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Stefano Pirazzi sprints to Giro 17th stage win

Italian Stefano Pirazzi (Bardiani-CSF) celebrates his victory as he crosses the finish line of the 17th stage of the ...

Italian Stefano Pirazzi (Bardiani-CSF) celebrates his victory as he crosses the finish line of the 17th stage of the 97th Giro d'Italia. Photo: AFP

Italian Stefano Pirazzi (Bardiani-CSF) has held off a small group of chasers in the home straight to claim his maiden Giro d'Italia victory from the race's 17th stage.

Race leader Nairo Quintana (Movistar) crossed the finish line with the main peloton and his closest rivals nearly 15 minutes later following a 208km trek from Sarnonico to Vittorio Veneto that saw a breakaway go unchallenged all the way to the finish.

Quintana, the runner-up on last year's Tour de France, spent his first day in the race's fabled 'maglia rosa' (pink jersey) to retain his 1 minute 41 second lead on Rigoberto Uran (Omega-Pharma) and 3:21 cushion on Australian Cadel Evans (BMC).

But it was a tense day in the saddle for the 24-year-old Colombian, who was accused of foul play following his victory on stage 16 when he took the jersey from Uran, last year's runner-up.

Uran's Omega-Pharma team were on Tuesday one of several to accuse organisers, and Quintana, of foul play following an official radio announcement during the rain-plagued 16th stage that suggested the descent of the treacherous Stelvio climb would be 'neutralised' - effectively not raced - because of the dangers posed by cold and wet conditions.

Organisers later claimed they had simply said a motorbike rider would be placed at the front of the race to warn of any dangers on the road ahead.

As some teams and riders heeded the organisers' 'advice', others, like Quintana, forged on ahead regardless.

With moods tense, there was little reaction from the main bunch when an early breakaway formed and went on to build a healthy lead that stood at 12 minutes with a little over 50km remaining.

After a series of attacks and counter-attacks in the closing kilometres, Pirazzi broke free in the final 1.3km and just thwarted a small chasing group from ending his bid metres before the line.

On Thursday the race moves back into the mountains on the 18th stage from Belluno to Panarotta Refuge.

Two mountain passes, the San Pellegrino and the Redebus, will be crossed before the peloton tackle the 16.8km rise to the finish.


1 comment so far

  • A grubby performance from Movistar Team and Team Sky. Team Sky are well known for not respecting the rules of the competition, but we can now add Movistar.

    There are photo's of motorbikes with red flags and Quintana's group behind, which is fine. But magically there is none showing them go past the red flagged motorbike - but they somehow did.

    Quintana is a disgrace to the sport, as are the organisers of the Giro for not enforcing their rules and then pretending that they hadn't neutralised the descent. Heads should roll.

    Date and time
    May 29, 2014, 10:27AM

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