Giro 17: The Shortest

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From Tirano to Lugano. The shortest.
Teglio climb (3rd cat): 7.4 km, 6.5% average, 10% max.
Break-Away: Bandiera, Berlato and Keisse.
Morbegno, first intermediate sprint: Elia Viviani grabs a few more points for his Red Jersey.
Windy. Trek, Lampre and Giant are leading the chase.
Embedded image permalinkMenaggio, second intermediate sprint: this time Nizzolo is fastest.
The breakers shake hands on the Croce di Menaggio: the peloton is close. Many are cooked too and get immediately dropped, Zakarin included. 26 km to go, the break is over
Two riders on the attack: Hansen and Gretsch. Atapuma followss and joins. But they are too slow for Hansen who decides to go solo. Gretsch. tries to follows and drops Atapuma who is quickly caught by the peloton. Gretsch is caught too. Just Hansen remains on the road but is caught 10 km to go.
The race enters Swizerland
Embedded image permalinkCastagnola climb. Again riders get dropped. In front Slagter attacks. Gilbert follows  5 km to go. Descent toward Lugano Lake. Paolini bridges and goes solo. Montaguti gets off the front.
Felline and Nizzolo lead the chase, Paolini caught it's a bunch sprint.
Modlo wins on Nizzolo who is the new Red Jersey.

Alberto Contador:  
“In theory it was a transitional stage but it was hard. The road went up and down, and we were riding into a headwind for most of the day. The peloton was very nervous, and it was fast, with the three-man breakaway up the road. So far, something has happened almost every day: a crash or a puncture. I'm very happy because I got through the stage safely and arrived in Lugano, where I live, on my home roads. Yesterday was much more wearing than I would have liked, but I'm one day closer to Milan”
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Giacomo Nizzolo:
Embedded image permalink“Today it was really an important stage for us because I have been feeling pretty good. To be honest in the first part of the race I still felt the stage of yesterday, but then in the end I was feeling strong and unluckily Viviani closed me a little bit, but okay that’s the sprint, and I don’t complain about that. I am just sorry because no doubt today I think I was the strongest in the sprint.”

Sacha Modolo:
"On paper, the stage looked easy, but in reality it was hard, with a real ramp at 4km to go. I looked around me on the climb and I saw lots of potential sprinters in difficulty. Perhaps they were more tired than me. Yesterday was very hard but I had good legs today and it was nice and hot - the sort of day I like. Perhaps we could do with one more rider but, after months of hard work, in Max Richeze and Roberto Ferrari I have one of the best lead-out trains going. I'm afraid of no one."

Luka Mezgec:
“I felt good. The team did a great job in controlling the race. In the finale I was in good position but started my sprint a bit too early because they start coming from behind.
I hope in Milano everything will come together and that I will be able to drop a perfect sprint there,” said Luka after the stage.

Nick Van der Lijke:
“It was a tough sprint. Normally, I’d lead-out Moreno Hofland, but he was dropped earlier on. I shifted focus and went for my own chances. I’m glad I could sprint, but unfortunately, I had to close a gap in the run-up to sprint, which wore me out.”

Fabio Aru:
“It was a huge effort yesterday, I did something like 40km on my own. To be honest I suffered like crazy but tried to focus on losing as little as possible.
Today was a lot easier than yesterday but it was not easy because of the wind in the valley. We still went quite hard because of the break and because lots of people wanted to have a go in the sprint. I’m still a little tired after going deep yesterday but I haven’t given up mentally. I think my mental ability is one of my strengths. When you have some physical problems, that’s when things get difficult but I fought all the way to the finish in Aprica and I’m determined to fight on in this Giro.
I think we played the right tactic. Mikel was on a good day and showed it by winning the stage, I was the one who suffered and paid for it. There’s been a lot of talk about the attack when Alberto had punctured but we were in the middle of the descent at the time and so nobody really knew what was going on. We only really followed the Katusha team who went for it.
It’s not about who is the team leader, it's about legs. Mikel is going really well, he’s second overall, so it's right he gets to play his cards and see what happens.
For sure we’ll try to invent something and sees what happens. We’ve raced hard for 17 stages and now there are three tough mountain stages to come. We’ve never really had time to catch our breaths and I’m sure we’ll go hard on the last three days as well, before the Giro finishes in Milan.
I’m focused on the final mountain stags now but even the last climb before the finish in Verbania tomorrow is pretty tough too. If I‘ve got the legs, I’d like to give it a go in the mountains, especially on the Colle delle Finestre. I raced cyclo-cross when I was young and so I like dirt tracks. But it all depends on how my legs are feeling.” 

Iljo Keisse:
"Long day in the breakaway, even if it's a short stage. Short stages are most of the time when I can do the best. My stage victory out of the breakaway at Tour of Turkey in 2012 was also short, at 135 kilometers. At Tour of Oman I also entered a breakaway in a short stage. A short stage, full gas, is when I have the best chance to make it. I was at the first line at the start today and Marco Bandiera said 'we go,' and I said 'yeah, we'll try.' So we went straight away. But we were really unlucky with the headwind, only three guys in the lead group, and also the bunch never gave us much time. So in the last 40 kilometers, when you only have a 1 minute and 10 second advantage, it's impossible to stay away. But OK, we tried. There's not many chances for me. I'm not a pure sprinter or a climber, so this seemed to be my best chance. But I have to say the important thing is I am feeling much better than the first few days of the Giro. Every day after that I felt a bit stronger. It's just unfortunate the chances to stage hunt are limited, and we've had some bad luck this year compared to the last two years. But I am satisfied with going for it today, as our strategy has changed since Sunday to take advantage of opportunities to enter the breakaway. Breakaways haven't much luck in this edition, but everyone wants to keep doing their very best for the team in the last few days. Whenever we have the chance, we'll go for it, and we'll make the best of the situation."

1 Sacha Modolo (Ita) Lampre-Merida 3:07:51
2 Giacomo Nizzolo (Ita) Trek Factory Racing
3 Luka Mezgec (Slo) Team Giant-Alpecin
4 Heinrich Haussler (Aus) IAM Cycling
5 Davide Appollonio (Ita) Androni Giocattoli
6 Stig Broeckx (Bel) Lotto Soudal
7 Juan Jose Lobato (Spa) Movistar Team
8 Alexander Porsev (Rus) Team Katusha
9 Kévin Reza (Fra) FDJ.fr
10 Nick Van Der Lijke (Ned) Team LottoNL-Jumbo
11 Elia Viviani (Ita) Team Sky
1 Alberto Contador (Spa) Tinkoff-Saxo 68:12:50
2 Mikel Landa Meana (Spa) Astana Pro Team 0:04:02
3 Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana Pro Team 0:04:52
4 Andrey Amador (CRc) Movistar Team 0:05:48
5 Yury Trofimov (Rus) Team Katusha 0:08:27
6 Leopold Konig (Cze) Team Sky 0:09:31
7 Damiano Caruso (Ita) BMC Racing Team 0:09:52
8 Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) Team LottoNL-Jumbo 0:11:40
9 Alexandre Geniez (Fra) FDJ.fr 0:12:48
10 Ryder Hesjedal (Can) Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling Team 0:12:49

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