The Giro resumed on Wednesday in the same way it – temporarily – stopped on Monday afternoon: with a mountain stage. Towards Sega di Ala, it was this time up to Matteo Badilatti to get his opportunity as he entered the day’s breakaway. The Swiss climber was however caught shortly before the final climb, where Dan Martin proved to be the only attacker to stay away. Suffering from a bad day, Attila Valter slipped to 16th overall.
“I will learn from my mistakes”, Matteo Badilatti
In the aftermath of a welcome rest day, a fast start was expected for the riders on Wednesday morning in Canazei. The first hour of racing turned out to be extremely fast, and the fight for the breakaway therefore very contested, due to a false flat of around 30 kilometers in the first part of the race. “It was not easy to be up front”, confirmed Philippe Mauduit, “but Matteo was careful and managed to enter the right move”. The latter established itself after almost forty kilometers, but the bunch only stopped fighting after the first categorized climb of the day, at km 60. From then on, nineteen riders were able to make a real gap. “There were a lot of guys in front, but the harmony and the cooperation weren’t good,” said Matteo, who was taking part in his first breakaway on this Giro. “Some riders and some teams didn’t want to pull. Besides, there was a headwind and that made the organization even more complicated. It’s always difficult to play your card right when you’re alone in such a big group because you have to be careful not to get caught up”. “With the profile of the final, it was good to have Matteo in front,” added Philippe. “We still dream about a stage victory even though we know it’s difficult to get. Twelve teams still have not won anything on this Giro and we actually saw that BikeExchange wanted to make Yates win today”.
Due to the tempo set by the Australian team in the back, the breakaway’s advantage got blocked at five minutes. It even reduced to 3’30 at the bottom of Passo San Valentino (15 km at 7.5%). The pace in front obviously increased, especially with the work of Dan Martin. Approaching the summit, the Irishman attacked, Matteo Badilatti tried to follow but had to let it go after a few minutes. “When he accelerated, I followed, but I did not have the best legs, explained the Swiss climber. If I had taken my own pace, it would have gone better. I cracked a little and I lost contact with the first group”. At the top, the Groupama-FDJ’s rider found himself in a third group and proved unable to bridge across. He was also kind of trapped in the short valley leading to the final climb of Sega di Ala (11, 5 km at 9.5%). “We were only two riders to do this valley, as the riders of the Deceuninck-Quick Step waited for the peloton,” he recalled. “It would have been better to sit up, recover and try to hold on in this last climb. Still, it was a good experience and it will be a useful one for the next time. I will learn from these little mistakes”.
“Attila had a very difficult day”, Philippe Mauduit
In the lead, only Dan Martin managed to stay away from the GC contenders to secure the stage victory. Matteo Badilatti finished six minutes later in twenty-fifth place. “We cannot be satisfied with the result in itself, but when you see that only Dan Martin made it to the end, we can’t have regret”, Philippe added. “We came against a stronger rider, that’s all”. “It’s always nice to be up front and make the race,” said Matteo. “We will try again in the next few days”. For Attila Valter, this stage 17 did not go as expected. The Hungarian suffered a bad day, losing twenty minutes on the line and three places in the general classification (16th). “Attila had a very difficult day right from the start of the penultimate climb,” explained Philippe Mauduit. “These things happen, but that doesn’t take away from him everything he’s done so far. He fought well, Lars supported him, but it was just a bad day. We just need to hope that there won’t be more on the other two mountain stages”.
Now quite far from the pink jersey, and even from the top 10 overall, the young Hungarian will be able to enjoy some freedom by the end of the week. “There are three stages left before Milan, and they will be highly contested, as it was today,” concluded Philippe. “Attila will be able to create opportunities for himself and get a chance to go for a stage. Either way, we get into battle in the morning hoping that it will pay off in the end. In this regard, all the riders do what they have to do; they all get in the fight. However, there is such a high level that it’s not easy to enter in the breakaway, or to beat the others when you’re there. Tomorrow, we will still need to try being up there, knowing though that it’s never easy”.