'Easy decision' for the sprinters to abandon the Giro d'Italia as mountain stages loom

André Greipel and Caleb Ewan among those who will head to the airport after Friday's stage

Andre Greipel wins stage two of the 2017 Giro (LaPresse - D'Alberto / Ferrari)
(Image credit: Fabio Ferrari)

Due to the mountainous third week it is an easy decision for sprinters to leave the Giro d'Italia after Friday's stage to Tortona, says André Greipel (Lotto-Soudal).

Giro organiser RCS Sport offers no sprint finishes over the following eight stages towards Milan, where the race will end on Sunday, May 28.

"To be honest, this year, it's not a hard question at all," Greipel, who won stage two, told Cycling Weekly about the decision to leave.

"If you look at the parcours, you go home or you stay, but that decision is easy to make if you have the Tour de France in July."

Greipel's team has him scheduled to race the Tour de France for sprint stages so he will need to save energy to do so.

>>> Giro d'Italia 2017 route: maps and elevation for every stage

Other sprinters like Caleb Ewan (Orica-Scott), also a stage winner in this Giro, will not race the Tour but are still likely to be heading for a nearby airport when the race reaches the Alps.

"It depends on the rider, some want to try for the ciclamino jersey and some are hunting for stages from escapes," said sprinter Jakub Mareczko (Wilier-Selle Italia).

"The team often decides for you. After Tortona tomorrow, though, I need to think of my race programme coming up and what's best, but the Giro's three weeks helps you develop as a rider."

Watch: Giro d'Italia stages 16-21 preview

Greipel, Ewan, Mareczko and others like Sam Bennett (Bora-Hansgrohe) could pull the plug. Others, like Colombian Fernando Gaviria (Quick-Step Floors), racing his first Grand Tour, will fight on to Milan.

“It's the first Grand Tour in my career, my first three-week race,” Gaviria said. “It's going well and the stage wins pushed me up to top in the points classification.

“I've never done anything this hard before, nothing compares to a three-week race. It's clear that for my career, building up three weeks of racing and the kilometres in my legs is worth it. The Tour de France is not in my programme, so I can back off and think of the Vuelta a España.”

>>> Can Tom Dumoulin win the 2017 Giro d'Italia?

"It's really important for me to be here in the Giro," Greipel added. "I always want to challenge myself and compete against the best. That's why I'm here, and I hope I can make the sprints a bit more interesting.

"If you don't have the Tour de France in July, it's really important to get through the Giro. You get three weeks, that's something that makes you stronger as a rider."

Thank you for reading 20 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access

Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription

Join now for unlimited access

Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

Gregor Brown

Gregor Brown is an experienced cycling journalist, based in Florence, Italy. He has covered races all over the world for over a decade - following the Giro, Tour de France, and every major race since 2006. His love of cycling began with freestyle and BMX, before the 1998 Tour de France led him to a deep appreciation of the road racing season.