Stefano Pirazzi won Stage 17 of the 2014 Giro d’Italia after cementing his place in the stage’s contenders from the breakaway in the Sarnonico to Vittorio Veneto route.
Though the overall Giro d’Italia contenders took it easy on Wednesday, it was an impressive ride from Pirazzi, who negotiated the 208-kilometre stage in 4 hours, 38 minutes and 11 seconds with aggression and determination.
Belgian Tim Wellens and Australian Jay McCarthy made up Stage 17’s top three. Here are the top results:
|2||Tim Wellens||Belgian||Lotto Belisol||Same Time|
|4||Thomas de Gendt||Belgian||Omega Pharma - Quick-Step||ST|
|5||Matteo Montaguti||Italian||Ag2r-La Mondiale||ST|
|8||Fabio Felline||Italian||Trek Factory Racing||ST|
|10||Serge Pauwels||Belgian||Omega Pharma - Quick-Step||ST|
Pirazzi’s win was Bardiani’s third stage victory of this year's Giro d’Italia so far, with Marco Canola and Enrico Battaglin emerging victorious in Stages 13 and 14 respectively.
Following his gruelling battle with both the elements and other riders, Pirazzi said that he and his teammates should be proud of their achievements so far, as Daniel Benson of CyclingNews reported:
I knew that between the first five it would be difficult to arrive together and I knew that I had no chance against them. Of course we're all young guys at Bardiani and we've done well so far. we're all good riders and I think that we can be proud of ourselves.
The competing riders were under pressure in the final parts after heading into a five-man race following their break from 26 original escapees, but Wellens, McCarthy, Thomas De Gendt and Matteo Montaguti could do nothing to stop Pirazzi’s last-minute surge.
Though rain threatened to stop his progress, Pirazzi managed to keep his head and keep two wheels on the ground as he romped to victory after striking for home with just over a kilometre remaining.
De Gendt led during the punchy climb of the Muro di Ca di Poggio but eased off in the final stages to take fourth, with Pirazzi showing exactly why he specialises in uphill attacks.
The timing of Pirazzi’s attacks were flawless, and you have to think that with more performances like Wednesday’s he would have been fighting for the general classification title.
As it stands, though, Movistar’s Nairo Quintana remains the leader and cemented his place at the top with a solid finish in the pack in Stage 17.
|2||Rigoberto Uran||Colombian||Omega Pharma – Quick-Step||+0:1:41|
|7||Domenico Pozzovivo||Italian||Ag2r-La Mondiale||+0:3:49|
|10||Robert Kiserlovski||Dutch||Trek Factory Racing||+0:8:02|
Quintana will remain in pink heading into four decisive days in the Dolomites, with Sunday’s final stage set to be a thriller in Trieste.
Peloton with race leader Nairo Quintana comes over the line well over quarter of an hour after Pirazzi won the stage #giro— Cycling Weekly (@cyclingweekly) May 28, 2014
Though Rigoberto Uran is sitting just behind his fellow Colombian, his recent struggles won’t fill him with confidence heading into the race’s climax.
Steep finishes have caused Uran problems of late, and though he didn’t lose ground in his chase of Quintana with an equal time in Stage 17, the mountainous terrains coming up will certainly separate him from the leader.
Next up, Giro d’Italia takes in the Belluno to Rifugio Panarotta stage, where the race’s big names will likely compete once again after resting their legs on Wednesday, making for some more fantastic cycling entertainment.