Georg Steinhauser celebrated his first professional victory with an impressive solo effort on the 17th stage of the Giro d’Italia, culminating in a summit finish at Passo Brocon. The young German, visibly ecstatic in the final 400 metres, raised his arms in triumph as he crossed the finish line. “It’s something unbelievable. Already on Stage 8, I noticed I have good legs,” he said. “Today when I rode to the sign-on, I thought to myself ‘I have good legs, maybe I will win today,’ and then I went from the beginning in the break.”

The challenging 159-kilometre route from Selva di Val Gardena included four classified climbs before the final ascent, making it a gruelling test for the riders. Steinhauser was initially part of an early breakaway that was reeled back in by the peloton, only to attack again near the top of the first ascent of Passo Brocon, securing his victory.

Despite Tadej Pogacar’s late attempt to spoil the German’s day, the Slovenian rider finished second, 1 minute and 24 seconds behind. Pogacar, a two-time Tour de France champion, expressed satisfaction with his performance, stating, “I’m satisfied how it is, even if I don’t win anything else now, everything is just bonus from now on. The main goal is always to keep the jersey into Rome, not to do anything stupid.”

Antonio Tiberi crossed the line in third place, 1:42 behind Steinhauser, leading a group of overall contenders. Tiberi, who is making a name for himself as a promising Grand Tour rider, was pleased with his performance. “Today was a super day for me,” he said. “I’m really very happy. The legs were great all day and the final climb went very well.”

Ben O’Connor had a challenging day, struggling on the final ascent. He revealed that he might be fighting an illness, which impacted his performance. “I was just struggling to breathe, so just fighting something, so just a bit average,” he said. “It was a bit sad today. It wasn’t my best.”

The stage saw significant movements in the general classification, with Pogacar extending his lead to 7:42 over Daniel Martinez and 8:04 over Geraint Thomas. The Slovenian rider’s formidable form continued to dominate the race, with a particularly strong performance on the final climb, where he surged ahead with 2km to go.

Meanwhile, Romain Bardet, finishing seventh, reflected on his day, saying, “We went racing how I liked it today. When you can have an impact on the race with the team; I really enjoyed it.” His team had set a hard pace throughout the stage, attempting to put Bardet in a favourable position, though ultimately it was Steinhauser who seized the day.

As the Giro d’Italia moves into its final stages, the riders face a mix of terrain, with the upcoming 18th stage offering a respite from the mountains in a primarily flat route likely to end in a sprint finish. The race will culminate in Rome on Sunday.

2024 Giro d’Italia Stage 17 result

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