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by Neal Rogers
May 25, 2017
In today’s Daily News Digest: Pierre Rolland solos to victory from breakaway on Stage 17 of Giro d’Italia; Velon shares power data on Rolland’s Giro stage win; Coquard wins opening stage of Baloise Belgium Tour; Aussie Michael Storer takes stage win at An Post Rás; Aberasturi wins Stage 4 at Tour of Japan, Canola holds GC lead; Martyn Irvine sidelined after suffering hip fracture in Baloise Belgium Tour; UCI suspends Soul Brasil Pro Cycling for 35 days for multiple doping violations; Synergy Baku fires Averin after UCI doping ban is imposed; Colorado Classic names 14 teams, including four WorldTour squads; Monash University researchers seek Melbourne cyclists for passing distance study; Video: Orica-Scott reviews their day after Stage 17 of the Giro d’Italia
After several attempts at this year’s Giro d’Italia, Frenchman Pierre Rolland (Cannondale-Drapac) got the stage win he was looking for Wednesday in Canazei, soloing away from a breakaway group of several strong riders that at one point numbered over 40 — nearly 20% of the entire peloton. It was Rolland’s first victory since the 2015 Vuelta a Castilla y Leon, and his first Grand Tour stage win since the 2012 Tour de France. The Stage 17 victory also marked Cannondale-Drapac’s first Grand Tour stage win since the 2015 Giro d’Italia, and France’s first stage win at this year’s Giro.
Rolland attacked early, going clear with only two riders, Pavel Brutt (Gazprom-Rusvelo) and Matej Mohoric (UAE Team Emirates). After the second of three categorized climbs, Rolland sat up and waited until he was caught by a group of 39 riders, including Gorka Izagirre and Rory Sutherland (Movistar), Rui Costa, Valerio Conti, and Jan Polanc (UAE Team Emirates), Maxime Monfort (Lotto-Soudal), and Rolland’s Cannondale-Drapac teammate, Mike Woods. Brutt and Mohoric pushed on until they were caught; Brutt with 80km to go, and Mohoric with 60km to go.
“I’m just so happy,” Rolland said. “I’ve been waiting so long for this moment. In 2015, I was second in a Tour de France stage. Last year was complicated for me. It’s been a long wait. I worked so hard this winter, with [team manager] Jonathan Vaughters as my new trainer. My winter was very hard, and I win today for all my hard work. Yesterday was super hard, everyone was completely dead tired, and sometimes after a very hard stage, the first attack goes.
“I rode the first climb easy, the second climb easy, then I waited for the big group to catch us, but a big group is not easy to manage. It’s like a big lottery, and at the end, everyone is dead. You follow attacks, again, again, again. One moment I go, I had my teammate Michael Woods, if it comes back he is there for the sprint. At 1km to go I knew I’d won, and I’m just so happy, it’s difficult to explain.”
Maglia rosa Tom Dumoulin (Team Sunweb) maintained his 31-second lead over Nairo Quintana (Movistar) in the general classification. “We weren’t too worried today,” he said. “We needed to chase harder than we had expected, but I was never worried. I knew other teams would stress before us. They waited very long to come and help, and Rolland has passed a few riders in GC, but that’s their problem. My boys did an amazing job today.”
Video: Stage 17 highlights