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

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

The weather and the course profile on the scenic course temporarily became much more pleasant, but the two mountains in the 1st category provided a tough final, which became a significant test for today’s breakers as well as the favorites.

At the finish there were clearer winners and clearer holes than on the nominally heavier mountain stages in the last two weeks, but the excitement for the overall victory is still extremely high.

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The same applies to the other special classifications after today’s stage, sometimes just the same, sometimes not at all. Like the overall standings, the team standings are still a matter of seconds, while the points standings are de facto settled.

Three things that stood out:

1.) Almeida loses its chance to win the Giro

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

Up to this 17th stage and the ascent to Monterovere on harmless 1261 meters. But the nearly eight kilometers with an increase of 9.9% at least ensured that Almeida does not forget the Giro premiere of this mountain classification.

Eurosport expert Bernhard Eisel told the 23-year-old’s opponents that he “would make sure Almeida is a minute behind” – and they met the requirement. Almeida lost exactly 1:10 in the daily standings, dropped to fourth place in the overall rankings and is now 1:54 minutes behind the pink jersey, now out of stroke distance.

For he can not make up such a deficit on the individual time trial of 17.4 kilometers on the final day – and the difference should continue to grow in light of the differences in form on the climbs through the two mountain ends on Friday and Saturday.

“I’m not giving up, I’m still fighting and the Giro is not over yet. The podium is still possible, but it will not be easy,” the UAE captain said combatively. But third place would be a small miracle – but it does not come higher up on the podium in this Giro.

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2.) Bouwman makes the big pointers

A historic “high flight” is almost certain after the 17th stage. At the 105th edition of the Giro, a Dutchman is likely to win the mountain classification in the Tour of Italy for the first time.

With his victories in today’s first two mountain classifications, Koen Bouwman extended his lead almost unassailably and collected a further 51 points in total. Although his closest pursuers in the climbing classification were also in today’s breakaway group, they could not put the jumbo pro in danger: Bouwman is not running out of fuel this past week.

Although there are still two mountain stages and “Cima Coppi” as the most valuable mountain classification, Bouwman in the blue jersey (218 points) has a huge lead over Giulio Ciccone (103) and Diego Rosa (94) – just like Arnaud Démare in the sprinter The 28 -year-olds only need to be on guard and arrive in Verona.

Koen Bouwman Giro 2022

Photo Credit: Getty Images

3.) Van der Poel shines in new territory

Finding new territory for an all-rounder like Mathieu van der Poel is not easy – Cross, mountain bike, road: the Dutchman is in action everywhere.

But the third week of a major tour of the country is a premiere for him, how he copes with these loads, where the limits of his body are in these challenges – terra incognita for the winner of the first stage of this Giro. For he left the Tour de France last year after eight stages to prepare for the Olympics in Tokyo.

Heavy fall of top favorite van der Poel on a mountain bike

But the Dutchman mastered the new experience brilliantly: Like the day before, he went on the offensive on the 17th stage and was the engine of the breakaway group. With a well-placed attack, the winner of the Tour of Flanders even snatched today’s victory.

The Eurosport experts praised his fighting spirit and the Alpecin top star’s precise tactics and driving skills this time: “He did it right”, judged Marcus Burghardt, “it was not far from winning”.

“He was not missing much”: Van der Poel’s turn in the analysis

Fall prevented by rescue: Van der Poel shows his class

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