ORICA-GreenEDGE keep Chaves safe in second on stage 17 of the Giro d’Italia

Wed 25 May 2016

ORICA-GreenEDGE spent stage 17 of the Giro d’Italia successfully keeping second place Esteban Chaves out of harms way as the peloton hurtled along behind the days early breakaway.

With no change in the general classification, Colombian Chaves stays in second place ahead of tomorrow's long stage 18 from Muggio to Pinerolo. At 240kilometres to length, the stage is flat for the first 170km before two brutally steep but short climbs just before the technical descent to the finish.

Sport director Matt White was happy with how intelligently the team raced today.

“I was surprised that the race wasn’t more aggressive today,” said White. “It was probably the last real stage for the sprinters and I expected it to be a lot more explosive than it actually was.”

“The style of racing suited our objectives for the stage because we were able to keep Esteban (Chaves) in a good, safe position throughout the day without too many issues.

“The team rode very intelligently all day long,” continued White. “Everyone stuck to their tasks really well and with all the top ten on general classification finishing together there was no change and Esteban is still up there in second.”

“Tomorrow could turn out to be a very interesting stage, particularly the last climb. It’s very steep with a tricky descent and after 220kilometres its going to feel even harder.”

How it happened:

Perfect conditions welcomed the riders to the start of stage 17 by the gorgeous lake Molveno in the South Tyrol/Trentino region.

With 196kilometres ahead of them the peloton rolled through the picturesque neutral zone behind the pink jersey of race leader Steven Kruijswijk (LottoNL-Jumbo).

Daniel Oss (BMC) was again the principle instigator of the early breakaway, escaping with two other riders within the first ten kilometres. After 40kilometres of racing the trio had developed a lead of five and a half minutes over the field.

The first half of the stage was raced over undulating rolling roads around Lake Molveno with two short climbs coming before the 100kilometre mark. The breakaway group of Oss worked well together and was still holding the gap to the peloton at five minutes 30seconds after 70kilometres of racing.

The final climb of the day was the fourth category Passo Sant’Eusebio followed by a descent past the city of Brescia and a flat 60kilometre run to the finish in Cassano d’Adda.

Pavel Brutt (Tinkoff) and Eugert Zhupa (Willier-Southeast) were the companions of Oss in the breakaway and with 60kilometres left to race the three leader's advantage had fallen to three minutes. Trek-Segafredo and Lampre-Merida were the two teams trying to bring things back together for the peloton with Dimension-Data starting to get involved going into the final 50kilometres.

Twenty kilometres later and the lead of the breakaway had been halved to one-minute 30seconds with Oss claiming the intermediate sprint points as the race entered the province of Bergamo.

Three more riders led by Lars Bak (Lotto-Soudal) bridged across to the Oss trio with 20kilometres to go, but the now rampaging peloton were only 20seconds behind and closing fast. The six leaders, however, began to put more time into the Dimension-Data led peloton with Bak the driving force behind the acceleration and renewed rotations.

With ten kilometres left to race the gap was being held at 20seconds with the six out front effectively team time trialling their way towards the finish.

Oss and company were finally caught inside the final two kilometres with Bak immediately attacking again followed by Filippo Pozzato (Willer-Southeast) and Roger Kluge (IAM-Cycling).

Pozzato passed Bak with one kilometre to go before Kluge caught the wheel of Pozzato and then jumped clear in the last few hundred metres and soloed to the finish just ahead of the bunch sprint for second place.

Stage 18 takes place tomorrow and covers 240kilometres from Muggio to Pinerolo. The route is pan flat for 170kilometres before reaching rolling roads that lead to two short and steep climbs coming before a fast, technical descent. The finish is flat and held on narrow curving roads in the centre of Pinerolo.

Giro d’Italia stage 17 results:

1. Roger Kluge (IAM-Cycling) 04:31:29
2. Giacomo Nizzolo (Trek-Segafredo) ST
3. Nikias Arndt (Giant-Alpecin) ST
34. Esteban Chaves (ORICA-GreenEDGE) ST 

General classification after stage 17:

1. Steven Kruijswijk (LottoNL-Jumbo) 68:11:39
2. Esteban Chaves (ORICA-GreenEDGE) 00:03:00 
3. Alejandro Valverde (Astana) 00:03:23