Santiago Buitrago (Bahrain Victorious) just made history with his first ever Grand Tour Stage Win, he completely dominated Van Der Poel to take this amazing win. This was a hectic day to say the least, and winning it took more than enough valor and courage than we could have imagined.
As per the previous races, we saw the return of the powerful trio of Richard Carapaz (Ineos Grenadiers), Jai Hindley (Bora-Hansgrohe), and Mikel Landa (Bahrain Victorious), they knew they had to establish themselves as the most strongest ones for the General Classifications.
We saw the stage fully open over the Passo del Tonale and a breakaway group dominated that for a remarkable distance. Buitrago was part of that breakaway group, he made his way to the category-1 climb at the far end of the 168km route. From there, things started getting tense, Mathieu Van Der Poel was on a roll going after Gijs Leemreize (Jumbo-Visma) but his performance took a decline with 15km to go.
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After Van Der Poel started to fade, Leemreize tried to seize the opportunity but his strength also started deteriorating. Seeing this as the perfect moment, Buitrago pushed his limits and rocketed to the top half of the climb.
This successful tactic allowed Buitrago to make short work of the descent and make it to the finish line. Sharing the podium with him are Leemreize who finished at 35 seconds behind and Jan Hirt (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert). After these podium spots, the next to finish were the GC trio of Hindley, Carapaz, and Landa.
Although they were still a pair, they suspiciously dropped Landa who finished the race after a while. Even though Landa was dropped and that damaged his morale, he can surely feel better as he overtook Almeida for the overall podium spot.
Looking further down the line, there was ton of damage, there were a lot of tired cyclists after the second big mountain stage. Vincenzo Nibali finished at the fifth place (5:48) after being dropped on the final climb, that was a real pity. The one that collected the most losses was Domenico Pozzovivo (Intermarché) who finished at the 10th overall position. The whole situation is shaping up quite good for Giro d’Italia.
How It Unfolded
Rain proved to be a major hurdle for the riders that shaped themselves up for stage 17 of the Giro d’Italia. This was going to be an elevated stage as the start was at Ponte di Legno with 1325 meters of elevation. From here, it would only go up to Passo del Tonale at 1883m.
This climb did a lot of damage to riders even though it was not a categorized climb at all, the Peloton almost shattered in while trying to ascend it. When the descent finally came, the breakaway group found their way through and it was made up of a lot of riders. The breakaway group contained the likes of Van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix), Gall, Nicolas Prodhomme (AG2R Citroën), Santiago Buitrago (Bahrain Victorious), Filippo Zana, Luca Covili (Bardiani-CSF-Faizanè), Damien Howson (BikeExchange-Jayco), Guillaume Martin (Cofidis), Simone Ravanelli (Drone Hopper-Androni Giocattoli), Diego Camargo, Carthy (EF Education-EasyPost) and others.
The main team that dominated the race was Ineos Grenadiers but even they were not enough for the likes of Bahrain Victorious. When Van Der Poel faded and Leemreize tried to took over, Buitrago saw the perfect moment and dominated both of them to take the lead. This was truly a beautiful day!
Featured Image Via YouTube/Cycling Net Pro