Milan - Italian Stefano Pirazzi (Bardiani-CSF) has held off a small group of chasers in the home straight to claim his maiden Giro d'Italia victory from the race's 17th stage on Wednesday.
Race leader Nairo Quintana (Movistar) crossed the finish line with
the main peloton and his closest rivals nearly 15 minutes later
following a 208km trek from Sarnonico to Vittorio Veneto that saw a
breakaway go unchallenged all the way to the finish.
runner-up on last year's Tour de France, spent his first day in the
race's fabled 'maglia rosa' (pink jersey) to retain his 1min 41sec lead
on Rigoberto Uran (Omega-Pharma) and 3:21 cushion on Australian Cadel
But it was a tense day in the saddle for the
24-year-old Colombian, who was accused of foul play following his
victory on stage 16 when he took the jersey from Uran, last year's
runner-up, and then faced calls for his time advantage to be cancelled.
said of Tuesday's controversy: "We're making a story out of nothing.
Why should they take a time advantage away that I earned out on the
"I don't understand the problem. Most of the time I made, I did on the final climb."
Omega-Pharma team were on Tuesday among several to accuse organisers,
and Quintana, of foul play following an official radio announcement
during the rain-plagued 16th stage that suggested the descent of the
treacherous Stelvio climb would be 'neutralised' -- effectively not
raced -- because of the dangers posed by cold and wet conditions.
later claimed they had simply announced that a motorbike rider, with a
pillion passenger waving a red flag, would be placed at the front of the
race to warn of any dangers on the road ahead.
As some teams and
riders heeded the organisers' 'advice', others, like Quintana, forged on
ahead regardless. Quintana claimed the win, the pink jersey and put
himself in contention for a first Grand Tour triumph four days before
"The results should have been cancelled," said the
owner of Tinkoff, Oleg Tinkoff, whose team leader Rafal Majka dropped to
3:28 behind Quintana on Tuesday.
Two meetings between several
unhappy cycling teams were held, while the International Cycling Union
(UCI) attempted to defuse the situation by tweeting that the organisers
had "taken the initiative by putting motorbike riders ahead of the
peloton" and that "security remains the main concern of all race
organisers and the UCI."
With moods tense, there was little
reaction from the main bunch when an early breakaway formed and went on
to build a healthy lead that stood at 12 minutes with a little over 50km
After a series of attacks and counter-attacks in the
closing kilometres, Pirazzi broke free in the final 1.3km and just
thwarted a small chasing group from ending his bid metres before the
His first Giro win was celebrated by a defiant gesture at
the finish, after which Pirazzi explained: "It's my response to all my
"I've been searching five years for this victory, it was
beginning to get me down, but finally I've done it," added the
"A lot of people criticised my lack of results, but I can assure them I've been working hard. This is my reward for that."
was also Bardiani-CSF's third win inside a week, following successes by
Marco Canola and Enrico Battaglin on the 13th and 14th stages.
On Thursday the race moves back into the mountains on the 18th stage from Belluno to Panarotta Refuge.
mountain passes, the San Pellegrino and the Redebus, will be crossed
before the peloton tackle the 16.8km rise to the finish.
Results from the 17th stage of the Giro d'Italia, a 208 km ride from Sarnonico Vittorio Veneto:
1. Stefano Pirazzi (ITA/BAR) 4hr 38min 11sec, 2. Tim Wellens (BEL/LTB) same time, 3. Jay McCarthy (AUS/TIN) s.t., 4. Thomas De Gendt (BEL/OPQ) s.t., 5. Matteo Montaguti (ITA/ALM) s.t., 6. Jussi Veikkanen (FIN/FDJ) at 28, 7. Simon Geschke (GER/GIA) s.t., 8. Fabio Felline (ITA/TRE) s.t., 9. Marco Canola (ITA/BAR) s.t., 10. Serge Pauwels (BEL/OPQ) s.t.
1. Nairo Quintana (COL/MOV) 73hr 05min 31sec, 2. Rigoberto Uran (COL/OPQ) at 1min 41sec, 3. Cadel Evans (AUS/BMC) 3:21, 4. Pierre Rolland (FRA/EUC) 3:26, 5. Rafal Majka (POL/TIN) 3:28, 6. Fabio Aru (ITA/AST) 3:34, 7. Domenico Pozzovivo (ITA/ALM) 3:49, 8. Wilco Kelderman (NED/BKN) 4:06, 9. Ryder Hesjedal (CAN/GRM) 4:16, 10. Robert Kiserlovski (CRO/TRE) 8:02