Stefano Pirazzi took his Bardiani-CSF team's third stage win in this year's Giro d'Italia with a hard fought victory from a breakaway on a classic transition stage.
The pugnacious Italian, part of an initial 25 strong breakaway that took two hours to form, attacked from a five man splinter group under the 1km to go banner and narrowly held off the four chasers as he crossed the line with a roar and a punch to the air.
Tim Wellens (Lotto-Belisol) and Jay McCarthy (Tinkoff-Saxo) took second and third, while the bunch containing the race leader Nairo Quintana (Movistar) and the field's sprinters finished well over 15 minutes down.
The day had opened with the threat of a protest over the confusion and controversy surrounding the descent of the Stelvio Pass during yesterday's epic 16th stage, however none materialised and the race went ahead as planned.
Sanwiched between two big days in the mountains, the peloton's key protagonists were eager to cease hostilities for 24 hours as they recovered from their previous efforts in the snow and looked ahead to another day of toil.
Yet with three small climbs to negotiate along the 208km route, the sprinters teams also decided to take it easy, leaving the peloton's smaller names to seize the all too rare opportunity of a transition stage.
Pirazzi, one of the peloton's regular aggressors but without a win to his name since 2009, broke down in tears as he took the biggest victory of his career to add to the mountains classification in last year's Giro.
Finnish national champion Jussi Veikkanen (FDJ.fr) also found reason to be cheerful today as he raised his arms in the air to celebrate leading the chase group across the line for sixth.
Giro d'Italia 2014, stage 17: Sarnonico to Vittoria Veneto, 208km
1. Stefano Pirazzi (Ita) Bardiani-CSF in
2. Tim Wellens (Bel) Lotto-Belisol
3. Jay McCarthy (Aus) Tinkoff-Saxo
4. Thomas De Gendt (Bel) Omega Pharma-Quickstep
5. Matteo Montaguti (Ita) Ag2r-La Mondiale all at s.t.
6. Jussi Veikkanen (Fin) FDJ.fr at 28 secs
7. Simon Geschke (Ger) Giant-Shimano
8. Fabio Felline (Ita) Trek Factory Racing
9. Marco Canola (Ita) Bardiani-CSF
10. Serge Pauwels (Bel) Omega Pharma-Quickstep all at s.t.
Overall classification after stage 17
1. Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar in 73-05-31
2. Rigoberto Uran (Col) Omega Pharma-QuickStep at 1-41
3. Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC Racing at 3-21
4. Pierre Rolland (Fra) Europcar at 3-26
5. Rafal Majka (Pol) Tinkoff-Saxo at 3-28
6. Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana at 3-34
7. Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) Ag2r at 3-49
8. Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Belkin at 4-06
9. Ryder Hesjedal (Can) Garmin-Sharp at 4-16
10. Robert Kiserlovski (Cro) Trek Factory Racing at 8-02
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Richard Abraham is an award-winning writer, based in New Zealand. He has reported from major sporting events including the Tour de France and Olympic Games, and is also a part-time travel guide who has delivered luxury cycle tours and events across Europe. In 2019 he was awarded Writer of the Year at the PPA Awards.
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