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Former Italian champion takes another solo win to continue the fantastic run of success for Movistar who now has won the last three stages of the race

Photo: Sirotti






22.05.2013 @ 17:49 Posted by Simon Knudstrup

Movistar is simply unstoppable in the Giro as Giovanni Visconti made it three in a row and four in the entire race for the Spanish team with another formidable solo win. He escaped on the final climb to win ahead of Ramunas Navardauskas (Garmin) and Luka Mezgec (Argos-Shimano) on a day that was too tough for most of the sprinters.


The Movistar team started the Giro d'Italia with the objective of continuing its streak of stage wins in the grand tour but no one had ever believed that the Spanish team would have bagged no less than 4 victories with 4 stages still remaining. However, that scenario became reality in today's 17th stage whne Giovanni Visconti took his second solo win of the race when he escaped on the only climb of an otherwise flat stage.


The stage had shaped up as a traditional sprinters stage in the early part of the stage as Omega Pharma-Quick Step and Argos-Shimano had done a huge amount of work to chase down a 4-man break consisting of Luke Durbridge (Orica-GreenEdge), Miguel Angel Rubiano (Androni), Maxim Belkov (Katusha) and Gert Dockx (Lotto). At the bottom of the final climb with a little more than 20km to go, Belkov had been dropped and the gap had been brought down to just a minute while the Omega Pharma-Quick Step team made sure to position Mark Cavendish right at the front ready to tackle the hard ascent.


Vini Fantini had taken over at the front on the approach to the hill and Alessandro Proni set a hard tempo on the lower slopes. Up ahead Rubiano emerged as the strongest climber as he dropped Dockx and later also Durbridge to continue the effort on his own.


With 21km to go Vini Fantini showed their plans as Proni attacked with Danilo Di Luca in his wheel. The domestique did a huge work for a few minutes before he left it to his captain to finish off the work. Meanwhile, Filippo Pozzato showed that he intended to win this stage which finished near his home as he asked Jose Serpa (Lampre) to up the pace.


The hard pace by the Colombian had a big effect on the peloton as riders started to drop off in large numbers. When just around 50 riders were left, Cavendish was struggling at the back and moments later he had to let the main group go.


Di Luca passed both Dockx and Durbridge who were quickly reeled in by the peloton which was now led by Przemyslaw Niemiec who despite his 5th place overall was asked to work for Pozzato. Di Luca had now caught Rubiano but the Colombian managed to glue himself to the Italian's rear wheel.


With 19km to go Visconti accelerated off the front and bridged the gap immediately. He went straight past the duo and only Rubiano was able to follow the pace of the former Italian champion.


In the peloton, Michele Scarponi even did a short turn at the front before Niemiec was back at the front and the 40-rider peloton crested the summit around 30 seconds behind Visconti who had now dropped Rubiano while Di Luca was back in the peloton.


For the sprinters it was time to assess the situation and Luka Mezgec, Danilo Hondo (Radioshack), Sacha Modolo (Bardiani), Fabio Felline (Androni) and Francisco Ventoso (Movistar) were some of those to have survived the climb. Modolo realized that he had a great chance and asked Nicola Boem to set a hard pace on the descent to chase down Visconti.


Meanwhile, Cavendish was assisted by 4 teammates in a big group 1 minute behind while another sprinter, Giacomo Nizzolo (Radioshack) was left in a small 3-rider group in between. With 12km to go, it was all over for Rubiano while Visconti managed to keep his 30-second lead on the descent.


With 10km to go, they hit the flat roads and it was now unclear who had to do the chase. That sparked off a number of attack with Modolo being the first to try his hand before riders like Samuel Sanchez (Euskalel), Franco Pellizotti (Androni), Felline, Evgeny Petrov (Saxo-Tinkoff), Wilco Kelderman (Blanco), Valerio Agnoli (Astana) and Robert Gesink (Blanco). No one was able to get any noticeable gap but the many attacks kept the pace high and the Cavendish group did not get any closer.


2nd placed Cadel Evans (BMC) even joined a move and for a moment the peloton had split in two with Evans in the first group and race leader Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) in the second. However, it all came back together.


When Visconti entered the outskirts of Vicenza with 2km to go and still 20 seconds in hand, it was apparent that he would bring home the win. Nobody had the manpower to organize a chase and so the Italian was able to cross the line in solo fashion to take home his second win in the race.


Behind, Ramunas Navardauskas won the sprint for second ahead of Mezgec and Pozzato and the Garmin rider was unaware of the lone escapee and so he celebrated as he crossed the line. On the contrary, Cavendish banged his wheel in frustration when he finished more than 1 minute behind Visconti.


All the top 10 riders on GC finished safely in the bunch - except Carlos Betancur who punctured with 1,5km to go and so will get the same time as the peloton - and so Nibali kept his race lead. He faces a much harder challenge in tomorrow's stage, the first of three in the Dolomites, as the 20km mountains time trial has the potential to shake up the general classification.


Starting at 14.15 you can follow the entire stage on


An easy start

Omega Pharma-Quick Step made their intentions clear from the start of the 214km stage 17 to Vicenza and so most riders knew that the early break would not stand much of a chance. Hence, the first attack ended up as the successful one and Dockx, Durbridge and Belkov took off inside the first kilometer.


Rubiano chased the trio down and the four riders were allowed to build up a gap of a little more than four minutes before Omega Pharma-Quick Step started to chase. Iljo Keisse did the early work and he was later assisted by Albert Timmer and Patrick Gretsch from Argos-Shimano who hoped for Mezgec in a sprint finish.


Orica-GreenEdge disrupts the chase

With 124km to go Orica-GreenEdge decided to disrupt the chase by launching Christian Meier and later Jens Mouris up the road. However, Michal Golas (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) was right in the wheel of the latter and everybody was brought back into the fold. Instead, Bert De Backer (Argos-Shimano) and Keisse took over at the front to set a steady pace for most of the remainder of the stage.


The gap was now down to less than 3 minutes but the peloton decided to take it extremely easy which allowed the front group to extend their advantage to more than 5 minutes. With 70km to go, the quartet decided to start going hard and that forced the peloton to react. The relaxed mood was replaced by full concentration as the peloton got strung out and the teams started to gather their riders near the front.


Cannondale contributes at the front

Cannondale also decided to chip in with Cameron Wurf doing some pace-setting for plenty of kilometres and De Backer, Keisse and Wurf were able to gradually reduce the gap. As the peloton entered some extremely narrow roads with around 35km to go, the battle for position intensified while Bekov dropped off on a small hill and was quickly picked up by the peloton.


With less than 30km to go, Vini Fantini hit the front with Proni taking a strong turn on the front and moments later they hit the bottom of the day's only climb. That quickly brought an end to the sprinters' ambitions and instead Visconti emerged victorious.



1. Giovanni Visconti 5.15.34

2. Ramunas Navardauskas +0.19

3. Luka Mezgec

4. Filippo Pozzato

5. Danilo Hondo

6. Salvatore Puccio

7. Sacha Modolo

8. Fabio Felline

9. Francisco Ventoso

10. Cadel Evans


General classification:

1. Vincenzo Nibali 63.11.29

2. Cadel Evans +1.26

3. Rigoberto Uran +2.46

4. Michele Scarponi +3.53

5. Przemyslaw Niemiec +4.13

6. Mauro Santambrogio +4.57

7. Carlos Betancur +5.15

8. Rafal Majka +5.20

9. Benat Intxausti +5.47

10. Domenico Pozzovivo +7.34


Points classification:

1. Mark Cavendish 113

2. Cadel Evans 109

3. Mauro Santambrogio 89

4. Giovanni Visconti 86

5. Carlos Betancur 85


Mountains classification:

1. Stefano Pirazzi 79

2. Giovanni Visconti 45

3. Jackson Rodriguez 41

4. Carlos Betancur 32

5. Robinson Chalapud 31


Youth classification:

1. Carlos Betancur 73.16.44

2. Rafal Majka +0.05

3. Wilco Kelderman +9.49

4. Darwin Atapuma +16.19

5. Diego Rosa +30.00


Teams classification:

1. Team Sky 219.16.11

2. Astana +4.27

3. Blanco +4.58

4. Movistar +5.02

5. Lampre +7.39



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