Felix Grossschartner claimed first top 10 spot for CCC Sprandi Polkowice in 2017 Giro d’Italia. After very active day in the saddle he finished 7th at the line.
Info: Stage 17, May 24th, Tirano – Canazei, 219km
Course: hilly (Aprica – 12,3km long, avg. 6,8%, max. 11%, cat. 2; Passo del Tonale – 11km, 6%, 10%, cat. 2; Giovo – 6km; 7,5%, 12%, cat. 3)
How it unfolded?
CCC Sprandi Polkowice was again one of the most aggressive teams early on. Four riders took part in the 40-man move, which went after 3-man leading group, that included Pierre Rolland (Cannondale-Drapac) Pavel Brutt (Gazprom-Rusvelo) and Matej Mohoric (UAE Team Emirates). This time “orange squad” was represented in the front by Felix Grosschartner, Michal Schlegel, Branislau Samoilau and Łukasz Owsian.
After winning first two KOM’s Rolland was distanced from the break, while the remaining duo continued to extend their advantage to 5 minutes over the chasers and 13 over the bunch. Later Brutt got dropped as well, as he suffered from dehydration. Thus, Mohoric was left alone in the front.
Also the chasing group was splintering and the strongest caught Mohoric with 60km to go. At that point leading group still included Samoilau and Grossschartner. The closer it got to the finish, the smaller the escape was, but young Austrian managed to keep up with the pace of his fellow escapees.
He was very active and attentive late in the race, responding to attacks and closing gaps. He wasn’t able to follow stage winner, Pierre Rolland who put the hammer down with 7km to go, but claimed very solid, 7th place at the line. It was first top 10 performance by CCC Sprandi Polkowice in 100th edition of Giro d’Italia.
In the morning I felt tired, after yesterday’s breakaway. When I got into escape I thought to myself – two in a row, it’s going to be a hard day. But surprisingly I felt very good. I was able to stay with the strongest and despite the fact, that I’m not a sprinter I finished 6th from the group, behind Rolland. I think I could have done even better, since my legs were quite solid in the end – said Felix Grossschartner.
In the finale we had headwind so it was really hard to pull away. Rolland picked perfect moment, just after we caught previous attackers and everyone was on the limit.
I’m very happy with my today’s performance, especially if I look back to first week, when I was sick and didn’t feel good. That’s really a big improvement. I hope I will be able to keep that form until the last stage.
Peloton, which took it easy on that stage, finished almost 8 minutes behind. Jan Hirt, and other GC contenders, was part of the bunch and kept his 16th place overall.