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A big number: the Irishman Dan Martin (Israel SN) won solo the 17th stage of the Giro d’Italia cycling, on Wednesday, at the top finish at Sega di Ala.
Colombian Egan Bernal (Ineos) lost time in the final climb but kept the leader’s pink jersey four days before the finish in Milan.
Bernal, at work, let go of a series of acceleration from Briton Simon Yates before the last three kilometers.
The Colombian, very marked on the finish line, appeared vulnerable for the first time since leaving Turin. But he only gave up about fifty seconds to Yates.
In the general classification, Bernal preserved almost all of his lead over the Italian Damiano Caruso, second at 2 min 21 sec. Yates moved up from 5th to 3rd place, at 3:23 a.m.
At the finish line, the Portuguese Joao Almeida took second place 13 seconds behind Dan Martin, who held up superbly on the final climb, 11.2 kilometers at 9.8% average gradient. Yates, slightly off the hook by Almeida in the final, was third at 30 seconds.
Under the sun returning to the race, the Briton Hugh Carthy and the Russian Aleksandr Vlasov, as well as the French Romain Bardet, were clinched by their rivals for the podium. All three are now more than six minutes behind Bernal in the general classification.
The 193-kilometer stage was played out in the final ascent due to the pursuit by Yates’ team behind the 19-rider breakaway launched after a very lively start.
Dan Martin, in a small group, showed up with a lead limited to 1 min 15 sec. But he managed to remove his first success in the Giro, at the age of 34.
The Irishman, who has already won the Tour de France and the Vuelta, has notably won two “monuments” in his career, Liège-Bastogne-Liège and the Tour of Lombardy.
In the descent of the penultimate difficulty, the passo di San Valentino, Remco Evenepoel was caught in a fall of half a dozen riders. The young Belgian, absent from the pelotons for nine months after his fall from the Tour of Lombardy last summer, slipped over the crash barrier but was able to continue the race.
On Thursday, the Giro returns to the plain for the 18th stage, the last favorable to sprinters. The 231 kilometer long course between Rovereto and Stradella has three small hills, simple bumps, in the end.