Pinot wins, Quintana leads, Dumoulin limits damage in Giro
May 27 2017 11:10 pm CET

Pinot wins, Quintana leads, Dumoulin limits damage in Giro

Thibaut Pinot of FDJ has won the penultimate stage of the Giro d'Italia. Nairo Quintana remains in pink although Tom Dumoulin limited the damage with only Sunday's time trial to go.

The final mountain stage of the 2017 Giro d'Italia provided a last chance for those that don't generally ride the best time trials to make a difference ahead of Sunday's closing stage.

A breakaway of six formed early on with Filippo Pozzato, Maksim Belkov, Dries Devenyns, Dylan Teuns, Tom-Jelte Slagter and Matthieu Ladagnous. By the time they reached the first slopes of the Monte Grappa their lead had grown to more than seven minutes.

Katusha set a very high pace on the climb in order to set up an attack by its leader Ilnur Zakarin. The pace caused many casualties among helpers and even Adam Yates and Bauke Mollema momentarily dropped from the group, but eventually found their way back.

The attack by Zakarin came on one of the steeper parts of the climbs and Tom Dumoulin appeared to struggle at the back of the group. The attack was quickly neutralized by Movistar and Dumoulin held on to remain close to his rivals.

At the front, one after the other dropped from the lead group. Only Belgians Dries Devenyns and Dylan Teuns were left once they reached the final part of the difficult climb.

None of the favorites attacked on the following descent and the gap with the two leaders remained stable at just over two minutes.

The flat stretch between the day's two mountains went by without major events as the riders prepared for the final climb of this year's Giro, the first-category Foza.

Teuns left his companion behind shortly after the start of the climb, in an attempt to take the stage victory for his team BMC.

Meanwhile, the first attacks were being launched in the group of favorites with Nibali and Zakarin trying their luck. The Russian did get away along with Pozzovivo. Shortly after, Quintana launched his much anticipated attack and could only be followed by Nibali.

Dumoulin and Pinot remained in a chasing group along with Adam Yates and Mollema, in a desperate attempt to bridge the gap once again, as the Dutchman had already done on so many occasions in this Giro.

Pinot was first to bridge with Quintana and Nibali and even pulled his two rivals up the mountain for a moment, but behind them the chase went on and eventually succeeded as all the favorites got back together with about three kilometers to go on the climb.

Another attack then occurred with Pinot, Nibali and Quintana and this time the three slowly but surely gained terrain on their opponents. At the top of the climb, the three were about 12 seconds behind Zakarin and Pozzovivo with the Dumoulin group trailing by another 20 seconds.

The three chasers joined the two leaders at the 10km mark and as such continued as a group of five as they tried to further distanced the Dumoulin group.

An epic battle followed in the last kilometers as the Dumoulin group initially gained terrain but was then distanced a little bit again. In the sprint for the victory and the bonification seconds, Pinot was the first to cross the line ahead of Zakarin and Nibali.

The Dumoulin group finished at 15 seconds and as such limited the damage ahead of Sunday's time trial.
Photo of Thibaut Pinot (cropped) by FDJ.




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