Gijs Leemreize was unable to crown an impressive performance in the seventeenth stage of the Giro d’Italia on Wednesday with his first professional victory. The 22-year-old Dutchman from Jumbo-Visma was passed by Colombian Santiago Buitrago just before the top of the last climb and finished second.
Leemreize had ridden away with Mathieu van der Poel in the descent of the penultimate climb, the Passo del Vetriolo. A little later he took off solo, but with the top of Monte Rovere in sight, he was still outflanked by Buitrago.
The Colombian, also 22, held his ground in the last 8 kilometers after the top and crossed the line half a minute before Leemreize in Lavarone. It is Buitrago’s second professional victory after a stage in the Tour of Saudi Arabia.
On Tuesday, Thymen Arensman also had to settle for second place. He was beaten by the Czech Jan Hirt. The number of Dutch stage victories in this Giro therefore remains at two (Van der Poel and Koen Bouwman). The Giro will last until Sunday.
The pink jersey remains on Richard Carapaz’s shoulders. The Ecuadorian from INEOS Grenadiers crossed the line along with Jai Hindley, his main competitor for the stage win. The difference between the two in the standings is only three seconds.
The Colombian Santiago Buitrago keeps Gijs Leemreize from the stage victory.
Bouwman is doing good business again for mountain jersey
The 168-kilometer ride from Ponte de Legno to Lavarone started with a steep climb and it was spectacular from the start. Arensman immediately left the pack with Hugh Carthy, Alessandro Covi and Felix Gall.
Before the top, the four were joined by about twenty other riders, including Leemreize, Van der Poel, Sam Oomen and Koen Bouwman. The latter, leader in the mountains classification, took the maximum number of points on both the Giovi (third category) and the Passo del Vetriolo (first category) and now has the blue very firmly on his shoulders.
The peace in the leading group had already been disrupted by an attack by Van der Poel. The Alpecin-Fenix rider took off solo with more than 60 kilometers to go and saw seven other riders join the Vetriolo. In the descent Van der Poel again drove away, this time only Leemreize could follow.
Leader Richard Carapaz is another day closer to the overall victory.
Leemreize sees Buitrago return from the background
On the tough final climb, the Monte Rovere (7.9 kilometers at 9.9 percent), Van der Poel thought he would say goodbye to Leemreize. However, the 22-year-old Achterhoeker turned out to have resilience. With 10 kilometers to go he went up and over.
Leemreize’s first professional victory seemed in the making, but Buitrago returned from the background. Just before the top, with 8 kilometers to go, the Bahrain Victorious rider passed the Dutchman before riding solo to victory. Leemreize finished second after half a minute.
In the battle for the stage victory, Carapaz and Hindley did not hurt each other. They crossed the line together 3 kilometers from the winner. Mikel Landa, who received a lot of help from his teammate Wout Poels uphill, had to give up a handful of seconds in the last kilometer. However, he rises at the expense of João Almeida to third place in the standings.