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Thursday, May 26, 2022

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2021 Tour de France | 2022 Giro d'Italia

Happiness is not a matter of intensity but of balance, order, rhythm and harmony. - Thomas Merton

Les Woodland's book Tour de France: The Inside Story - Making the World's Greatest Bicycle Race is available in print, Kindle eBook and audiobook versions. To get your copy, just click on the Amazon link on the right.

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Giro d'Italia Stage 17 team reports

We posted the report from GC leader Richard Carapaz's Team INEOS Grenadiers with the results.

Here's the report from stage winner Santiago Buitrago's Team Bahrain Victorious:

After his courageous effort on stage 15, Santiago Buitrago went in the breakaway again and this time tasted his first Grand Tour victory over the Monterovere, crossing the line in Lavarone solo.

Santiago Buitrago

Santiago Buitrago wins stage 17. Sirotti photo

Buitrago joined an early breakaway of about 20 riders over Passo del Tonale. However, on the descent down, Buitrago was involved in a crash but fortunately had a quick change of bike and was able to stay with the group.

Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix), and Gijs Leemreize (Jumbo-Visma) eventually split the break and jumper clear with 30km to go and gapping the group of Buitrago by over a minute

On the Monterovere, the two riders further up the road began to slow as Buitrago attacked and started to bridge the gap. Van der Poel was the first to be caught, while just at the top of the summit, Buitrago pushed the pace to then distance Leemreize.

An emotional Buitrago crossed the line 35" ahead of Leemreize and felt a sense of redemption after missing out on stage 12: “I’m so happy to have one my first WorldTour stage at a Grand Tour. It was tricky, especially crashing early on in the breakaway. I was dreaming about this, especially after the stage in Cogne when I finished second.

"I’d like to thank the support I got from the team, my family and the supporters because today I’ve realised a dream.”

Meanwhile, in the battle for GC, Mikel Landa moved up to third overall. With the support of his teammates, Landa was able to distance Almeida. Landa now sits just 1:05 behind the Maglia Rosa: it was another hard mountain stage. We took control on the second last climb and pushed the pace to start making the stage harder.

"In the end, we tried to drop some contenders, but we have seen really strong legs from Hindley (Bora) and Carapaz (Ineos), but we’ve gained some seconds on Almeida. It’s a good sign, and I’m happy.

"I’m also happy with the team performance and obviously super happy about Santi’s win. He has tried a couple of times, but today we saw his class. Overall a very good day for us.”

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Here's the race report from second-place Gijs Leemreize's Team Jumbo-Visma:

Gijs Leemreize has come close to winning the seventeenth stage of the Giro d'Italia but was ultimately defeated by Santiago Buitrago. The 22-year-old Dutchman of Team Jumbo-Visma was passed just before the top of the final climb.

Gijs Leemreize

Gijs Leemreize finished second. Sirotti photo

The riders set off in the pouring rain from Ponte di Legno to Lavarone for a 168-kilometre stage. Bouwman, Leemreize and Sam Oomen aimed for a good result and separated themselves from the peloton with 22 other riders.

After Bouwman had taken maximum points on the first climb, he also demonstrated on the Passo del Vetriolo why he's riding in blue. On the summit, the Dutchman again took maximum points. As a result, he now has a lead of 115 points on the number two, Giulio Ciccone.

In the descent of the Vetriolo, Leemreize and Mathieu van der Poel broke away. At the foot of the final climb, the duo had created a good lead on the chasing group, while Bouwman had been dropped. Leemreize rode away from Van der Poel and seemed to have good chances of winning the stage.

However, at about 500 metres from the top, the home-grown talent was caught by Buitrago, who immediately created a gap to his fellow escapee. The Colombian didn't relinquish the victory in the final kilometres. "For now, I am disappointed”, Leemreize said. "For a moment, I thought I could win, but Buitrago was the strongest."

Leemreize was disappointed he couldn't catch up. "I tried to hold him off, but unfortunately, he kept going for another twenty seconds. My legs soured so much that I couldn't keep his wheel. At that moment, I knew I wouldn't see him again. I didn't think beforehand that I would be competing for the victory today."

Bouwman also had a successful day. "It was a great day for the team and me. Gijs competed for the win for a long time and I took a lot of points for the blue jersey. It looks perfect now, but we're not there yet. There are still a lot of points to be earned and if possible, I want to attack in the coming days. Better be safe than sorry."

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Here's the update from GC second-place Jai Hindley's Team Bora-hansgrohe:

After yesterday's tough day of racing, the Giro continued today on a mountainous 168km stage from Ponte di Legno to Lavarone. Right after the start the race went straight uphill, but the two first category climbs over the last 50km presented the biggest challenge.

The peloton left the start in the rain and on the first climb a small group was able to break away and quickly grew to 25 riders on the descent. As the race progressed, Ineos Grenadiers controlled the tempo, while BORA - hansgrohe joined in full team strength behind the British squad. In the end, the escapees settled the day's win among themselves, while back in the reduced Maglia Rosa group, the fight for the jersey continued.

Just as yesterday, Jai Hindley put in a strong performance on the final climb and crossed the finish on Carapaz's wheel. He remains just 3 seconds behind the Ecuadorian in the GC, while other overall favorites lost yet more time to the leading duo today.

Richard Carapaz

Richard Carapaz leads Jai Hindley in the sprint for fifth place. Sirotti photo

"After yesterday's stage, there were certainly some tired and heavy legs in the peloton today. The finale was quite hard, as expected, and the fight in the GC is still extremely close. When there’s no mountaintop finish, it’s harder to make significant time gaps. I may not have made up any time on Carapaz today, but I'm happy to have gained time over the others. Every second counts and the last stage is getting closer. I think the second last stage will be a very decisive one." - Jai Hindley

"At the beginning of the stage the weather was particularly bad, which stands in stark contrast to the previous days when it was usually quite hot. In such conditions it is always difficult to assess the form of other riders. At one point we had five riders in the Maglia Rosa group, and the guys protected Jai very well there. Then in the final climb it all came down to the legs. Jai performed well again today, consistently riding at the front of the ever-reducing GC group and quickly responding to Landa's attack. And importantly, Almeida, the strongest time trialist up in the GC, lost quite a bit of time today. So all in all it was a good day." - Enrico Gasparotto, Sports Director

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And here's the report from third-place Jan Hirt's Team Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert:

Only 24 hours after his stage victory in Aprica, Jan Hirt climbed again onto the podium in the seventeenth stage of the Tour of Italy. Thanks to a second consecutive breakaway, the Czech rider finished third, bettering once more his position in the general classification.

Almost immediately after the start in Ponte di Legno, Rein Taaramäe and Hirt took advantage from the Passo del Tonale to attack and distance the peloton in a group of 25 riders.

Thanks to the work of the Estonian rider, the breakaway managed to win its contest with the peloton and the gap increased to six minutes at the start of the two last climbs, Valico del Vitriolo (11.8 km at 7.7%) and Monterovere (8 km at 9.6%) within the final 40 kilometer.

One day after his victorious breakaway, Jan Hirt climbed on the third step of the podium in Lavarone. Thanks to his performance he wins two positions in the provisional classification, so he now occupies seventh place. With Domenico Pozzovivo, tenth, the Belgian team has still two men in the top ten after this seventeenth stage.

Jan Hirt

Jan Hirt beats Hugh Carthy for third place. Sirotti photo

“Knowing that the start was uphill today, I toyed with the idea of attacking again. When I saw a large group distancing the peloton with some of my contenders for GC, I didn't hesitate one moment and jumped towards this group with the help of Rein Taaramäe. His presence was ideal, just like yesterday with Lorenzo Rota I could benefit from having a teammate in the breakaway. We managed to gain a nice advantage on the peloton so it became clear that I could do a good job in the general classification. I spent quite some energy to maintain this gap and that's why I didn't manage to rival for the stage win today, with riders who were racing with another intension and fresher legs. I'm happy with this new podium for the team and my current seventh place in the general classification. The stage tomorrow is rather flat, so let's hope that we can enjoy some relative rest and that Domenico and I can give all we have left to achieve the best possible result in the three last hard days!” - Jan Hirt

And lastly, this sad news from Simon Yates' Team BikeExchange-Jayco:

Simon Yates abandons the 2022 Giro d'Italia

Double stage winner Simon Yates has abandoned the Giro d’Italia on today’s stage 17 after suffering with ongoing knee pain.

The 29-year-old Brit stormed to victory in the time trial event on stage two before unfortunately crashing on stage four to Mount Etna, which saw the Team BikeExchange-Jayco suffer knee issues on the following stages.

After working with the medical team, Yates was able to continue the race, bouncing back for a phenomenal solo win on stage 14.

Simon Yates

Simon Yates wins stage 14. Sirotti photo

However, with persistent knee issues, the decision was made for Yates to withdraw from the race to make a full recovery.

Dr. Matteo Beltemacchi (Team BikeExchange-Jayco Doctor):
“Yates' fall on Mount Etna and subsequent knee problem (likely edema of the bony spongiosa of the patella) weighed down on the rider for all following stages of the Giro d’Italia.

Despite daily therapy and Simon's tenacity, that resulted in a second stage win, the knee pain grew worse and worse, eventually leading to the decision for his retirement from the race.”

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