Dainese wins 17th stage as Thomas keeps Giro d'Italia lead
CAORLE, Italy — Local rider Alberto Dainese won the 17th stage of the Giro d’Italia in a mass sprint that was decided in a photo finish Wednesday, while Geraint Thomas’ overall lead was unchanged in the last flat day before the race concludes in Rome on Sunday.
Dainese, who rides for Team DSM, finished just ahead of Jonathan Milan and Michael Matthews but had no reaction at the finish while the trio waited to be told the official results.
In the overall standings, Thomas remained 18 seconds ahead of Joao Almeida and 29 seconds ahead of Primoz Roglic.
The stage offered a day off from climbing as the 195-kilometer (121-mile) route from Pergine Valsugana to Caorle started with a gradual descent before a long, flat finish.
Starting on Thursday, there are three straight days of hard climbing that should decide the race winner.
“The main thing was to save the legs as much as possible for the next three days,” said Thomas, a Welshman who won the 2018 Tour de France.
“Both Primoz Roglic and Joao Almeida are very dangerous," he added. "I’m afraid of both to be honest. Friday seems like the queen stage. From the experience I have, I’ve got the confidence and the belief that I can win. I know how to not get carried away.”
Dainese, who is from the Veneto region where the stage ended, required nearly 4½ hours to complete the route and earn his second career win in the Giro after also winning a sprinting leg last year.
“It's more special winning at home,” Dainese said. “I knew every bump and hole in the road.”
The race returns to the high mountains in stage 18 on Thursday with two first category climbs followed by two second-category climbs in the finale — including an uphill finish — along the 161-kilometer (100-mile) route from Oderzo to Val di Zoldo.
Thomas will celebrate his 37th birthday on Thursday.