group do the chasing, so Caucchiolli (arch rival of Salvodelli) did a ton of work to limit his losses.

So the big fight is not over and we’re going to the wire – Saturday’s final TT to se who will win. Hamilton is arguably the best time trialist, but he’ll have to make up 1;18 over 45km.
Now that’s a good race!

Overall Standings
1. Paolo Savoldelli (Ita-(Ina) 80.37.11
2. Pietro Caucchioli (Ita-Als) + 0.55
3. Tyler Hamilton (Usa-Cst) +1.28
4. Juan M. Garate Cepa (Spa-Lam) +1.39
5. Pavel Tonkov (Rus-Lam) +3.09

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