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GIRO 2017: Nibali wins Stage 16

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Vincenzo Nibali won the Queen stage of the 2017 Giro d’Italia on a day that perfectly suited the drama and controversy of the Giro.

The Italian beat Mikel Landa in a sprint for the line but all eyes were on Dumoulin who spent the final climb chasing the GC group after a poorly timed comfort break at the foot of the climb.

Dumoulin was able to retain his jersey and race lead but lost a significant amount of time to his rivals.


The stage included the category 1 Mortirolo after the first 60km of racing and with this prospect looming a break was reluctant to go right from the off, especially as the stage profile began with the lower slopes and eventually ramped up to the climb proper.


After 40km of small attacks eventually, a group of 10 riders managed to prise themselves away from the peloton with more and more riders coming across as they began the climb. Their lead went out to almost 2′ but with Bahrain-Merida having missed out on the break, Nibali wanted it brought back together so they set about pulling them back.

As the break was about to be caught a flurry of attacks both from the break and the peloton created another group of 25 which managed to get a lead of 1’51” as they went over the summit and began the descent into Bormio before taking on the 100km loop to ride the  Cima Coppia Stelvio and the category 1 Umbraile.

The full breakdown of the 25 riders in the breakaway was Andrey Amador, Jesus Herrada, Gorka Izaguirre (Movistar), Laurens ten Dam (Sunweb), Steven Kruijswijk (LottoNL-Jumbo), Mikel Landa, Vasil Kiryienka, Philip Deignan, Sebastian Henao (Team Sky), Luis Leon Sanchez, Pello Bilbao (Astana), Omar Fraile, Natnael Berhane, Igor Anton (Dimension Data), Pierre Rolland, Joe Dombrowski, Michael Woods (Cannondale-Drapac), Rui Costa, Edward Ravasi (UAE Team Emirates), Laurens De Plus (Quick-Step Floors), Jose Mendes (Bora-Hansgrohe), Manuel Senni (BMC), Alexander Foliforov (Gazprom-Rusvelo), Felix Grosschartner, Jan Hirt (CCC).

The break managed to get down the descent and to the bottom of the Stelvio with their lead mostly intact, at 1’54” with 112km to go as Kiriyenka was putting on the pace at the front of the break with help from Dimension Data and Movistar.

The presence of Amador in the break wasn’t much of a concern for Dumoulin, but it was for Molemma, Zakarin and the other GC men who didn’t have riders in the breakaway and Trek-Segafredo and FDJ were doing some work on the front of the peloton to control the gap, something that helped Team Sunweb out as they looked to protect Dumouiln.

This didn’t stop Kiryienka putting more time into the break’s advantage though and as they began the climb their lead was at 2’43”. The pace of the climb began to take its toll and as the peloton climbed the front group was slowly reduced to around 30 GC riders and their chiefs as the gradient bit hard.

With 87km left to race Tom Dumoulin had lost all of his teammates with the exception of Ten Dam, who was up the road in the break. Meanwhile the pace Kiryienka had put in on the front of the breakaway had cooked many of the riders in the group, and with Deignan taking up the mantle too the break was soon down to just 10 riders.

The remnants of the break were being caught by the maglia rosa group which pretty much included the main GC riders as they worked their way up the Stelvio, with Deignan doing the deed to shell even more riders from the breakaway.

Winner Anacona (Movistar) attacked the GC group as he tried to make it to the 8 leaders and he eventually clawed his way up to them and made contact with 1km of the climb to go to bring Movistar’s break riders back up to 3. Mikel Landa took the points and the prestige atop the Cima Coppi and sat up for his breakaway companions. Their advantage was at 2’25” on the GC group

With 69km to go Amador attacked on the descent with Landa following suit as Kruijsiwjk took up the mantel of the chase for the chasing group behind. Ten Dam had dropped back to the GC group to assist Dumoulin and the pace dropped slightly which allowed riders to get back on and increase the numbers to around 30 riders.

Kruijswijk was able to bring the two leaders back to make the lead group of seven riders with a lead of 2’32” with 50km and one more climb to go. Deignan’s job of pacemaking was soon done as he pulled off leaving six riders in the lead: Landa, Kruijswijk, Amador, Anacona, Anton and Hirt. Without the engines of Deignan and Kiryienka, and little cohesion amongst the riders, their advantage soon came down to just 1’47” with 35km to go.

Kruijswijk decided that he wanted more of an advantage and attacked the break as Landa followed. The pair worked well on the early sections of the climb and managed to carve out a lead of 50″ on the chasers. 

In the peloton Dumoulin had a very poorly timed comfort break at the foot of the climb which left him with a lot of effort needed to get back through the cars to the lead of the peloton.

Dumoulin was working with Ten Dam to get back in touch but was losing time as Bahrain-Merida worked on the front for Nibali with Quintana and Pinot both sitting in the Italian’s wheels.

In the break Amador and Anacona had eased off the pace to wait for Quintana and the GC group as Hirt managed to go the other way and bridge up to Landa and Kruijswijk, with the trio managing to take advantage of the brief slowing behind to push their lead out to 1’30” to the peloton with Anton dangling 15″ ahead of the peloton.

With plenty of climb left Dumoulin was holding the gap at 1’30” and he had a Movistar rider alongside him as well as Ten Dam. At the front of the peloton Bahrain-Merida were continuing to set the pace as Anton was caught.

Dumoulin was slowly crawling back up to the GC riders but they had yet to make any real attacks and with 25km to go to the end of the stage the gap to them was around 1′ as Landa attacked Kruijswijk and Hirt, with Hirt the only one able to respond in pursuit of the Sky rider.

As the summit of the climb came closer Nibali attacked with Quintana following taking Pozzovivo, Formolo, Pinot and Zakarin as Mollema tried to chase them down as Dumoulin was still 1′ behind.

Another attack saw Nibali, Quintana, Pozzovivo and Zakarin go clear as Pinot and Formolo were dropped. This Quintana group were able to get 20″ on a chasing group which included Pinot, Mollema and Jungels as Dumoulin’s gap went back out to 1’15”.

Kruijswijk had managed to get back up to Hirt but the pair were still 30″ behind Landa who as looking good to take the stage win if he could stay away on the descent.

Quintana attacked again as Nibali and Pozzovivo worked with him to try and put more time into Dumoulin, whose gap was starting to increase ever so slightly again. The group soon caught Kruijswijk who hadn’t been able to stay with Hirt and the Dutchman was ejected from the group immediately after another acceleration from Nibali.

With 2km until the top of the climb, Quintana was now just 1′ behind Dumoulin in the GC as the GC group continued to push the pace, soon catching Hirt and leaving Landa alone at the front of the race with 1km to go until the summit.

An attack from Nibali blew the GC group apart as Quintana followed him and Zakarin attempted to chase with Dumoulin’s loss now at 2′.

As Landa went over the top of the climb he had just 14″ on Quintana and Nibali and as they began the descent Zakarin and Pozzovivo caught them with Landa just 8″ clear of the foursome.

As Dumoulin went over the summit he was still just in the race lead as Nibali was giving it everything on the descent, with the rest of the GC riders holding on behind him.

With 13km to go Nibali was still tearing down the descent in pursuit of Landa and Quintana was beginning to lose touch of it wheel. Dumoulin was now starting to gain time back as he made his way down to the finish. As Nibali caught Landa with 11km to go, Dumoulin was 2’14” behind with the second GC group of Pinot, Mollema and Jungels 1’20” behind.

With 7km to go Nibali and Landa had 10″ on Quintana, Zakarin and Pozzovivo as Dumoulin and Mollema’s group were able to hold their gaps steady. 

Going into the last km it was Landa who was leading out as Nibali didn’t want to be on the front, and as the Spaniard sprinted for the line Nibali came round him relatively easily to take the stage win.

All eyes were on the clock though to see where Dumoulin would come in and as the Mollema group rolled in at 1’30” behind it looked like he might lose the maglia rosa. Dumoulin’s efforts on the descent saw him come in at 2’17”, keeping his pink jersey but losing a big chunk of time to his rivals going into the final week.

Giro d’Italia 2017 Stage 16: Rovetta>Bormio (222km)

Position Name (Team – Nationality) Time
1 Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida – Ita) 6:24:22″
2 Mikel Landa (Tean Sky – Spa)
3 Nairo Quintana (Movistar – Col) +12″
4

Domenico Pozzovivo (AG2R – Ita)


+24″
5 Ilnur Zakarin (Katusha – Alpecin – Rus) +32″
6 Davide Formolo (Cannondale-Drapac – Ita) +1’26”
7 Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo – Ned) +1’35”
8 Bob Jungels (Quick-Step – Lux)
9

Adam Yates (Orica-Scott – GBr)

10 Thibaut Pinot (FDJ – Fra)

General Classification

Position Name (Team – Nationality) Time
1 Tom Dumoulin (Team Sunweb – Ned) 70:14:48″
2 Nairo Quintana (Movistar – Col) +31″
3 Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida – Ita) +1’12″”
4 Thibaut Pinot (FDJ – Fra) +2’38”
5 Ilnur Zakarin (Katusha – Alpecin – Rus) +2’40”
6 Domenico Pozzovivo (AG2R – Ita) +3’05”
7 Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo – Ned) +3’49”
8 Bob Jungels (Quick-Step – Lux) +4’35”
9 Steven Kruijswijk (LottoNL-Jumbo – Ned) +6’20”
10 Adam Yates (Orica-Scott – Gbr) +7’00”


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