Rodriguez Wins Second Stage of Giro d'Italia 2012
Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) has won his second stage of the 2012 Giro d'Italia.
Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) has won his second stage of the 2012 Giro d'Italia. The Spaniard took a six-up sprint to win Stage 17, a mountainous, 186-km ride from Falzes to Cortina d'Ampezzo in 5:24:42. Ivan Basso (Liquigas-Cannondale) finished second, and Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Barracuda) finished third. Rodriguez remains the maglia rosa.
Some time elapsed before the break of the day formed. At 50 km, Matteo Rabottini (Farnese Vini-Selle Italia), Bronislau Samoilau (Movistar), Kevin Seeldraeyers (Astana), Matteo Montaguti (Ag2r-La Mondiale), and Jose Serpa (Androni Giacattoli-Venezuela) escaped. The quintet had forged a lead of nearly 5 minutes when they breasted the Category 2 Passo Falzarego (73 km).
Liquigas-Cannondale pursued the fugitives and narrowed the gap to 1:30 at the top of the Category 1 Passo Duran (128 km). The maglia rosa group was down to 40 riders and included all of the contenders.
On the next ascent, the Category 2 Forcella Staulanza, Mikel Nieve (Euskaltel-Euskadi) overtook Seeldraeyers, whom the break had dropped. Not long after, Roman Kreuziger (Astana) dropped out of the maglia rosa group.
At the base of the day's final ascent, the Category 1 Passo Giau, the maglia rosa group caught the break. Liquigas-Cannondale upped the pace and single filed the field. The Italian squad's acceleration reduced the maglia rosa group to 6 riders.
Near the summit, Domenico Pozzovivo (Colnago-CSF Inox) attacked. Rigoberto Uran (Sky) was dropped, and Michele Scarponi (Lampre-ISD) cramped. The latter's cramps abated, and the pair got back on with 2 km left.
Scarponi led out the uphill sprint. Basso came around him, but Rodriguez, a classics man who is used to winning sprints, powered past the pair for the win.
A stage such as today's does not always decide who will win, but it often decides who will not. Stage 17 put paid to the aspirations of Astana's duo of Kreuziger and Paolo Tiralongo. The pair lost 11:26 and 2:47, respectively. Pozzovivo finished with the lead group but could not make inroads in his 3:19 GC deficit. John Gadret (Ag2r-La Mondiale) and Damiano Cunego (Lampre-ISD) had additional nails hammered into the coffins of their overall hopes.
In the overall, Rodriguez leads Hesjedal by 0:30 and Basso by 1:22. The Giro's stage 18 will not change this state of affairs. The flat, mainly downhill, 149-km run from San Vito di Cadore to Vedelago should be won by a sprinter. Look for Mark Cavendish (Sky) to take it. Check in at www.roadcycling.com to see if he does.
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