Giro d’Italia 2012 stage 17 photo gallery by Graham Watson>>

Joaquin Rodriguez (Katusha) sprinted to his second stage win at this years Giro d’Italia to keep hold of his pink jersey with just four stages remaining. 

The Spaniard pipped Ivan Basso (Liquigas-Cannondale) and Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Barracuda) after a select group of six overall favourites broke clear on the final climb of the day, the Passo Giau, and stayed away on the final 18km downhill to the finish. 

Rodriguez kept hold of his pink leader’s jersey but, with no time bonuses on offer today, was unable to extend his 30 second lead over Hesjedal. 

Michele Scarponi (Lampre-ISD), Domenico Pozzovivo (Colnago-CSF-Inox) and Rigoberto Uran (Sky) rounded off the group of leading finishers which, having crossed the line over 1 minute 20 ahead of the their rivals, now looks to be the group from which the overall podium will be picked. 

Uran was the second winner of the day, climbing from  11th to fifth overall in the general classification and taking over the white jersey of best young rider from countryman and team-mate Sergio Henao.

Favourites whittled down
With four categorised climbs, today’s stage always threatened to mix up the leaderboard. After the break of Kevin Seeldrayers (Astana), Branislau Samoilau

(Movistar), Jose Serpa (Androni-Giocattoli), Matteo Montaguti

(Ag2r-La Mondiale) and last Sunday’s hero Matteo Rabottini (Farnese Vini) was caught on the penultimate Forcella Staulanza, the task fell to Basso’s Liquigas team to force the separation. 

Indeed the speed on the bleak gradients of the Passo Giau gradually proved too much for the likes of Roman Kreuziger (Astana) and John Gadret (Ag2r). As Basso gritted his teeth and turned up the temperature past the snow banks of the Dolomites, only five others could stand the heat.

Rodriguez may have won the battle of the favourites but with Hesjedal in second place just 30 seconds behind, he and his fellow climbing specialists will seek more time on the time-trial ready Canadian on the final two mountain stages on Friday and Saturday.

Mark Cavendish (Sky) also finished in time to keep hold of the red points jersey but with just one sprint stage remaining and Rodriguez close behind in the competition, he’ll have to work hard to keep hold of it to Milan.

Results
Giro d’Italia 2012, stage 17: Falzes to Cortina d’Ampezzo, 187km

1. Joaquin Rodriguez (Spa) Katusha
2. Ivan Basso (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale
3. Ryder Hesjedal (Can) Garmin-Barracuda
4. Rigoberto Uran (Col) Sky
5. Michele Scarponi (Ita) Lampre-ISD at same time
6. Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) Colnago-CSF-Inox at 2 secs
7. Benat Inxausti (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi at 1-22
8. Daniel Moreno (Spa) Katusha
9. Thomas De Gendt (Bel) Vacansoleil-DCM
10. Johann Tschopp (Swi) BMC Racing at same time
Other
107. Ian Stannard (GBr) Sky at 34-05
119. Geraint Thomas (GBr) Sky at 34-05
123. Mark Cavendish (GBr) Sky at 38-26
DNF Peter Kennaugh (GBr) Sky

Overall classification after stage 17
1. Joaquin Rodriguez (Spa) Katusha in 74-46-46

2. Ryder Hesjedal (Can) Garmin-Barracuda at 30 secs
3. Ivan Basso (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale at 1-22
4. Michele Scarponi (Ita) Lampre-ISD at 1-36
5. Rigoberto Uran (Col) Sky at 2-56
6. Benat Inxausti (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi at 3-04
7. Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) Colnago-CSF-Inox at 3-19
8. Paolo Tiralongo (Astana) at 4-13
9. Thomas De Gendt (Bel) Vacansoleil-DCM at 4-38
10. Sergio Henao (Col) Sky at 4-42
Other
78. Geraint Thomas (GBr) Sky at 1-53-41
142. Ian Stannard (GBr) Sky at 3-07-21
151. Mark Cavendish (GBr) Sky at 3-22-43


Riders hit the Dolomites


Ivan Basso heads the escape


Joaquin Rodriguez wins ahead of Ivan Basso and Ryder Hesjedal

Giro d’Italia 2012: Latest news
Izagirre wins on Grand Tour debut
Cavendish silences Cipollini
Sky tightens grip on white jersey
Rodriguez versus Hesjedal in Giro title fight
Cavendish’s Sky lead-out still on learning curve
Orica-GreenEdge to strengthen sprint train in Tour de France
Schleck struggles on with dislocated shoulder
Rodriguez up against more experienced rivals in Giro
Bak from worker to winner at the Giro

Giro d’Italia 2012: Live coverage
Giro d’Italia 2012 live text coverage and schedule
Giro d’Italai 2012 stage 13 live text coverage
Giro d’Italia 2012 stage 12 live text coverage
Giro d’Italia 2012 stage 10 live text coverage
Giro d’Italia 2012 stage six live text coverage
Giro d’Italia 2012 stage four live text coverage

Giro d’Italia 2012: Stage reports
Stage 17: Rodriguez wins stage to consolidate lead
Stage 16: Izagirre claims Basque breakaway victory
Stage 15: Rabottini takes tough win in Giro
Stage 14: Amador wins Giro’s first high mountain stage as Hesjedal reclaims lead
Stage 13: Cavendish makes it three
Stage 12: Bak attacks to win
Stage 11: Ferrari wins Giro stage on ride to redemption
Stage 10: Rodriguez wins thrilling finale to take lead
Stage nine: Ventoso wins in Frosinone as Goss and Cavendish fall
Stage eight: Pozzovivo takes another Giro win
Stage seven: Hesjedal moves into Giro lead
Stage six: Rubiano solos to epic Giro stage win
Stage five: Cavendish bounces back for another stage win
Stage four: Garmin-Barracuda win TTT to take lead
Stage three: Goss wins in Horsens as Cavendish and Phinney crash
Stage two: Cavendish wins in Herning
Stage one: Phinney wins time trial

Giro d’Italia 2012: Photo galleries
Stage 17 photo gallery
Stage 16 photo gallery
Stage 15 photo gallery
Stage 14 photo gallery
Stage 13 photo gallery
Stage 12 photo gallery
Stage 11 photo gallery
Stage 10 photo gallery
Stage nine photo gallery
Stage eight photo gallery
Stage seven photo gallery
Stage six photo gallery
Stage five photo gallery
Stage four photo gallery
Stage three photo gallery
Stage two photo gallery
Stage one photo gallery

Giro d’Italia 2012: Blogs
Charly Wegelius’ Giro blog: Conserving energy for the final week
Charly Wegelius’ Giro blog: Holding on to the lead
Charly Wegelius’ Giro blog: Getting the team time trial right
Giro moto blog: Hurray for rest day
Giro moto blog: Stage 10

Giro d’Italia 2012: Teams and riders
Giro d’Italia 2012 start list

Giro d’Italia 2012: TV guide
Giro d’Italia 2012: British Eurosport TV schedule

Related links
Giro d’Italia 2012: The Big Preview
Cycling Weekly’s Giro d’Italia section