May 25, 2016 – German IAM rider Roger Kluge got ahead of the pack in the final kilometer to bamboozle the sprint teams and steal a stage win on a flat run in the 17th stage of the Giro d’Italia on Wednesday.

AFP/Yuzuru Sunada

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There was no change in the overall standings with Dutchman Steven Kruijswijk still leading Esteban Chaves by 3min 03sec and veteran Spaniard Alejandro Valverde by 3min 23sec in third. The 196km run between Molveno and Cassano d’Adda was raced in glorious sunshine and was an opportunity for the overall contenders to relax in the pack as a breakaway formed and was eventually reeled in with few kilometers left to seemingly set up a bunch sprint.

Just as the escape ended, however, Filippo Pozzato made a powerful counter-attack and was only followed by Kluge as the sprint teams, stripped of many of the top contenders such as Marcel Kittel and Andre Greipel who have pulled out, failed to put in a concerted effort to close them down. Kluge, an omnium silver medallist in the last world championships, won with relative ease ahead of Italy’s Giacomo Nizzolo, who has come second in nine Giro stages without ever having won, while another German Nikias Arndt was third.

“I had a good day and it was an easy stage apart from that stressful finish,” explained pre-race favorite and 2013 champion Vicenzo Nibali The Italian Astana leader is fourth overall, but can hope for a place on the podium if all goes to plan in the final mountain stages.

Thursday’s stage is a giant 240km slog back into the Alps between Muggio and Pinerolo and ends with a 5km climb at an average 10.5 percent gradient, before a spectacular daredevil descent to the finish line.

The race for the pink jersey continues in earnest with two big days in the mountains on Friday and Saturday.

 

Final kilometers of Stage 17

Results Stage 17:
1. Roger Kluge (Ger) IAM Cycling 4:31:29
2. Giacomo Nizzolo (Ita) Trek-Segafredo
3. Nikias Arndt (Ger) Team Giant-Alpecin
4. Sacha Modolo (Ita) Lampre – Merida
5. Matteo Trentin (Ita) Etixx – Quick-Step
6. Alexander Porsev (Rus) Team Katusha
7. Pim Ligthart (Ned) Lotto Soudal
8. Ramunas Navardauskas (Ltu) Cannondale Pro Cycling
9. Manuel Belletti (Ita) Wilier Trestina – Southeast
10. Paolo Simion (Ita) Bardiani CSF

General Classification:
1. Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) Team LottoNl-Jumbo 68:11:39
2. Jhoan Esteban Chaves Rubio (Col) Orica-GreenEdge 0:03:00
3. Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Movistar Team 0:03:23
4. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana Pro Team 0:04:43
5. Ilnur Zakarin (Rus) Team Katusha 0:04:50
6. Rafal Majka (Pol) Tinkoff Team 0:05:34
7. Bob Jungels (Lux) Etixx – Quick-Step 0:07:57
8. Andrey Amador Bikkazakova (CRc) Movistar Team 0:08:53
9. Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) AG2R La Mondiale 0:10:05
10. Kanstantsin Siutsou (Blr) Dimension Data 0:11:03