Stage 17 of the Giro d’Italia 2017 was won by Pierre Rolland, the French rider of Cannondale-Drapac. Rolland and his team were really needed this victory: Rolland’s last Grand Tour stage win was back in 2012 (Stage 11 of the Tour de France), and the American Squad didn’t win a single World Tour race for the last two years (actually, Andrew Talansky won Stage 5 of the Amgen Tour of California atop Mt. Baldy on Thursday, May 18, 2017 – but before that, the last two years were empty).

The moment the race was won was interesting: Rolland stopped pedaling and waited for the big chasing group – this was the decisive “move” of the race.

Rolland, Pavel Brutt (Gazprom-Rusvelo), and Pierre Rolland’s former teammate young Matej Mohorič (UAE Team Emirates) attacked from the kilometer zero. Then almost 40 riders also attacked and started chasing the leading trio. The peloton, which includes the maglia rosa didn’t chase this big group, and the gap gradually increased. It was clear that the big favorites were racing defensively today. And it was also clear that the chasing group was big, strong, and organized enough to catch the leading trio.

A clever move by Pierre Rolland

Pierre Rolland after winning Giro d'Italia 2017 stage 17
Pierre Rolland celebrated his victory by holding his bike over his head, in his special style.

Roland (and his team) well read the moment, and Rolland stopped working with the other two riders. Instead, he stopped pedaling and waited for the chasing group. He clearly wanted to save energy for the rest of the stage. Eventually, first Brutt, then Mohorič got caught by the group. As the finish line getting closer, riders started attacking but all attacks were neutralized.

With 7.6 km to go, Rolland took off. It was a strong attack and he was never seen again. He got a much-needed and deserved stage victory. It was a very clever play.

Here are the stage highlights below. It was funny that the commentators didn’t get Rolland’s decision – they were surprised and couldn’t understand why he dropped back.

Giro d’Italia 2017 stage 17 Highlights
It was a great tactical move for Pierre Rolland, dropping from the leading trio and waiting for the big chasing group. Commentators were surprised at that move, but it was obvious that he wanted to save energy for the rest of the stage. And it was obvious too, that the chasing group would catch the leaders eventually.

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