Pirazzi Wins Stage 17 of Giro d'Italia
Bardiani-CSF has garnered its third stage win of the Giro d’Italia. Stefano Pirazzi did the honors. Pirazzi scored his first professional victory by surging away from four breakaway companions with one km left to win the rolling, 208-km run from Sarnonico to Vittorio Veneto in 4:38:11. Tim Wellens (Lotto-Belisol) finished second, and Jay McCarthy (Tinkoff-Saxo Bank) finished third. Nairo Quintana (Movistar) remains the maglia rosa.
Theoretically, this stage was one for the sprinters. The parcours was rolling but reasonably flat, and the sprinters were aware that this would be their last realistic opportunity to win a stage until Sunday. However, today’s ride also followed a hard mountain stage and will precede three others. The peloton was in no mood to race hard, and stage hunters saw their final chance to jump into a break. A confluence of circumstances made today’s stage one for escapees.
Enrico Gasparotto (Astana); Matteo Montaguti (Ag2r-La Mondiale); Pirazzi, Nicola Boem, and Marco Canola (all from Bardiani-CSF); Jos Van Emden (Belkin); Daniel Oss (BMC); Oscar Gatto (Cannondale); Johan Le Bon and Jussi Veikkanen (both from FDJ.fr); Daniano Cunego and Matteo Bono (both from Lampre-Merida); Lars Bak and Tim Wellens (both from Lotto-Belisol); Igor Anton (Movistar); Thomas De Gendt and Serge Pauwels (both from Omega Pharma-QuickStep); Davide Malacarne (Europcar); Simon Geschke (Giant-Shimano); Alberto Losada and Eduard Vorganov (both from Katusha); Philip Deignan (Sky); Evgeni Petrov and Jay McCarthy (both from Tinkoff-Saxo Bank); and Fabio Felline (Trek) sallied off of the front. Only four teams were unrepresented in the break, and the bunch was thinking of the trials to come over the next three days. It did not pursue, and the escapees ran up a lead that ballooned to 12 minutes with 60 km left.
Movistar went to the front, but the pace did not increase enough to make a difference. With 30 km left, De Gendt attacked his companions. Five km later, on the day’s last climb, the Category 4 Muro di Ca’ del Poggio, Pirazzi caught the Belgian. With 13.5 km remaining, Montaguti, Wellens, and McCarthy joined the pair. The quintet forged a 30-second lead over their erstwhile companions, a lead that they kept to the finish line.
With one km left, Pirazzi attacked. The others did not chase immediately, and Pirazzi stayed clear. The peloton ambled home at 15:38.
Pirazzi’s win, which came in his fifth season, lifted a weight from his shoulders. “A liberation,” the Bardiani-CSF man said. “Finally, after five years I have won my first race, and it happened at the Giro d’Italia. It’s a success that means a lot because few people know how I have suffered during the period. Today, when I went into the break with Canola and Boem, we ran as a top team, all focused to win. Thanks to them and the whole squad. It’s still difficult to believe that it happened.”
In the overall, Quintana leads Rigoberto Uran (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) by 1:41 and Cadel Evans (BMC) by 3:21. Tomorrow, the Giro will move into the Dolomites for three stages that will decide the race. The 171-km ride from Belluno to Valsugana will feature two first category ascents, one of which is the climb to the finish. Who will win? Who will be the maglia rosa? Check in at www.roadcycling.com and find out!