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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Thursday, May 30, 2019

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2018 Tour de France | 2018 Giro d'Italia

For every minute you remain angry, you give up sixty seconds of peace of mind. - Ralph Waldo Emerson

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Giro d'Italia stage 17 team reports

We posted the reports from the race organizer and GC leader Richard Carapaz's Movistar Team with the results.

Stage winner Nans Peters' Ag2r La Mondiale team sent me this update:

NANS PETERS: "This is huge"
“It's amazing. I haven’t realized it yet. I have now won my first victory among the pros, and in a Grand Tour. It's magical. Eight of us escaped on the first climb. I ended up in a group with a bunch of big names, but I didn’t let myself get too excited. I did my best to stay fresh for the final kilometers. And then I really focused at the end. I attacked only once with about 15 kilometers to go to the finish, and then I managed my effort well. With 1.5 kilometers to go to the line, I realized it was going to be enough. I could hear Arturas in my hear telling me that there was no one within sight of me behind. The team had a difficult day yesterday. This win give us the chance to continue on a good note.”

Nanas Peters

Nans Peters enjoys his time on the podium. Note, the podium girls are dressed very warmly.

ARTURAS KASPUTIS: "A beautiful emotion"
"I had a great day. Nans was in a breakaway with champions, and he behaved like a champion, too. He managed his race well, he did not panic and he attacked at the right time. We did do a recon of the final section for this stage after the Tour des Alpes, so he knew how to manage his lead. It’s been eight years since the team has won a stage at the Giro. It's a beautiful emotion.”

THE NUMBER: 8
The AG2R LA MONDIALE team had not won the Giro d'Italia since John Gadret's victory in 2011 during the 11th stage.

THE NEWS: 6th win of the season
Nans Peters’ victory today, his first as a professional, is the 6th win of the season for the AG2R LA MONDIALE team. The other riders who have raised their arms in victory this season are:

Here's the report from second-place Esteban Chaves' Mitchelton-Scott team:

Colombian Esteban Chaves has finished an emotional second place on stage 17 of the Giro d’Italia, a spirited result after his comeback from sickness last year.

The 2016 Giro d’Italia runner up spent nine months away from racing after being diagnosed with Epstein-Barr after last year’s Italian Grand Tour.

Despite still returning to his best form, today’s result to finish behind winner Nans Peters (AG2R La Mondiale) from the breakaway is a positive sign for Chaves and Mitchelton-SCOTT.

Esteban Chaves

Esteban Chaves on the day's final climb. Sirotti photo

A fast downhill kicked off proceedings on stage 17, before an uncategorised climb allowed a breakaway to form.

Chaves made the initial move of 11 on the climb, before a second group bridged across on the descent to make 18 up front.  The peloton let the elastic snap and their advantage grew to over five minutes, with the bunch only keen to protect their top-10 positions.

Whilst the group initially worked together, the attacks began on the penultimate climb with Chaves initially distanced.  Staying calm, Chaves worked his way back to the front.

Peters was the first to attack before Chaves joined Valerio Conti (UAE Team Emirates) and Krists Neilands (Israel Cycling Academy) in the chase on the uphill finish to the line.

The trio trailed by one-minutes before Conti and Neilands dropped off the pace leaving Chaves to chase alone in the last four kilometres. Despite a brave chase, the 29-year-old couldn’t close the gap, settling for second place.

Whilst the stage battle was run and won, the action continued behind with attacks from Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo) and Mikel Landa (Movistar Team) causing splits between the general classification contenders.

Mitchelton-SCOTT leader Simon Yates was on the wrong side of them, but was surrounded by teammates in his final push to the line and eventually maintained eighth overall.

Esteban Chaves:
“Second is good but also you have this strange taste in your mouth. But anyway, we will continue to try until the end of the Giro.

“It’s beautiful but it’s a lot of suffering as well. I am not 100% in my best shape but I have to try and I believe in myself. I dropped in the second last climb but I just kept riding, kept believing, I’m got back in the group and I played my cards. 

“The first objective for the stages to go is of course to keep Simon as high as possible on the general classification. And, Mikel (Nieve), (Lucas) Hamilton and myself to look to go in breakaways, like we did today, to be there to drop back if Simon needs or try for the stage ourselves.”

Matt White – Head Sport Director:
“It was a close call, it was our fourth second-place. We said we came here to race and we’ve continued with that trend today.

“We wanted someone in the breakaway to try to win the stage and Esteban was the man for today. We gave 100% and we came up a little bit short but not through a lack of trying.

“The other boys looked after Simon incredibly well and to have two teammates in the final, that has saved him some valuable seconds on the run into the line with Lucas and Mikel being there.”

Third-place Davide Formolo's Bora-hansgrohe team sent me this:

Stage 17 took in three categorised climbs on the way from Commezzadura to Anterselva, in south Tyrol where an uphill finale awaited the riders after 181 km in the saddle. Although the route contained only one Category 4 and two category 3 climbs, around 2.800 vertical metres still had to be conquered. The first two ascents came in 108 and 129km respectively.

About 28km before the finish, the terrain went uphill again, before the riders arrived at the foot of the final 5.5km long climb. This ascent was particularly demanding, with an average gradient of 8.5 per cent. After the Flamme rouge, the remaining course took the riders to a flat finish in the Biathlon Stadium of Anterselva. Several breakaway attempts at the start of the race remained fruitless but after 40 km a group of 11 riders were able to break free.

On the sinuous descent of the unclassified climb, a small group, among them Davide Formolo, joined the leaders up front. The main field, led by Movistar, was contend to give the breakaway some rope and the advantage to the peloton stretched to more than 6 minutes at the half way mark of the race.  At the foot of the ascent to Elvas, a sole rider attacked out of the breakaway and was able carve out a small advantage over his breakaway companions. 

Back in the peloton, Movistar was joined by Bahrain-Merida and Ineos in the pace making. In the meantime, up front Davide Formolo was able to bridge to a 7-men group that escaped the lead and together they were able to distance themselves from the chasing group which in turn had an advantage of 6 minutes to the main field. With only 27km to go, the chasers caught up to the leaders and together they had an advantage of 5:50 ahead of the peloton. With such a big gap to the peloton, it became evident that the winner of today's stage would come from the leading group.

It was not long until some of the leaders attacked within the last 8km. On the climb to the finish Nans Peters was able to get a minute on the chasing group which continued Davide Formolo. On the last kilometres Davide tried to fight his way back to the sole leader while back in the main field several of the GC contenders attacked to gain time. 

In the end Nans Peters won the stage convincingly ahead of E. Chaves and D. Formolo who now sits in 10th Position in the general classification. His teammate Rafal Majka, who was in some difficulties on the ascent to the finish, lost one place in the GC, now sitting in 7th position.

Davide Formolo

Davide Formolo at the 2018 Giro. Sirotti photo

From the finish line:
"Yesterday was a tough day and we didn't know what would be possible today. We wanted to try and get into the breakaway because there was a good chance that they might succeed. I was able to get into the break and we carved out a considerable advantage to the main field. In the end it became clear that the winner of todays' stage would come from the group of escapees and I wanted to give my best to have a chance. In the end it wasn't enough and I could not catch up to the sole leader but I am still happy with third place." - Davide Formolo

“Big congratulations to Davide Formolo after he invested a lot of energy on yesterday’s stage to support our GC leader, Rafal Majka, which he did superbly. Today he had free license and he took the chance with both hands. He was part of a large breakaway, which fought it out for the stage win, and in the end, he took third place. After his performance, he gained 5 minutes in the general classification and now lies in the top ten overall. Today was a difficult day for Pascal Ackermann, but he managed to rejoin the field with the assistance of Rüdiger Selig and Michael Schwarzmann, after he lost the connection to the group earlier on. Now we turn our attention to tomorrow’s stage, where we’ll see what we can do.” - Christian Poemer, Sports Director 

And here's the report UAE-Team Emirates sent me:

UAE Team Emirates’ Valerio Conti showed his class with another strong performance in stage 17 of the Giro d’Italia and was rewarded with a top ten spot, finishing 2’08” behind the stage winner Nans Peter (AG2r La Mondiale).

Team mate Jan Polanc dropped down a single place in the General Classification and currently sits in 11th, 9’20” behind the race leader Richard Carapaz (Movistar) with three stages left of this year’s Giro to go.

It was another thrilling day in the mountains as the peloton rode the 181km route from Commezzadura to a summit finish at Anterselva, 1635m above sea level. Even after two and half weeks of riding, the pace was high at the front of the race, splintering the bunch as it tried to keep the early breakaway on a manageable leash over two classified climbs and the 5,5 km uphill finale, which decided both the race and shook up the GC standings.

With 8kms to go Conti popped off the front of his breakaway group as they tried to close the gap on the solo rider, Nans Peter, who was holding a solid minute over those behind. His move animated race and forced more of the GC contenders to follow – who then began to attack each other time and time again. The pace was too intense for Conti who slipped back and came in behind the leaders with just over a two minute deficit on the winner.

Commenting the stage, Conti said: “I was aiming to get a good result for the team. Unfortunately I’ve been suffering with physical problems for the last few days which hampered my pedalling a bit, so despite the effort I couldn’t take the win. It was a big fight for the breakaway but I made it. The final climb was extremely selective and everyone is really tired now.”

Tomorrow the team will tackle a mammoth 222km route from Valdaora to Santa Maria di Sala, but have some respite from the climbing with only one category 4 ramp along the way.

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