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LAVARONE, Italy (VN) — The general classification at the Giro d’Italia is still as tight as ever with four stages remaining and pink jersey wearer Richard Carapaz (Ineos Grenadiers) believes small things will make the difference in deciding the overall classification.
Carapaz maintained his very slim three-second lead over Jai Hindley (Bora-Hansgrohe) on stage 17 to Lavarone. The pair sprinted together to the line, with hardly anything to separate them as they crossed it.
Unlike Tuesday’s stage, when Hindley nabbed four seconds on the line, there were no time bonuses on offer. However, their push to the line saw them gain six seconds on Mikel Landa (Bahrain-Victorious).
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As it has been with the entire 2022 Giro d’Italia, GC gains at the top were small with little to separate some of the top riders.
“The details are very important, for example yesterday we lost four seconds in the sprint for third place and we lost the time bonus,” Carapaz said. “These details will be important because in the end the small details will make a big impact.
“I think there are three riders together [in the GC]. Landa is at a very good level and so is Hindley. I think that it’s all the smallest details that will make the big impact in this Giro d’Italia in the general classification.”
At the start of the stage, there were still four riders sitting within a minute of the race lead. With Landa’s small time loss near the line, he is now no longer within a minute of the pink jersey.
Meanwhile, João Almeida (UAE Team Emirates) also slipped outside the minute mark after losing 1:20 on Carapaz and Hindley. Almeida was just 44 seconds back at the start of the stage and his time trialing skills made him a big threat for all of the riders ahead of them, so they were happy to work together to distance him.
“I have very good legs, I feel great, but also other riders and other teams are good. For example, today Bahrain did a great job to drop Almeida,” Carapaz said. “I think they were thinking first to drop him and then maybe get a stage win in the next few stages. I think that today all the GC riders worked to get some advantage when Almeida was dropped.”
The opportunity to make small, or big, differences is quickly diminishing with just two more mountain stages remaining on Friday and Saturday.
The final stage time trial will likely be the place where the biggest changes will happen in the last week of the race, but Carapaz is adamant that he isn’t looking that far ahead as everything could change before the riders arrive in Verona.
“I think there are two very decisive stages before the one in Verona, I see a lot of stress and a lot of tiredness in the peloton. Every day the scenario can change and so can the GC,” Carapaz said.