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Giro d'Italia Stage 17: Visconti gets his second stage and three in a row for Movistar

Former Italian champion attacks over top of late climb and keeps away

Giovanni Visconti of Movistar, who took his first ever Giro d'Italia stage win on the Col du Galibier on Sunday, has wasted no time in getting his second, attacking over the top of today's only climb, crested 16km out, to win Stage 17 in Vincenza. With Benat Intxausti winning in Ivrea yesterday, it's the third stage victory in a row for the Spanish team.

With tomorrow marking the second anniversary of the death of Movistar's Xavi Tondo in an accident while he prepared for a training ride, the team seems determined to commemorate him in the best way possible - by winning races, and what's more today's win comes in one of the heartlands of Italian cycling which happens to be home to sponsors Pinarello and Campagnolo, the latter celebrating its 80th birthday.

There was a slight scare for three-time Italian champion Visconti towards the end of the stage, when he overcooked a left-hand bend around a kilometre and a half out, but he somehow managed to stay upright.

Ramunas Navardauskas of Garmin-Sharp led the chasing group of around 35 riders home ahead of Luka Mezgeg of Argos Shimano 19 seconds behind Visconti, the Lithuanian, unaware that the stage had already been won, raising his arms and punching the air in celebration. Vincenzo Nibali of Astana retains the maglia rosa.

Omega Pharma-Quick Step, working for points classification leader Mark Cavendish, had controlled the front of the peloton for much of the day to keep ithe break in check, comprising Katusha’s Maxim Belkov, Luke Durbridge of Orica-GreenEdge, Lotto-Belisol’s Gert Dockx and Androni Giocattoli-Venezuala’s Miguel Rubiano, the quartet getting away some 6km into the stage.

Cavendish may have harboured hopes of getting over the top of that late Category 4 climb to Crosara, a 5.3km ascent with a maximum gradient of 12 per cent, in a position to contest the win, and he was alongside his Omega Pharma-Quick Step colleagues, just behind several Vini Fantini-Selle Italia men, as the road began to go uphill.

Almost immediately, however, the Italian team attacked, with Alessandro Proni making the move to set up Danilo di Luca, who was soon on his own in pursuit of the remaining escapees up ahead. They – and di Luca – would be brought back ahead of the summit as other riders attacked, the decisive move coming from Visconti.

The relentless pace on the ascent as a result of those attacks quickly saw Cavendish distanced, the former world champion looking around desperately for riders to help him try and stay in contact. The minute and a half he lost ahead of a flat, 8km run-in from the bottom of the descent made it an impossible task, however.

Following tomorrow’s mountain time trial from Mori to Polsa, there are just three road stages left, with Sunday’s finale in Brescia virtually guaranteed to finish in a sprint, with 25 points on offer for the winner.

Ahead of that, there are two big stages in the Dolomites, and in both of those the intermediate sprints come well after Cavendish will have found himself in the gruppetto, so he’ll have no opportunity to challenge for points there.

Cavendish, who has won the more sprinter friendly points contests in the Tour de France and the Vuelta, now lies just four points ahead of Cadel Evans – a past winner of the jersey in the Giro – and there are several other riders who could amass sufficient points on those mountain stages to also challenge for it.

It looks like it could be a very close run thing for Cavendish to finally join the select group of riders who have won the points jersey in all three Grand Tours. Last year, he missed the jersey by a solitary point on the final road stage when Joaquim Rodriguez – riding himself to defend his maglia rosa, rather than specifically for the points jersey – overhauled him.

Giro d'Italia Stage 17 result  
1  VISCONTI Giovanni        Movistar Team                05:15:34
2  NAVARDAUSKAS Ramunas     Garmin - Sharp                  00:19
3  MEZGEC Luka Team         Argos - Shimano                  ,,
4  POZZATO Filippo          Lampre - Merida                  ,,
5  HONDO Danilo             RadioShack - Leopard             ,,
6  PUCCIO Salvatore         Sky Procycling                   ,,
7  MODOLO Sacha             Bardiani Valvole - CSF Inox      ,,
8  FELLINE Fabio            Androni - Venezuela              ,,
9  VENTOSO Francisco        Movistar Team                    ,,
10 EVANS Cadel              BMC Racing Team                  ,,
11 SANTAMBROGIO Mauro       Vini Fantini                     ,,
12 MAJKA Rafal              Team Saxo-Tinkoff                ,,
13 TROFIMOV Yuri            Katusha Team                     ,,
14 MOUREY Francis           FDJ                              ,,
15 BOARO Manuele            Team Saxo-Tinkoff                ,,
16 LE BON Johan             FDJ                              ,,
17 AGNOLI Valerio           Astana Pro Team                  ,,
18 SANTAROMITA Ivan         BMC Racing Team                  ,,
19 NIBALI Vincenzo          Astana Pro Team                  ,,
20 CATALDO Dario            Sky Procycling                   ,,
Overall Standings after Stage 17  
1  NIBALI Vincenzo          Astana Pro Team              73:11:29
2  EVANS Cadel              BMC Racing Team                 01:26
3  URAN Rigoberto           Sky Procycling                  02:46
4  SCARPONI Michele         Lampre - Merida                 03:53
5  NIEMIEC Przemyslaw       Lampre - Merida                 04:13
6  SANTAMBROGIO Mauro       Vini Fantini                    04:57
7  BETANCUR Carlos          AG2R La Mondiale                05:15
8  MAJKA Rafal              Team Saxo-Tinkoff               05:20
9  INTXAUSTI Benat          Movistar Team                   05:47
10 GESINK Robert            Blanco Pro Cycling Team         07:24

Points classification after Stage 17  
1  CAVENDISH Mark           Omega Pharma - Quick-Step       113
2  EVANS Cadel              BMC Racing Team                 109
3  SANTAMBROGIO Mauro       Vini Fantini                     89
4  VISCONTI Giovanni        Movistar Team                    86
5  BETANCUR Carlos          AG2R La Mondiale                 85

Simon joined as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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Super Domestique | 10 years ago

Thought so.

I'm pleased to see them doing well as a team.

Simon_MacMichael | 10 years ago

Yes, crash was during Tour de Suisse, June 2011.

Super Domestique | 10 years ago

Great ride.

Didn't Soler's accident happen not too long after Tondo's tragic death too.

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