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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Wednesday, May 24, 2017

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2017 Tour de France | 2017 Giro d'Italia

Let a man walk ten miles steadily on a hot summer's day along a dusty English road, and he will soon discover why beer was invented. - G. K. Chesterton

Current Racing:

Latest completed racing:

Giro d'Italia news

We'll start with the report from stage 16 winner Vincenzo Nibali's Bahrain-Merida team:

Melanoma: It Started with a Freckle

Bormio, May 23rd – Team BAHRAIN MERIDA captain Vincenzo Nibali wins the Queen Stage of the Giro d’Italia (ST16 Rovetta-Bormio, 222 km), outsprinting Mikel Landa in a two-up sprint to the line. Nairo Quintana finished third (+12”). In the GC The Shark moves into third place (+1’12”).

What a memorable day for Team BAHRAIN MERIDA at the 100th edition of the Giro d’Italia. Our leader Vincenzo Nibali takes the first win for our Team at this Grand Tour and the first Italian win of this year’s Corsa Rosa.

“Too bad that I couldn’t raise my arms to celebrate at the finish” smiles Vincenzo after his victory in stage 16 “I believe It was a spectacular stage for the fans of cycling and my fans too of course. I would like to thank all of them, because they are always supporting me. I worked well together with Landa and I pushed really hard in the descent. It was hard to do the final sprint, but I succeeded to win it and I’m really happy”.

In the Queen Stage (222km stage from Rovetta to Bormio) – featuring the Mortirolo climb and a double pass over the Stelvio for a total elevation of 5.500m – the Shark showed all his power. With an attack with 20 km to go to chase the leader of the race Landa and then giving a masterclass lesson in the downhill towards the finish in Bormio, where he outsprinted him in a two-up sprint to the line. Quintana tried to resist to Nibali’s attack, but he was forced to loose time in the descent too, finishing third, 12” behind Vincenzo.

Vincenzo Nibali

Vincenzo Nibali (right) wins stage 16.

It was a dramatic day for Tom Dumoulin. The Dutch rider keeps the Pink Jersey, with an heroic performance after he suffered from a stomach problem. In the GC now he reduces his advantage, with Quintana 30” behind and Nibali that moves into third (+1’12”).

Speaking after the race Sports Director Gorazd Stangelj comments: “It was a very strange day, with an early breakaway with a lot of important riders. At the end it was important not to loose nerve and be cold-blooded. We kept calm and maybe with a little luck we were rewarded”.

Here's what Nairo Quintana's Movistar team had to say about the day's racing:

The Queen stage of the 2017 Giro d'Italia -222km between Rovetta and Bormio, including the hellish climbs of Mortirolo (Cat-1), Stelvio (Cima Coppi) and Umbrailpass (Cat-1)- turned suddenly from a balanced fight between the GC contenders to complete runaway, as a result of a call of nature for race leader Tom Dumoulin (SUN), stopping by the side of the road just before the foot of the last ascent.

The Movistar Team, which had sent three of their riders to the front in Andrey Amador, Winner Anacona and Gorka Izagirre at the Mortirolo climb, following a first hour of racing exceeding 50km covered, saw their riders getting back to the GC group -Nairo had until then been supported by De La Parte, Herrada, Rojas and Sutherland- as Bahrain-Merida and Katusha picked up the pace.

An acceleration with 5km from the top of the Umbrailpass, as Dumoulin approached from almost 1'30" lost to within one minute, left Quintana in the lead of a shrunk favourites' group, alongside Nibali (TBM), Pozzovivo (ALM) and Zakarin (KAT). The Italian later countered that move with an attack just before the summit, which Nairo followed to open the gaps on his rivales - most notably Pinot (FDJ), who was already more than 30 seconds behind.

At the fast downhill, Nibali took his chances and gained a decisive few seconds on Nairo, the Colombian taking 3rd at the finish (2" behind the Italian and Spaniard Mikel Landa, who was chased down halfway through the descent). Behind them, Dumoulin resisted after his misfortune, only conceding 2'06" on Quintana -2'10", including the four-second bonus for Nairo- and staying 31" ahead of the 'Cóndor' to retain the Maglia Rosa. Nibali, in turn, now sits 1'12" down in 3rd place, just 41" after Nairo.

Nibali and Quintana

Nibali leads Nairo Quintana up the Umbrail Pass

The telephone squad thus gained massive terrain in the first of five big mountain days in the Giro - prior to Sunday's ITT showdown from Monza to Milano. Wednesday will bring another long day (219km), with the early climbs of Aprica (Cat-2) and Tonale (Cat-2), yet with no big vertical gains in the last 40km to Canazei. The Movistar Team will start their day down to eight riders after Daniele Bennati withdrew from the race, the man from Arezzo having also tried to make part of the early breaks before pulling out.

And here's the Giro stage 16 report from Katusha-Alpecin:

KATUSHA ALPECIN’S team leader Ilnur Zakarin had good legs on the Umbrailpass and managed to gain time on rivals just behind him. Zakarin took fifth place on the stage and currently holds 5th on the general classification, as well. A untimely stop on the roadside to take a nature break was almost the undoing of maglia rosa Tom Dumoulin (Team Sunweb) but he fought back to keep the race lead by 31-seconds.

“This was a good effort today for Zakarin. We were planning to do something, but it was a bit confusing when the leader stopped for an emergency toilet break. Zakarin tried to attack but I stopped him while we tried to get a better understanding from the car what was happening. Instead of attacking he continued to follow the other guys. He found a good rhythm with (Nairo) Quintana and (Domenico) Pozzovivo but it was impossible to gain time on the downhill because we know that is not his best skill. He lost some 30-seconds from Nibali on the stage but for me it is OK as he gained time on some of his other rivals,” said sports director Dmitry Konyshev.

Ilnur Zakarin

Ilnur Zakarin leads Domenico Pozzovivo up the Umbrail

Stage 16 from Rovetta to Bormio (222k) was won by former 2x Giro winner Vencenzo Nibali (Bahrain Merida) with a time of 6:24:22, giving the Italian cycling fans their first stage win in the 2017 race. Second place on even-time went to Mikel Landa of Team Sky with Quintana (Movistar) in third at 12-seconds. Zakarin was fifth at 34-seconds with Pozzovivo (AG2R La Mondiale) ten seconds ahead of him for fourth.

Dumoulin lost more than 2-minutes of his former advantage but still wears the pink jersey by 31-seconds to Quintana. Nibali is third (+1.12), Thibaut Pinot is fourth (+2.38) and Zakarin is 5th at +2.40. With more climbs still to come, including three mountain stages, Zakarin will continue to fight for a podium placing in the Italian tour.

Stage 17 on Wednesday is another long one at 219k. It begins in Tirano and ends with an uphill run in Canazei.

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