|Beñat Intxausti gave Movistar their third stage win of the tour today|
Today the GC contenders forced each other to race. After the large break was caught, the top contenders attacked each other relentlessly on the final lap into Ivrea. Sammy Sanchez, Michele Scarponi and others did their best trying to get some time back from the seemingly invincible Vincenzo Nibali.
As the finish drew nearer, some saw the opportunity for a stage win. In the end, the trio of Beñat Intxausti (Movistar), Tanel Kangert (Astana) and Przemyslaw Niemiec (Lampre) had a gap, and sprinted for the finish. Movistar’s young all-arounder timed his sprint perfectly after Niemiec jumped early.
A big loser today was Vini Fantini’s Mauro Santambrogio, who got caught out on the climb to Andrate and lost over two minutes to the Pink Jersey holder, Astana’s Vincenzo Nibali. Santambrogio, whose name has been buzzing in the media for fine performances in the mountains, drops from 4th to 6th place on the General Classification.
Team Lampre’s leader, Michele Scarponi moves up to 4th, and has a 1:07 deficit to the 3rd podium spot, currently occupied by Team Sky’s Rigoberto Uran. Uran might breathe a small sigh of relief as Santambrogio had been trailing his 3rd place spot by only one second before giving up 2:10 to the leader today. Still in first and second places are Nibali and BMC’s top man, Cadel Evans.
|Stage 17 Profile|
You can see from the profile that Wednesday’s 17th stage from Caravaggio to Vicenza has a bump at the end similar to stage 16. This hill however is only half as high.
The Cosara climb begins near km 193. Unlike yesterday, it does not come after quite as many kilometers, nor does the stage begin with a big climb into the snowy Alps. The first 192 kms are virtually flat.
|The Crosara climb summits at 16 kms to the finish|
The Crosara climb is a category 4. What does that mean? Well, not much. Although Wednesday’s climb to Crosara is half as high as Tuesday’s climb to Andrato, the very stingy Giro d’Italia categorizations for climbs don’t always tell the whole story.
Crosara is 5,3 km long and the first half averages around 9%. It hits parts of 12% and has a 363-meter drop on some narrow roads. So, this little cat. 4 will serve as another fine launch pad for hungry stage hunters.
I was wrong today, so I won't presume that the GC guys will not race for this one. Though I still think with Nibali riding as strong as he is, it doesn’t seem likely that he will let anyone get away here to chew away at his lead. And with the uphill time trial coming the next day, many will want to save some energy.