Giro d’Italia Stage 17: De Marchi on the Attack, Drucker Sprints to Seventh Place23. May 2018, Iseo (ITA) — Road Team
Stage 17 of the Giro d’Italia proved that there is no such thing as an easy day at the Grand Tour with a battle from start to finish playing out during the 155km stage from Riva del Garda to Iseo.
With the first 10km of the stage uphill, the battle to make the breakaway was on from kilometer 0 but it was clear from the first attacks that the peloton was not going to let a group go easily.
Alessandro De Marchi was present in a number of moves, refusing to give up each time the peloton brought them back, but the chase intensified when the peloton had split and a number of General Classification contenders, including Rohan Dennis, were caught behind.
Although the two groups came back together reasonably quickly with BMC Racing Team pulling Dennis’ group back, BORA-hansgrohe and Mitchelton-SCOTT continued to chase down every move until finally, after close to 90km of racing, De Marchi was able to go clear with Luis Leon Sanchez (Astana Pro Team), Ben Hermans (Israel Cycling Academy), and Woet Poels (Team Sky).
The quartet was allowed a maximum advantage of two minutes but the sprinters’ teams kept them close and as the breakaway crossed the finish line for a final 23.5km lap, their advantage was down to 25 seconds.
Poels and Hermans dropped back to the peloton, leaving De Marchi and Sanchez to push on but the chase behind was too fast and the duo was swept up with 12km to go.
As the sprint trains formed, torrential rain started to fall at the finish which made for a potentially dangerous run in to the finish line.
Jempy Drucker floated from wheel to wheel to sprint to seventh place behind winner Elia Viviani (Quickstep-Floors), while Dennis finished safely in the bunch to retain his sixth place on the General Classification.
With three more stages left to decide the General Classification before the final stage in Rome on Sunday, the racing is expected to be just as frantic in the days to come.
Quotes from the Finish Line
Alessandro De Marchi:
“Today was a day to really try and give it everything I had but it was crazy from the start. I think I played my cards well and it was not possible to be better than this. With the four guys, we had a really good move and I was feeling good. I knew Luis Leon Sanchez was the guy to look out for and I was always with him. In the end, I must be happy, this is the way I enjoy my job. It’s always worth it to try, and that’s what I did today.”
“There was never really a dead moment today. It was good because we had Alessandro De Marchi in the break which was also the plan. Our first priority was to keep Rohan safe. We had a little split after a downhill so we had to work to keep him in the bunch and also in the final, it was pretty hectic with all of the cities. So, like I said, the priority was Rohan and then I saw a little opening, and I saw Rohan was safe, so I was trying to get a good sprint. I think my sprint was good but i was just a bit too far.”
“All day was full gas. Today was really like a junior race. There was no control at all. Everybody tries to be in the breakaway and when the break is gone, some teams are chasing again. It was always full gas. so what should be an easy stage was again a hard day. It’s never easy when the road is wet and slippery and for me, it doesn’t change much.”
“Today was messed up. I just don’t know why we can’t just have a sprint day, a normal sprint day. In the end, there were a lot of guys just off GC, between eight and 12 minutes back, wanting to go in the breakaway. In then end, it’s going to come back for a sprint. So, it was a lot tougher than we all expected but I’m glad I was in the peloton and everyone was saying the same thing. It was a bit of a rude shock. I think going so deep yesterday did a bit of damage so I’m hoping tomorrow I will bounce back a bit better.”
Stage 3 Riva del Garda > Iseo (155KM) Top 3: 1.Elia Viviani (Quickstep-Floors), 2. Sam Bennett (BORA-hansgrohe), 3. Niccolo Bonifazio (Bahrain-Merida).
BMC Racing Team top 3: 7. Jempy Drucker, 35. Francisco Ventoso, 56. Rohan Dennis.