Damien Monier of Cofidis scored the first win of his seven-year professional career in today’s Stage 17 of the Giro d’Italia between Bruneck to Peio Terme on a day when the overall leaders seemed happy to let a 19-man breakaway containing no rider within 15 minutes of the maglia rosa head off up the road.
In the end, the main contenders, presumably happy to enjoy a relatively calm day following the ardours of the previous two stages, which saw a summit finish on the Zoncolan on Sunday followed by a mountain time trial to Plan de Corones yesterday, came in almost 10 minutes behind, with no change to the top of the general classification as they kept a watchful eye on each other during the final climb.
The escapees included Team Sky’s Steve Cummings and Katusha’s Mikhail Ignatiev plus AG2R La Mondiale’s Alexander Efemkin, best placed in the overall standings, 18 minutes 57 seconds down on overall leader David Arroyo.
But as the group headed up the day’s final climb – albeit a much gentler one than those suffered in recent days – three riders got off the front of the escape group, the 28-year-old Monier, who has spent his whole career with Cofidis, Lampre’s Danilo Hondo, who finished second, and Steven Kruijswijk from Rabobank.
Tomorrow's Stage 18 into Brescia may suit the few sprinters left in the race, and is followed by what will be crucial mountain stages featuring the Mortirolo on Friday and the Gavia on Sunday. With the way this year's race has panned out, that may well not resolve the destination of the maglia rosa, setting up a potentially decisive individual time trial in Verona on Sunday.
Stage and race standings to follow.
Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.