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Giro d'Italia Stage 17: Kluge denies sprinters their chance

Nizzolo finally wins a sprint ... but still gets 2nd place, his 10th in home Grand Tour

Roger Kluge of IAM Cycling, the Swiss team that announced this week it would be folding at the end of this season, has won Stage 17 of the Giro d’Italia as Trek-Segafredo’s Giacomo Nizzolo missed a chance to end his unenviable record of second-place finishes in sprint stages.

Steven Kruijswijk of LottoNL-Jumbo retains the race leader’s maglia rosa with a lead of 3 minutes on a day when the top of the general classification was unchanged.

Defending points champion and leading that classification again this year following the departure of Lotto-Soudal’s Andre Greipel, Nizzolo has never won a stage of his home Grand Tour but now has 10 runner’s-up spots to his name.

Today, he won the sprint, but it was only for second place with Kluge having crossed the line a moment before.

The German had responded to a solo attack inside the final kilometre by Pippo Pozzato of Wilier-Southeast, who made his move as the final rider in the break, Lotto-Soudal’s Lars Bak, was about to be swept up.

Bak had been one of three riders to get off the front of the main group following the intermediate sprint, which came with around 30 kilometres to go, three bridging across to the day’s break, also comprising three men.

A past Giro d’Italia stage stage winner, the Dane urged his companions on to try and keep away to the finish.

While for some time they managed to maintain an advantage of 30 seconds or so, the advantage began to fall as they approached the final 10 kilometres with Trek-Segafredo and Dimension Data among the teams leading the chase.

With 5 kilometres left, they still had a quarter of a minute over the chasing bunch, but with Lampre-Merida putting in a burst on behalf of Sacha Modolo, second in the points classification to Nizzolo this morning, the breakaway was doomed.

So too, however, were the efforts of the sprinters’ teams as first Pozzato then Kluge attacked, and they – and Nizzolo – will now have to wait until the final stage in Turin on Sunday for their chance.

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.

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