May 22, 2013 – Italian Giovanni Visconti soloed to victory in the 17th stage of the Giro d’Italia on Wednesday to hand his Movistar team their fourth win of the race. Overall race leader Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) retained the pink jersey with a 1min 26sec lead on Australian rival Cadel Evans (BMC) intact after the 214 km ride from Caravaggio to Vicenza. Nibali won the Tour of Spain in 2010, was a runner-up on the Giro in 2011 and also finished third at last year’s Tour de France.
Despite having the chance to take a step closer to his first ‘maglia rosa’ (pink jersey) on Thursday’s 18th stage, an uphill time trial over 20.6 km, the Italian refused to rule out the threat of 2011 Tour de France champion Evans. But he said he would still remain cautious of Evans in the event he stretched his lead over the Australian to two minutes ahead of two key stages in the high mountains.
“I’ve always done well on mountain time trials,” said Nibali. “Two minutes would be a good lead. But I don’t want to make any predictions. Evans has always been up at the front of the race and he’s pedaling very well.”
It is Visconti’s second stage win of this year’s race following his triumphant climb to the finish on the Galibier on stage 15 and adds to stage wins by teammates Alex Dowsett and Benat Intxausti.
Britain’s Mark Cavendish, meanwhile, dropped out of contention for a potential bunch sprint finish after struggling on the stage’s only climb, whose summit was 18 km from the finish.
It was on the latter part of the Crosara climb that Visconti made his move, the Italian attacking from the main peloton and catching, then overtaking, leading pair Danilo Di Luca (Vini Fantini) and Miguel Rubiano (Androni).
Rubiano tried to follow, but Visconti upped the pace after cresting the climb and quickly went on to build a 30-sec lead which proved decisive. Ramunas Navardauskas was next over the finish line 19sec later, the Lithuanian, who rides for Garmin, raising his hands in the air in the mistaken belief he had won the stage. It is the second such occurance in the race. On stage nine Colombian Carlos Betancur raised his arms in triumph shortly after Russian Maxim Belkov had claimed the honors.
After the 18th stage time trial, Friday and Saturday’s stages are both scheduled to be held at high altitude in the Italian Dolomites, although both could be altered by race organizers due to the expectation of snow and freezing conditions.
The 96th edition of the race finishes Sunday in Brescia.
Giro d’Italia Stage 17
1.Giovanni Visconti (ITA/MOV) 5:15:34
2. Ramunas Navardauskas (LTU/GRM) @ :19
3. Luka Mezgec (SLO/ARG) s.t.
4. Filippo Pozzato (ITA/LAM) s.t.
5. Danilo Hondo (GER/RSH) s.t.
6. Salvatore Puccio (ITA/SKY) s.t.
7. Sacha Modolo (ITA/AND) s.t.
8. Fabio Felline (ITA/AND) s.t.
9. Francisco Ventoso (ESP/MOV) s.t.
10. Cadel Evans (AUS/BMC) s.t.
General classification After Stage 17
1. Vincenzo Nibali (ITA/AST) 73:11:29
2. Cadel Evans (AUS/BMC) at 1:26
3. Rigoberto Uran (COL/SKY) 2:46
4. Michele Scarponi (ITA/LAM) 3:53
5. Przemyslaw Niemiec (POL/LAM) 4:13
6. Mauro Santambrogio (ITA/FAR) 4:57
7. Carlos Betancur (COL/ALM) 5:15
8. Rafal Majka (POL/SAX) 5:20
9. Benat Intxausti (ESP/MOV) 5:47
10. Robert Gesink (NED/BLA) 7:24
Selected: 15. Samuel Sanchez (ESP/EUS) 8:36