GIRO’17 St.11: Fantastic Fraile!
Giro Stage Report: On a day which celebrated the great Gino Bartali, it was only fitting that today’s 11th stage produced heroic performances. Not just heroic, but a bit of a surprise thrown in as Omar Fraile took the win of his career.
Having orchestrated victory for his teammate Serge Pauwels in the Tour of Yorkshire just a few weeks ago, it was now Omar Fraile’s turn to take the spoils, on a day which saw Movistar’s Andrey Amador climb the GC and Sunweb play their cards just right in what was a memorable Queen stage of the Apennines.
There were happy scenes at the start town of Firenze as Tom Domoulin emerged from the Sunweb team bus on his first day in the pink jersey, to applause from local fans. The blue skies and relaxed atmosphere at the start would soon be forgotten though and would make way for intense heat and aggressive racing from the very start. Prior to the stage, Domoulin himself had declared today as the hardest of the Giro, and that would be demonstrated as the afternoon went on. It was clear from the beginning today that the other teams were out to test the strength of the Sunweb team…
A large, all-star breakaway of 25 riders was formed including Andrey Amador (Movistar), Mikel Landa (Sky), Giovanni Visconti (Bahrain-Merida), Laurens de Plus (Quick-Step Floors), Pierre Rolland (Cannondale-Drapac), Laurens Ten Dam (Sunweb), Rui Costa (UAE Team Emirates) and Omar Fraile (Dimension Data). All the teams in the race were present in this move with the exception of the Italian squads Bardiani-CSF and Wilier Triestina, neither of which were expected to chase.
This stage would pay homage to multiple Giro and Tour de France winner Gino Bartali, as it passed by the Gino Bartali museum on the outskirts of Florence.
As the race hit the slopes of the 3rd cat Passo Della Calla it became a case of the Basque riders versus the world, with Landa and Fraile seemingly unhappy with the pace in the breakaway and taking flight to form a leading duo. With Landa taking the longer turns on the front they managed to develop a 4:30 gap to the Sunweb led peloton as the race dipped inside the 100km mark.
As the kilometers ticked away and the gap steadily rose, alarm bells began to ring in the peloton as the Sunweb team swarmed to the front. The big danger man in the move was Andrey Amador who became the virtual leader on the road for a brief period. Amador also had his teammates Winner Anacona and JJ Rojas for company, on a rare day where Movistar were not obliged to chase the breakaway for Quintana.
With Movistar pulling the breakaway along, Fraile and Landa’s lead to the remaining escapees dropped as they all came back together on the final climb.
The battle for the stage win then began with 30km to go on the final climb of the day, the Bagno di Romagna. As Rojas pulled over after a monster turn, Laurens de Plus launched the first attack with Rui Costa and Rolland following. There were glimpses of Rolland’s former climbing talent as he distanced his companions.
Fraile jumped across to Rolland just before the climb as the duo sped away on the fast, narrow descent 20km from the line. There was collaboration in the chase behind from FDJ, Trek-Segafredo and Sunweb but the real race was up the road.
The absence of Wilco Keldermann, who was forced to abandon after his collision with a motorbike earlier in the race, was felt by the Sunweb team as they ran out of man-power at the front. Laurens Ten Dam was forced to sacrifice his chances of a good result by dropping back to the Maglia Rosa group as Dumoulin tried to limit the damage caused by Amador.
With little cooperation in the remaining breakaway group, Rui Costa desperately set out in pursuit of the two leaders who held a narrow ten-second advantage over the chasers.
In the final 3km the games began with the three leaders looking at each other as the turns on the front became more and more brief. With this hesitation; Tanel Kangert (Astana) managed to bridge across in the closing kilometer though to no great avail. Fraile, who stated his intentions to win a stage before the race, showed a clean pair of heels to his companions powering home to victory ahead of Costa and Rolland.
Though Amador managed to gain almost two-minutes on the GC favorites and jump from 8th to 6th on GC, Dumoulin still held a 2:23 cushion on former race leader and second place overall, Nairo Quintana.
Stage winner, Omar Fraile (Dimension Data): “It’s been an incredible day. It couldn’t have gone any better. I’m super happy. It’s a win I’ve dreamt of for a long time. I’ve had a passion for the Giro since I was a kid. This is my best win ever.”
Race leader, Tom Dumoulin (Sunweb): “We were not scared of Amador or the Astana riders. We were doing our own pace. We knew other teams would also ride behind them so we never considered giving away the Maglia Rosa. It was an amazing team work and we are really happy.”
Giro d’Italia Stage 11 Result:
1. Omar Fraile (Spa) Dimension Data in 4:23:17
2. Rui Costa (Por) UAE Team Emirates
3. Pierre Rolland (Fra) Cannondale-Drapac
4. Tanel Kangert (Est) Astana
5. Giovanni Visconti (Ita) Bahrain-Merida
6. Ben Hermans (Bel) BMC
7. Dario Cataldo (Ita) Astana
8. Simone Petilli (Ita) UAE Team Emirates
9. Maxime Monfort (Bel) Lotto Soudal at 0:03
10. Laurens De Plus (Bel) Quick-Step Floors
11. Andrey Amador (CRc) Movistar
12. Hubert Dupont (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale
13. Ruben Plaza (Spa) Orica-Scott at 1:37
14. Sébastien Reichenbach (Swi) FDJ
15. Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) AG2R-La Mondiale
16. Matteo Montaguti (Ita) AG2R-La Mondiale
17. Ilnur Zakarin (Rus) Katusha-Alpecin
18. Thibaut Pinot (Fra) FDJ
19. Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Sunweb
20. Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar
21. Winner Anacona (Col) Movistar
22. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Bahrain-Merida
23. Adam Yates (GB) Orica-Scott
24. Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek-Segafredo
25. Tomasz Marczynski (Pol) Lotto Soudal.
Giro d’Italia Overall After Stage 11:
1. Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Sunweb in 47:22:07
2. Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar at 2:23
3. Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek-Segafredo at 2:38
4. Thibaut Pinot (Fra) FDJ at 2:40
5. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Bahrain-Merida at 2:47
6. Andrey Amador (CRc) Movistar at 3:05
7. Bob Jungels (Lux) Quick-Step Floors at 3:56
8. Tanel Kangert (Est) Astana at 3:59
9. Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) AG2R-La Mondiale at 4:05
10. Ilnur Zakarin (Rus) Katusha-Alpecin at 4:17
11. Dario Cataldo (Ita) Astana at 5:19
12. Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) LottoNl-Jumbo at 6:07
13. Davide Formolo (Ita) Cannondale-Drapac at 6:19
14. Geraint Thomas (GB) Sky at 6:21
15. Rui Costa (Por) UAE Team Emirates at 6:29
16. Adam Yates (GB) Orica-Scott at 6:58
17. Maxime Monfort (Bel) Lotto Soudal at 7:22
18. Jan Polanc (Slo) UAE Team Emirates at 7:39
19. Ben Hermans (Bel) BMC Racing Team at 8:12
20. Simone Petilli (Ita) UAE Team Emirates at 13:23
21. Sébastien Reichenbach (Swi) FDJ at 16:49
22. Jan Hirt (Cze) CCC Sprandi Polkowice at 17:55
23. Hubert Dupont (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale at 18:25
24. Michael Woods (Can) Cannondale-Drapac at 18:46
25. Franco Pellizotti (Ita) Bahrain-Merida at 19:46.