Italy’s Elia Viviani on Wednesday won a sprint finish for his fourth stage win of this year’s Giro d’Italia as Britain’s Simon Yates held the leader’s pink jersey as the race heads for the Alps.
Quick-Step Floors rider Viviani crossed first after a bunch sprint finish made treacherous following a late downpour after the 155km 17th stage, which finished on the banks of Lake Iseo in northern Italy.
Yates of the Mitchelton team finished in 28th place in the same time as defending champion Tom Dumoulin of the Netherlands and four-time Tour de France winner Chris Froome.
It was enough to keep his lead of 56 seconds overall on Dumoulin, with Froome fourth 3 minutes, 50 seconds behind his fellow Briton with four days left before the race finishes in Rome.
“There’s no easy day at the Giro,” 25-year-old Yates said. “I was expecting a much easier day today. It’s been a very fast stage. Everybody was looking for a breakaway.”
“In the coming three days, I’ll watch Tom mostly and the other GC [general classification] guys,” he said. “As the days tick down, I feel that I’m getting closer to the overall victory, but I also feel that difficult days are coming, so I’ll be careful.”
Viviani’s dash for the line saw him snatch the stage victory from Ireland’s Sam Bennett, winner of the two other group sprints. Italy’s Niccolo Bonifazio was third.
The 29-year-old Olympic omnium gold medalist adds to his two stage wins in Israel and the 13th stage on Friday last week at Nervesa della Battaglia.
“We knew this could be a very hard stage and it was indeed,” said Viviani, the top sprinter in this year’s race.
“There were very strong breakaway riders, but Bora controlled. We played a little bit with them,” he said. “We did it right, because it was the second-last stage for sprinters and Bennett could have put my maglia ciclamino [sprinter’s jersey] in danger.”
“Once it came down to a bunch sprint, I asked my guys to lead me out. When [Danny] Van Poppel anticipated the sprint, I knew it was too early. It was actually perfect for me. I could pass him,” he added.
Teak Sky leader Froome, 33, also conceded that the day had been tougher than he expected.
“That was like junior racing out there — from the gun to the finish it was nonstop,” Froome said. “It was a really full-on day at the Giro, even though on paper it looked to be quite a straightforward day.”
“I’m still hoping to do the best I can do, whatever place that ends up being,” he added.
South Africa’s Louis Meintjes pulled out before the start of the race with a respiratory infection, with Belgian Victor Campenaerts also withdrawing.
As they celebrated Naomi Osaka’s victory in the final of the US Open in New York City’s Flushing Meadows on Saturday, Tokyoites were eager to embrace their heroines’ stand against racial injustice. Osaka, who won her third Grand Slam title with a victory over Victoria Azarenka, has used her platform to support the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement, wearing a mask bearing the name of a different African American before each of her seven matches in the championship. She had donned masks bearing the names of Breonna Taylor, Elijah McClain, Ahmaud Arbery, Trayvon Martin, George Floyd and Philando Castile. On Saturday, she walked
KEY GOAL: Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei is now free to focus on taking her fourth doubles title of the year with Barbora Strycova; they are due to face Nao Hibino and Makoto Ninomiya Taiwanese No. 1 Hsieh Su-wei on Monday returned to the court for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic shut down the WTA Tour, falling to a 6-3, 6-1 defeat to US Open quarter-finalist Elise Mertens, who made a solid transition from the hard courts in New York to the clay at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome. “I’m not sure how well I adapted, to be honest,” Mertens told the WTA Web site. “I just feel like I might still be struggling a little. It was also [Hsieh’s] first match of the week, so that was a bit of an
THOROUGH THRASHING: Hualien City beat Taichung Blue Whale 2-1, ending their three-year winning streak with one round of matches left and eight points to spare Hualien City on Saturday clinched this year’s Taiwan Mulan Football League title with one game to spare, by beating Taichung Blue Whale 2-1 at Fu Jen Catholic University in New Taipei City. Hualien City have scored 38 points this season. Blue Whale are second on the scoreboard with 30 points, while Taipei Bravo are third with 23 points. One final round of matches is to be played on Saturday. It is the fourth league trophy for Hualien City, and ends Blue Whale’s three-year winning streak. Hualien had won the title from 2014 to 2016. Both teams defended well, leaving few chances in front
‘FUN TIME’: Denver’s Nikola Jokic said that his team would not accept that anyone else is better than them and the opposition need to play much better than they do Just about everyone had LA versus LA written in for the NBA’s Western Conference finals, but the resilient Denver Nuggets have crashed the party. Behind Jamal Murray and Nikola Jokic, the Nuggets advanced to the conference finals for the first time since 2009 to face LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers. Game 1 is scheduled to be played tomorrow. This was no ordinary road. The Nuggets fell behind 3-1 in their first-round series against the Utah Jazz before bouncing back with three straight victories. Then they went down 3-1 to the Los Angeles Clippers in the second round before winning in Game 7