It was Roger Kluge (IAM) who sprung a surprise over the remaining sprinters left at the Giro d'Italia with an audacious move to take the win in Stage 17. Following an attack from local favourite Filippo Pozzato (Wilier-Southeast) in the final kilometre, Kluge went over the top of the Italian and even had time to sit up and celebrate properly as the sprinters closed in.
"I can't believe it... it's a dream. Yesterday we were all a bit disappointed over the announcement, but we stuck together as a team and we rode as a team. In the end, it wasn't planned like this, I still wanted to work for Heino (Heinrich Haussler) actually. I saw I had a small gap so I kept going. (Filippo) Pozzato was still there so I had something where I could go to the finish line of catching him, then go to the next finish line. I can't believe it... it's crazy"
Giacomo Nizzolo (Trek-Segafredo) was again resigned to finishing second on the stage, yet to take a win in the Giro d'Italia despite winning the points jersey last year and wearing the jersey at the moment. He extended his lead on his nearest rivals again today, but looked less than happy after the finish. Nikias Arndt (Giant-Alpecin) was next in the lunge to the line for third.
Earlier in the stage a break of three riders including Daniel Oss (BMC), Eugert Zhupa (Wilier-Southeast), Pavel Brutt (Tinkoff) was allowed to go early and got a maximum lead of five minutes and 55 seconds. It was an easy ride throughout most of the stage, with the two sprint points contested by those up there in the classification. Giacomo Nizzolo was the first across the line from the peloton, extending his lead in the red jersey standings, fending off the challenge from Diego Ulissi (Lampre-Merida).
The breakaway's advantage was steadily reduced through the stage until the second sprint point in Calcio with 33.6 kilometres remaining where Lars Bak (Lotto Soudal), Ignatas Konovolovas (FDJ) and Maxim Belkov (Katusha) broke free from the peleton. The three man move bridged to the initial breakaway and the riders worked extremely well together, forcing the teams of the sprinters to use up a lot of firepower to bring the escapees back. In the end this may have cost them the strength to control the finale, which may have helped eventual winner Kluge.
Steven Kruijswijk (LottoNL-Jumbo) maintained his stranglehold on the race lead after an uneventful day in the saddle and was quite content speaking after the finish.
"It's been a long stage but quite a nice day. I've enjoyed riding with the Maglia Rosa as much as I could because I knew this was my last easy day race before some hard stages coming up, starting tomorrow. It's a stage with a hard and spectacular finale after a tricky downhill. I'm ready".