The Shark attacks on the Queen Stage
The Queen stage saw many attacks and competitive performances by the best riders in the peloton
After yesterday’s rest day, the Queen stage in this year’s Giro d’Italia awaited the peloton. The race covered 222 kilometers and started in Rovetta with the finish in Bormio. The Queen stage was deserving of its title, more than 5,000m and three categorized climbs in the highest category made it one of the most difficult in the Giro d´Italia.
The famous climb on the cards was the Stelvio Pass, leading to a technical descent where the peloton entered Switzerland.
Before the race had passed the first climb, a group of 27 riders went clear and had an advantage on the main bunch of 1m 20s including Mikel Landa.
Luis Leon Sanchez was the first to crest the legendary Mortirolo, dedicating the climb to Michele Scarponi. Omar Fraile, second over and now second to Sanchez in the KOM competition, put his arm around the Astana rider. The breakaway had a 1m 30s gap.
On the slopes of the Stelvio in the peloton Movistar and Trek had taken their turns at the front. Vasil Kiyrienka upped the pace and started to open up gaps. Dumoulin was out of teammates as Movistar began to heat up the race.
In the breakaway, Landa crested the Stelvio first with Anador and Sanchez third. The gap was now 2m 2s.
On the descent of the Stelvio, Landa and Amador got away but it was Kruijswijk who led the chase back to Landa and Amador.
With 45-km to go the break held a 3m 10s lead. Worried about their GC places, Orica-Scott, Quick-Step Floors and Katusha took up the chase
The race entered Switzerland with 37-km to go and fans held their breath. Dumoulin has to stop for a call of nature at the side of the road.
Meanwhile Ilnur Zakarin attacked, the injection of pace had put Dumoulin 40-seconds behind. Movistar and Bahrain initially looked to slow the pace. Dumoulin was not making up time and was 1m 30s behind his rivals with 30-km to go.
After Zakarin there were nomore attacks among the favourites, but both Bahrain and Movistar kept a high pace.
Nibali attacked with 2km left to climb with Quintana taking his wheel. Landa the Stelvio the second time alone while Dumoulin was fighting the gradients behind but still not out of the pink.
On the descent Nibali dropped like a stone, shedding the others and linking up with Landa. Dumoulin started to take back some time.
Landa and Nibali had 8-seconds on Quintana as they went under the red kite. Nibali let Landa lead him out and srpinted to take the win, the Shark of Messina in third place. Quintana came in 12-seconds later to take the last of the bonus seconds. Dumoulin survived and still leads Quintana by 31-seconds.
Thibaut Pinot stil has 1m 26s to make up on Nibali to get his podium spot back. Amador tumbleed out of the top-10 with Adam Yates taking his place.
Wednesday is another day in the mountains with three categorized climbs and a very long drag to the finish in Canazei.
2017 Giro d'Italia Top Ten Stage 16
1 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Bahrain-Merida 6:24:22
2 Mikel Landa (Spa) Team Sky
3 Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar Team 0:00:12
4 Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) AG2R La Mondiale 0:00:24
5 Ilnur Zakarin (Rus) Katusha-Alpecin 0:00:34
6 Davide Formolo (Ita) Cannondale-Drapac 0:01:26
7 Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek-Segafredo 0:01:35
8 Bob Jungels (Lux) Quick-Step Floors
9 Adam Yates (GBr) Orica-Scott
10 Thibaut Pinot (Fra) FDJ
2017 Giro d'Italia General Classification after Stage 16
1 Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Team Sunweb 70:14:48
2 Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar Team 0:00:31
3 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Bahrain-Merida 0:01:12
4 Thibaut Pinot (Fra) FDJ 0:02:38
5 Ilnur Zakarin (Rus) Katusha-Alpecin 0:02:40
6 Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) AG2R La Mondiale 0:03:05
7 Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek-Segafredo 0:03:49
8 Bob Jungels (Lux) Quick-Step Floors 0:04:35
9 Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) Team LottoNl-Jumbo 0:06:20
10 Adam Yates (GBr) Orica-Scott 0:07:00