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Giro d'Italia
Giro’15 St.17: Magic Modolo!
Race Report: Stage 17 could have been a dull day, but it was spiced up by the beautiful views of Lake Lugano and a very exciting last 20 kilometers into Switzerland. Sacha Modolo was given an armchair ride to the line and repaid his team with their fourth stage win.

The battle for the red points jersey is still very much alive, even though Giacomo Nizzolo (Trek) lost 5 point due to holding onto a car on stage 16. Nozzolo and Sky's Elia Viviani are after any point they can win, but at the end of the stage to Lugano it was Sacha Modolo who showed what difference a lead-out team can make for his second stage win and Lampre-Merida's fourth.

After the excitement of yesterday, stage 17 from Tirano to Lugano was billed to be either a day for the sprinters or a successful long break. There is one 3rd Cat climb, Teglio, which peaked 15.4 kilometers after the start. Then after an undulating road for about 80K’s, there is a small rise 26 kilometers out. The race enters Switzerland for 8 kilometers before the finish in Lugano after a short 134 kilometer stage.


News from yesterday was that sixteen riders had been fined for holding onto cars and motorbikes. The top names in the list were Leopold König (Sky) and Jürgen Van den Broeck (Lotto Soudal). They received a fine of 50CHF, 10 seconds added to the overall and a deduction of 5 points. Patrick Gretsch (AG2R-La Mondiale), Marcus Burghardt & Silvan Dillier (BMC), Bartlomiej Matysiak & Sylwester Szmyd (CCC Sprandi), Kenny Elissonde (, Chad Haga (Giant-Alpecin), Martijn Keizer (LottoNL-Jumbo), Giacomo Nizzolo & Fabio Silvestre (Trek Factory Racing) also had the same penalty. Jan Polanc (Lampre-Merida), Elia Favilli & Francesco Gavazzi (Southeast) and Marco Coledan (Trek) received a 100CHF, 20 seconds added and the loss of 10 points.

Many riders could see that today might be their big/only chance and the first attacks came pretty quickly. Three riders managed to escape before the climb, they were: Marco Bandiera (Androni-Giocattoli), Iljo Keisse (Etixx – Quick-Step) and Giacomo Berlato (Nippo-Vini Fantini) with Luca Chirico (Bardiani-CFS) chasing. On the climb the leaders had 2 minutes and Chirico gave up. Berlato was first over the top followed by Bandiera.

Giro d'Italia 2015 stage - 17Two of the stars of stage 16 at the start: Alberto Contador in pink and Steven Kruijswijk in KOM blue

With 90 kilometers to go the three had 3 minutes on the peloton and 1:50 on a chasing pair of Maciej Paterski (CCC Sprandi) and Davide Villella (Cannondale-Garmin). Of all the riders away, Paterski was the best placed overall at 2:21:06 and Bandiera was over 4 hours down on overall leader Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo).

The peloton were holding the leaders at two and a half minutes along the riverside (Fiume Adda) in the valley towards Switzerland. The chase work was being led by Lampre-Merida, they were working for Sacha Modolo and hoping for a fourth stage win in this Giro. Paterski and Villella gave up and were caught.

At the first intermediate sprint of the day in Morbegno, with 70.5 kilometers remaining, Keisse was first over the line in the break. In the peloton; Sky’s Bernard Eisel led-out the points leader Elia Viviani to help his lead from Giacomo Nizzolo (Trek).

Trek and Giant-Alpecin had started to help Lampre-Merida and the lead dipped under 2 minutes as they headed towards the final 60K’s. It was surprising to see the Giant men in black at the front as their hope in a sprint, Luca Mezgec, had told EuroSport TV that he didn’t think it would come to a sprint finish. Sky’s Elia Viviani thought a sprint was possible, “it is the second last chance for a sprint in this Giro. I am very proud to be wearing the red jersey and I hope to be wearing it on the last day in Milano.”

The cross wind was making the peloton ride in echelon formation with Giant-Alpecin spread across the road with Tinkoff-Saxo in line behind and Astana next.

Giro d'Italia 2015 stage - 17Lugano

50 kilometers from Lugano
The River Fiume Adda opened out into Lake Lugano as they entered the final 50 kilometers and the lead was down to 1 minute and it was not looking good for the three. The catch would not be coming too soon as ‘Break Killer’ Cheng Ji was telling the others to cool it and leave the three out front for a bit longer.

At the second intermediate sprint in Menaggio with 29 kilometers to go: Berlato was first ahead of Bandiera and Keisse. Nozzolo got the better of Viviani in the bunch. After the sprint the three break riders shook hands and let themselves be caught.

Giro d'Italia 2015 ST17The three leaders

BMC and Tinkoff-Saxo came to the front to control the bunch on a slight climb to the Swiss border.

First attack came from Patrick Gretsch (AG2R-La Mondiale) with Adam Hansen (Lotto Soudal) on his wheel. BMC wanted to be part of the action and Darwin Atapuma jumped across. Hansen wanted to go alone and attacked, Gretsch wanted Atapuma to chase, but he had just joined them and had nothing to give, Hansen disappeared up the road.

Under the 20 kilometer banner and Hansen had 17 seconds on Gretsch and Atapuma. Giant-Alpecin lifted the pace and caught Atapuma and Gretsch as Hansen was holding his 17 seconds. 5 kilometers later and he had gained time and was leading by 20 seconds.

11 out Adam Hansen was gobbled up by the flying peloton and across the Italian/Swiss border the race was together.

Tinkoff again moved to the front to keep Contador safe. Sky brought Viviani to the front ready for the sprint as the pink jersey was sitting in second place.

Tom Jelter Slagter (Cannondale-Garmin) attacked on a small rise in the road with 5.2 kilometers to go. Philippe Gilbert (BMC) managed to slip over to Slagter, but the peloton was only meters behind them. Luca Paolini (Katusha) was next to join the front, but the speed was so high the race came together. In the confusion of the regrouping and a sharp corner, Paolini gained a gap, but as they passed the 1K banner he was caught.

Lampre-Merida took over with three men for Modolo. Modolo saw the line and launched himself first with Mezgek on one side and Nizzolo on the other. Mezgek had too much speed for everyone and finished a bike length ahead, giving his Lampre-Merida team its fourth stage win and his second in this year’s Giro.

giro15st17-modolo-win-620Another for Sacha Modolo and Lampre-Merida

Stage winner, Sacha Modolo (Lampre-Merida) said after the finish: "On paper, the stage looked easy, but in reality it was hard, with a real ramp at 4km to go. I looked around me on the ramp and I saw lots of potential sprinters in difficulty. Perhaps they were more tired than me. Yesterday was very hard but I had good legs today and it was nice and hot - the sort of day I like. Perhaps we could do with one more rider but, after months of hard work, in Max Richeze and Roberto Ferrari I have one of the best lead-out trains going. I'm afraid of no one."

Giro d’Italia Stage 17 Result:
1. Sacha Modolo (Ita) Lampre-Merida in 3:07:51
2. Giacomo Nizzolo (Ita) Trek
3. Luka Mezgec (Slo) Giant-Alpecin
4. Heinrich Haussler (Aus) IAM Cycling
5. Davide Appollonio (Ita) Androni Giocattoli
6. Stig Broeckx (Bel) Lotto Soudal
7. Juan Jose Lobato (Spa) Movistar
8. Alexander Porsev (Rus) Katusha
9. Kévin Reza (Fra)
10. Nick Van Der Lijke (Ned) LottoNL-Jumbo
11. Elia Viviani (Ita) Sky
12. Maximiliano Richeze (Arg) Lampre-Merida
13. Alexandre Geniez (Fra)
14. Sonny Colbrelli (Ita) Bardiani-CSF
15. Grega Bole (Slo) CCC Sprandi Polkowice
16. Alessandro Petacchi (Ita) Southeast
17. Matteo Montaguti (Ita) AG2R-La Mondiale
18. Leopold Konig (Cze) Sky
19. Philippe Gilbert (Bel) BMC
20. Damiano Caruso (Ita) BMC
21. Rigoberto Uran (Col) Etixx - Quick-Step
22. Manuele Mori (Ita) Lampre-Merida
23. Alberto Contador (Spa) Tinkoff-Saxo
24. Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana
25. Michael Rogers (Aus) Tinkoff-Saxo.

Giro d’Italia Overall After Stage 17:
1. Alberto Contador (Spa) Tinkoff-Saxo in 68:12:50
2. Mikel Landa Meana (Spa) Astana at 4:02
3. Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana at 4:52
4. Andrey Amador (CRc) Movistar at 5:48
5. Yury Trofimov (Rus) Katusha at 8:27
6. Leopold König (Cze) Sky at 9:31
7. Damiano Caruso (Ita) BMC at 9:52
8. Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) LottoNL-Jumbo at 11:40
9. Alexandre Geniez (Fra) at 12:48
10. Ryder Hesjedal (Can) Cannondale-Garmin at 12:49
11. Maxime Monfort (Bel) Lotto Soudal at 14:04
12. Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Bel) Lotto Soudal at 15:59
13. Giovanni Visconti (Ita) Movistar at 20:12
14. Rigoberto Uran (Col) Etixx - Quick-Step at 22:12
15. Amaël Moinard (Fra) BMC at 26:21
16. Mikel Nieve (Spa) Sky at 26:30
17. Tanel Kangert (Est) Astana at 26:58
18. Darwin Atapuma Hurtado (Col) BMC at 27:55
19. Carlos Betancur (Col) AG2R-La Mondiale at 32:33
20. Paolo Tiralongo (Ita) Astana at 38:00
21. Damiano Cunego (Ita) Nippo - Vini Fantini at 38:24
22. Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Tinkoff-Saxo at 38:34
23. Dario Cataldo (Ita) Astana at 46:09
24. Ion Izagirre (Spa) Movistar at 47:43
25. Davide Formolo (Ita) Cannondale-Garmin at 48:21.


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