Giro d’Italia stage 17: Alberto Dainese wins photo finish as Mark Cavendish misses out
The long, flat downhill transition stage sets up the thrilling closing stages with the GC still wide open.
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Alberto Dainese (Team DSM) won a photo-finish in Wednesday’s 17th stage as the GC riders were on siesta ahead of this weekend’s fireworks.
An early breakaway was inevitably reeled in to set up the bunch sprint, the last until Sunday’s finale in Rome.
Michael Matthews (Jayco-AlUla) opened up the sprint with a long way out, with Dainese and Jonathan Milan (Bahrain Victorious) coming from further back.
Dainese won, with Milan and Matthews rounding out the podium.
“The guys did an outstanding job. I was in front too early so I deflected and waited for someone to start,” Dainese said. “I was able to catch up and pass Matthews right in the last few meters. I have to be honest, I thought I didn’t make it. It’s an immense joy.”
Mark Cavendish (Astana-Qazaqstan) was out of position, and missed out on the last chance for the sprinters until Sunday’s stage in Rome.
SPRINT.#Giro #GirodItalia #TudorWatch pic.twitter.com/YywnJvk6zl
— Giro d’Italia (@giroditalia) May 24, 2023
Geraint Thomas (Ineos Grenadiers) finished safely in the bunch to carry the pink jersey into the weekend.
“It was a crazy bunch finish. Luckily it didn’t rain that much today,” Thomas said. “We are all safe and ready for the next three stages. Wearing the ‘maglia rosa’ on my birthday it will be definitely nice, I hope I can keep it until Rome.”
Nothing decided yet in GC
It was all about the sprinters Wednesday, with the GC riders holding fire for the final weekend of decisive stages.
Everything is still in play with three riders within 30 seconds of each other going into the final three climbing stages of the 2023 Giro.
Thomas will hold his slender lead to Joao Almeida (UAE Team Emirates) in second at 18 seconds backs, and Primož Roglič (Jumbo-Visma) lurking in third at 29 seconds back.
Behind them, there’s another half-dozen riders bucking for a spot in the top-5 and maybe more with the hardest climbing stages looming this weekend.
The Giro continues Thursday with the 161km 18th stage from Oderzo to Val di Zoldo. With all eyes on Friday’s “queen stage” ending at Tre Cime, riders and teams will not want to overlook the rollercoaster profile.
Two moderate climbs and an uphill punctuate the final hour of racing, and it’s likely the stage will see a break contest for the win, with the GC riders holding fire for the finale. Anyone with weaker legs could get spit out with the steep kicker to the line, and create some splits.
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