O’Connor was second in the last stage, finishing in San Daniele del Friuli, just 7 seconds behind Jan Tratnik. This time, he attacked with 8.3 kilometers to go, getting into a large escape, to savor the honey that had stayed on his lips.
The top of Madonna di Campiglio (1st category, with 11.9 kilometers at an average gradient of 5.9) was the scene of the first great victory of the young Australian climber, who reaches the fourth triumph of his career, and second in this 2020 .
The day’s break, initially made up of 19 runners, featured the Spanish Víctor de la Parte (CCC Team), Óscar Rodríguez (Astana) and Héctor Carretero (Movistar Team), as well as Ilnur Zakarin (CCC Team) or Thomas de Gendt (Lotto Soudal), among others.
Zakarin and De Gendt tried to reach O’Connor as soon as the Australian appeared to be cruising towards glory. But they tried with more heart than legs and couldn’t even disturb the NTT.
Austrian Hermann Pernsteiner (Bahrain-McLaren) also made the escape and was second at the finish, 31 seconds behind O’Connor. But it is not news for this reason, but because, being fifteenth and at 9:53 in the general, he is now eleventh at 5:07.
It is this, however, the only big change in the general. The leader Joao Almeida (Deceuninck-Quick Step) did not suffer to maintain, without attacks from rivals, the ‘pink jersey’ that he has been wearing since the third stage of this Giro.
Although it was a stage thought to be of ‘5 Stars’, it disappointed, in this sense. It looked like the chicken coop was about to move when Wilco Kelderman and Jai Hindley’s powerful Team Sunweb – second and third overall – decided to change the pace.
But neither Hindley’s acceleration, first, and his subsequent attack made a difference. In fact, without giving Hindley time to open a gap, Kelderman reacted quickly to reach his partner but, with that, dragged the rest of the rivals.
Almeida, in addition, counted until the finish line with the collaboration of his partner Fausto Masnada, who suffered momentarily with the movement of the Sunweb but quickly overcame. There were no more attempts, not even timid, leaving the rest of the teams and Sunweb himself any attempt to assault the leadership for later.
This Thursday, stage 18 should be important. Between Pinzolo and Laghi di Cancano, over 207 kilometers, you will climb the P.Castrini (1st), the mythical Passo dello Stelvio (HC) and the final ascent will be to Torri di Fraele (1st).
1. Ben O’Connor (AUS / NTT Pro Cycling) 5:50:59.
2. Hermann Pernsteiner (AUT/Bahrain-McLaren) a 31.
3. Thomas de Gendt (BEL / Lotto Soudal) 1:10.
4. Ilnur Zakarin (RUS / CCC Team) 1:13.
5. Kilian Frankiny (SUI / Groupama-FDJ) 1:55.
1. Joao Almeida (POR / Deceuninck-Quick Step) 71:41:18.
2. Wilco Kelderman (NED / Team Sunweb) a 17.
3. Jai Hindley (AUS / Team Sunweb) 2:58.
4. Tao Geoghegan Hart (GBR / INEOS Grenadiers) 2:59.
5. PELLO BILBAO (ESP / Bahrain-McLaren) 3:12.