Alberto Dainese wins stage 17 of the Giro d’Italia, as Geraint Thomas maintains the overall lead.
Alberto Dainese of Italy won stage 17 of the Giro d’Italia, as Britain’s Geraint Thomas held the overall race lead.
Dainese of Team DSM won a picture finish at Caorle over countrymen Jonathan Milan and Australian Michael Matthews.
Thomas of Ineos Grenadiers finished safely in the peloton, defending the pink jersey he reclaimed on Tuesday.
He leads stage 16 winner Joao Almeida by 18 seconds and Jumbo Visma’s Primoz Roglic by 29 seconds.
The general classification battle resumes on Thursday, when Thomas turns 37, with two difficult days in the mountains preceding Saturday’s individual time trial on the last stage.
The 18th stage, 161km from Oderzo to Val Di Zoldo, contains 3,700m of elevation gain, with two categorised climbs within the final 15km including a highest gradient of nearly 20% – before eight consecutive switchbacks lead into the home straight.
The overall race contenders were able to conserve energy on Wednesday’s flat 195km route from Pergine Valsugana, which saw Dainese pace his last push to perfection – but he had a stressful wait to secure his marginal triumph.
The Italian was the very last rider to finish stage 15 due to illness last Thursday, with 48 cyclists abandoning the race after two weeks of terrible weather.
“Today we rode an insane final,” remarked Dainese. “The last metres, I was digging so deep, I was really at my limit, and then I saw Jonathan Milan coming.”
“I’ve been quite sick with stomach issues and my breathing the last few days,” he added. Today was the first day I felt normal, so to win like this after such a long struggle is incredible, and I’m overjoyed.”
“The day was nothing like what we had experienced before,” race organizer Thomas remarked. It was lovely and warm in the end, which is always a plus. It was ideal for recharging our batteries before the three days ahead.”