Giro d’Italia, Stage 17: Almeida loses chance to win, van der Poel and Bowman shine – three things that stood out

With a grueling start in the rain up to Paso Tonale, the 17th stage of the Giro d’Italia required everything from the riders from the first meter.

The weather and track profile on the scenic track became temporarily more fun, but the two mountains in the first category made a tough conclusion, which became an important test of the day’s blasts as well as a favourite.

In the end, there have been clearer winners and clearer gaps than in the nominally more difficult mountain stages of the past two weeks, but the excitement for an overall victory is still very high.

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The same goes for other special classifications after today’s stage, sometimes it’s exactly the same, sometimes it’s not at all. Like the overall ranking, the team ranking is still a matter of seconds, while the points ranking is decided de facto.

Three things stood out:

1.) Almeida loses his chance to win the Giro

In the duel between Richard Carapaz and Jay Hindley over the pink jersey in Verona, Joao Almeida was the potential “laughing third” of many experts. Thanks to his strength in time trial, the Portuguese was considered a great danger to climbers, because he was always able to keep his helplessness within dangerous limits on mountain stages.

Up to this seventeenth stage and ascent to Monteroveri at an altitude of 1261 meters is harmless. But nearly eight kilometers with a slope of 9.9% ensured that at least Almeida would not forget the Giro’s premiere of this mountainous classification.

Eurosport expert Bernhard Eisel told the 23-year-old’s opponents he would “make sure Almeida is one minute behind” – and they met the condition. Almeida lost exactly 1:10 in the daily classification, slipped to fourth in the general standings and is now 1:54 minutes behind the pink jersey, now well off stroke distance.

Because he can’t make up for this lack of his 17.4km individual time trial on the last day – and the difference should continue to grow due to differences in shape on the climbs across the two ends of the mountain on Fridays and Saturdays.

The captain of the UAE national team enthusiastically said, “I will not give up, I keep fighting and the Giro is not over yet. The podium is still possible, but it will not be easy.” But third place would be a little miracle – but he won’t rise on the podium in this Giro.

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2.) Bowman makes the big points

A historic “high flight” is almost certain after the seventeenth stage. In the 105th Giro edition, a Dutchman is likely to win the mountain classification at the Tour of Italy for the first time.

With his wins in the first two mountain rankings that day, Quinn Bowman consolidated his lead almost relentlessly and racked up another 51 points in total. Although his closest climbers in the climbing classification were also in the renegade group today, they couldn’t jeopardize the jumbo pro: Bowman hasn’t run out of fuel this last week.

Even if there are still two mountain stages and ‘Cima Kobe’ is the most valuable mountain classification, Bowman in the blue jersey (218 points) is far ahead of Giulio Ciccone (103) and Diego Rosa (94) – like Arnaud Demarie. In the feud the 28-year-old has to remain vigilant and get to Verona.

Queen Bowman Giro 2022

Image source: Getty Images

3.) Van der Paul shines in a new area

Finding a new territory for a multi-level guy like Mathieu van der Poel is not easy – a crossover, mountain bike, road: the Dutchman runs everywhere.

But week three of a major country tour is his premiere, how he handles these loads, as his body limits in these challenges – Terra incognita for the Giro’s first stage winner. Because he left the Tour de France last year after eight stages to prepare for the Olympics in Tokyo.

Heavy fall of the best van der Paul in a mountain bike

But the Dutchman masterfully mastered the new experience: like the day before, he went in attack on the 17th stage and was the engine of the splinter group. With a well-placed attack, the Flanders race winner snatched the day’s victory.

Eurosport experts praised his fighting spirit, meticulous tactics of the Alpecin superstar and driving skills this time around: “He did it just right”, judging Marcus Burghart, “was not far from winning.”

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