25/05/11 - 10:20
Feltre - Tirano
Giro d'Italia • Stage17

Feltre - Tirano

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Diego Ulissi is declared the winner! Visconti has been relegated to third place by the race organisers. What drama! But surely the correct decision.


If Visconti was Mark Cavendish he would have already been disqualified for irregular and dangerous sprinting.


Provisionally the win has been given to Visconti, with Ulissi and Lastras taking second and third. But that is quite controversial: he really pushed his compatriot there and it could have been very dangerous.


The peloton comes home at 3:02. Result is still undecided...


That would be a big blow for Visconti because he was clearly the strongest sprinter, he just didn't have any space to play for and reacted badly.


Visconti was boxed in between Ulissi and the barriers in the approach and he pushed his rival away, gesticulated, and then rode on to the win. Ulissi was second, and Lastras third. But this one will be decided by the judges...


Visconti crosses the line in first, but there will be a stewards enquiry there surely!


The two Italians Ulissi and Visconti come to blows in the final straight!


Bakelants is on the front. Suitsou is leading the chase behing, but surely it's too late.


Ulissi leads out the sprint, before turning off the gas and tucking in at the back.


Now they're looking at each other as they pass the Flamme Rouge... Ulissi is on the front, followed by Visconti, Bakelants and then Lastras.


Lastras makes the first attack! And it's a big one... but Visconti checks his wheel, and the others follow.


One of these four will surely win it now. Although if they start playing games, they'll let the others back in it - they're just 5 seconds back.


The four have a little gap over the chasers as they cross the river and swing into Tirano.


Bakelants, Ulissi, Lastras and Visconti seem to be pulling out a little...


Lastras ups the pace and Visconti goes after him, forcing everyone to react. Taborre rides into a patch of gravel on the side of the road, but stays on his bike. That was close.


The leaders are down to the valley now. They have 3:09 so as stated before, one of them will be the winner tonight.


Nibali no longer on the front of the peloton: it's a RadioShack man followed by a Vacansoleil rider.


Taborre leads Lastras on the front.


Wow, these tight hairpin bends are vertiginous to say the least!


Nibali is on the front, mind, with Contador tucked in in third.


Stunning scenary as the peloton snakes it way down this precipitous descent. Despite all the talk about downhill king Nibali, the Italian doesn't look like he will try anything here.


There are about 10 riders still in this leading group as they zip down the descent. Visconti must fancy his chances. Siutsou too.


Visconti and Lastras build up a gap and split the chasing group... they just passed over the summit, which the Spaniard took ahead of the Italian. Some of the group have now thrown in the towel - including Le Mevel. The peloton is at 3:50 and they know it's all over.


Dupont goes again! Taborre and Visconti make sure it doesn't stick. The Frenchman must be knackered - he's gone so many times already.


Dupont's AG2R team-mate Gastauer has been dropped.


Fascinating stuff on the front - and still no one has managed to get away. Visconti looks to be taking a back seat, possibly lurking until - or if - it comes to a sprint, where he will be the clear favourite.


Dupont goes again, checked by Frank and then Siutsou. The gap is closed. Kiserlovski joins them too.


ATTACK: Dupont goes on the offensive and finally he opens up a gap. Lastras and Taborre manage to catch his wheel, and that seems to knock the wind out of the Frenchman's sails and it's back together again. Followed by a big dig from Frank. They're all having a go out there! Talk about each for his own. The lead is 3:38 so the winner will be one of these men today - hence all these attacks.


The road narrows for some roadworks. It's Lastras and Visconti on the front. Lastras has won stages in all three grand tours... but his last victory was back in 2003.


ATTACK: And now Siutsov throws down the hammer. It's a massive acceleration, but he's hauled back.


Gap down to 3:37 with Liquigas still on the front. They clearly fancy one for Nibali today.


ATTACK: Dupont has a dig, taking Bakelants with him. The others eventually react. Cat and mouse here.


Nibali rides with Scarponi right in his wheel. The two Italians are battling it out for second place in this year's race... and who knows, it may always be bumped up to 1st if CAS deliver a bombshell.


Two Liquigas riders have ridden off the front of the peloton, such is the fierce pace they're setting.


Siutsou back on the front. He's a great asset to any breakaway.


ATTACK: Gio Visconti ups the pace on the front, which has forced the leaders to react and get their act together. They only have 4:00 to play with now.


The leaders are onto the fairly simple Cat.3 climb of Aprica, which has an average gradient of 3.1% and a maximum gradient of 9%. Geox are still on the front of the chasing peloton.


The lead is down to 4:20 so it's going to be a thrilling final climb and descent.


Interesting fact: there were no Spanish stage winners in last year's Giro and six Italian winners. This year, the score is Spain 6-2 Ialy. I'm not 100% sure, but I don't think Spain has ever had more winners than Italy in the race's 94-year history. Prove me below if I'm wrong...


It's not just Dupont that we should watch. Siutsou is another danger man in this break, as are Le Mevel and Visconti. Geox have moved to the front alongside Liquigas. Both teams have not has a win yet so far in this year's race.


The peloton is really strung out but the gap is still pretty large: 5:45.


Fifty clicks to go - and it's anyone's game still. Of the teams involved in the break, Astana, Movistar, Katusha, BMC and Acqua & Sapone are still without a win in this year's Giro, so there'll be extra motivation there. // CORRECTION: Vensoso won a stage for Movistar - thank you @fotodelicto - and who's to say I get paid for this anyway?


The leaders are back in the valley. If one or two of these riders can maintain a couple of minutes' lead going over the final climb, they'd have to be a good bet on taking the win today.


Slovenian champion Gorazd Stangelj flats on the descent and needs a rear wheel change.


The peloton cross the summit 6:10 on the leaders. The Liquigas train then sweep up Farnese's Giordani.


AG2R clearly have their eyes on today's stage. Dupont is an adept climber and he will use his team-mate Gastauer before launching an attack on the Aprica before, if all goes to plan, riding downhill to victory in Tirano.


Confirmation of the passing of the Tonale: 1. Gastauer, 2. Dupont, 3. Bakelants, 4. Losada, 5. Visconti.


Addy Engels (Quick Step) and Leonardo Giordani (Farnese Vini) were in the break but have dropped back.


A reminder of the 14 leaders: Christian Le Mevel (Garmin-Cervelo), Giovanni Visconti (Farnese Vini), Jan Bakelants (Omega Pharma-Lotto), Robert Kiserlovski (Astana), Kanstanstin Suitsou (HTC), Jesus Hernandez (Saxo Bank), Pablo Lastras (Movistar), Diego Ulissi (Lampre), Eduard Vorganov (Katusha), Alberto Losada (Katusha), Ben Gastauer (AG2R), Mathias Frank (BMC), Fabio Taborre (Acqua & Sapone).


Dupont and Gastauer lead the leaders over the summit of the Cat.2 Passo del Tonale.


Katusha's Vorganov drops back to have a chat with the team car. The Russian had a very active first week in the race, even if he did crash heavily from a breakaway in stage two. The two AG2R men, Dupont and Gastauer, drive the pace on the front of the leading group.


The riders are only on the lower slopes of the Tonale - in a bit it will be up to a 10 per cent gradient.


Visconti ups the pace on the front, forcing his fellow escapees to take it up another level. Meanwhile, a man wearing nothing but a pair of tight underpants runs alongside the Italian... boys will be boys, eh.


All the leading group are putting in decent shifts on the front. Another rider has dropped off - it's Addy Engels.


It's all Liquigas on the front as quite a few riders are blown off the back of the bunch.


Siutsou leads the break, with Visconti tucked in right behind.


One of the Farnese boys, Giordani, is first to crack and has been distanced from the breakaway at the start of this climb.


Liquigas are on the front driving a fast pace as the lead drops to 5:45.


The lead of this 16-man breakaway has dropped to 6:55.


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The leaders are approaching the nursery slopes of the Cat.2 Passo del Tonale with 100km left to ride today. The gap is 7:35.


The gap is up to 7:30 as the peloton appears to take it very easy during their lunch break. Having a man up ahead in the break means the Saxo Bank team of pink jersey Alberto Contador are not too concerned with how things pan out - although they will have an eye on Siutsou, the highest placed rider in the break (+12:05).


Talking of collisions with car doors, the reason behind Francesco Masciarelli's withdrawal this morning came down to the injuries the Astana rider sustained last Friday following the summit finish at the Grossglockner. On his way to the team bus, the Italian was struck by a car door that opened, unexpectedly, in front of him.


An interesting story from yesterday's mountain time trial was the expulsion from the race of one of Saxo Bank's mechanics after he intentionally hit a spectator by opening a car door onto him when passing. Contador's personal mechanic Faustino Munoz claimed he did it after he saw the tifoso trying to punch the Spaniard. It will be interesting to see if Contador goes about any of his inter-stage bike changes anymore now he's down on his trusted wheels man.


It's lunch time for the leading 16-man group. Careful with those musettes...


The gap is up to 5:50 with the feeding zone approaching.


Last year the Giro had a stage which finished atop the Passo del Tonale - won by Swiss Johann Tschopp. The Aprica is also used a fair amount by the race, although often in the build up to climbing on to the feared Passo di Gavia (last year Michele Scarponi won this stage). Three years ago, when the Giro last visited Tirano, Emanuele Sella soloed to victory - although this, along with two other mountain stage victories, were taken away from him after the Italian tested positive for CERA.


We've seen a lot of the likes of Kiserlovski, Bakelants, Vorganov and Visconti in previous breaks in this Giro - although no one in this group has yet won a stage in the race. Both Le Mevel and Suitsou had storming opening week's of the Giro, and were in podium positions until the big mountains came along last Friday. Hubert Dupont was pretty active during the mountains, often in support of his AG2R team-mate and compatriot John Gadret.


The best placed rider in the break is HTC's Kanstantin Siutsou, currently 12th place, 12:05 behind maglia rosa Alberto Contador.


The lead is up to five minutes for the break.


The 16 leaders have gone over the small Vigolo Vattaro climb and are now free-wheeling down to the valley where, after a long slog, lunch will await before the Passo del Tonale cat.2 climb.


Hubert Dupont (Ag2R) has now joined the leaders, who have a four minute lead over the peloton.


Break in full: Christian Le Mevel (Garmin-Cervelo), Giovanni Visconti (Farnese Vini), Jan Bakelants (Omega Pharma-Lotto), Robert Kiserlovski (Astana), Kanstanstin Suitsou (HTC), Jesus Hernandez (Saxo Bank), Pablo Lastras (Movistar), Diego Ulissi (Lampre), Eduard Vorganov (Katusha), Alberto Losada (Katusha), Ben Gastauer (AG2R), Mathias Frank (BMC), Fabio Taborre (Acqua & Sapone), Addy Engels (Quick Step), Leonardo Giordani (Farnese Vini).


One lone rider, Hubert Dupont (AG2R) is riding in pursuit at 55 seconds, while the peloton are 2:05 back. Full names of escapees coming up.


BREAK: A group of around 15 riders have jumped clear of the peloton. They include Christian Le Mevel (Garmin-Cervelo), Giovanni Visconti (Farnese Vini), Jan Bakelants (Omega Pharma-Lotto), Robert Kiserlovski (Astana) and Kanstanstin Suitsou (HTC).


Brazilian sprinting domestique Murilo Fischer (Garmin-Cervelo) has abandoned the race. Hats off for making it so far, Murilo.


It's clearly stalemate out there, the riders still exhausted after yesterday's uphill time trial and the previous three brutal days in the mountains - despite that rest day on Monday.


The average speed after one hour of racing is a pretty high 47.9 km/h.


Still no movement from the peloton, which is riding together in this early flat section of the stage. Who do you think will win today? Make your suggestions - and give good reasons - in the comment section below...


With Contador taking his second stage of the race yesterday - in addition to three second-place finishes - the race seems to be all but wrapped up. It's now appears to be a fight for the remaining podium places, with Michele Scarponi and Vincenzo Nibali separated by just 47 seconds, and Frenchman John Gadret in line to be only the third Frenchman to net a top 5 finish in a Grand Tour for 15 years.


It's still gruppo compatto after 25km of racing. In other cycling news, the funeral of Xavier Tondo will be held today in Girona following the Movistar rider's tragic death on Monday in a freak domestic incident. The service will commence at 13:00 CET where Tondo's friends and relatives can pay their repects prior to a cremation tonight during a ceremony reserved for the Spaniard's close family.


Yesterday's uphill time trial was a great spectacle, but our blogger Blazin' Saddles thinks Giro organisers should shake things up next year with a downhill time trial...


Around 13 riders tried to break clear early on in this stage, but the peloton was having none of it.


The sun is out yet again in Italy, with highs of 30 degrees today in Feltre. It's a bit colder at the finish in Tirano though: just 17 degrees, but still sunny.


One withdrawal to report: Astana's Francesco Masciarelli didn't take to the start this morning. The Italian finished 90th in yesterday's mountain ITT, won in convincing fashion by Spain's Alberto Contador.


They're off! The remaining 164 riders get today's stage under way in Feltre.


Today's stage is classified as a mountains stage, although there are just two climbs - the Cat.2 Passo del Tonale and the Cat.3 Aprica. The finish in the medieval town of Tirano comes after a long descent, which will interest a rider such as Vincenzo Nibali, second in yesterday's mountain ITT and third overall in the GC. Of course, with the main contenders having played out for the past four stages, it may be that today's stage is one for a breakaway.


Welcome to live coverage of stage 17 of the Giro d'Italia, an undulating 230km trek from Feltre to Tirano.