No change in the overall standings then, with Alberto Contador preserving his 4:02 lead over Mikel Landa and 4:52 over Fabio Aru.
Tirano - Lugano
Giro d'Italia - 27 May 2015
Giro d'Italia – Follow this cycling race live with Eurosport. The action starts at 19:55 on 27 May 2015. Our live coverage lets you follow all the key moments as they happen.
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With Elia Viviani missing out on the top 10, that is good news for Nizzolo: despite missing out on the win, he will be in the red jersey tonight.
Modolo really benefitted from the lead-out then - he actually had two men, and they seemed to know this finish inside out. Luka Mezgec came powering on the outside, but faded to finish third behind Giacomo Nizzolo.
Victory for Sacha Modolo! The Italian becomes the second rider to double up in this year's Giro. Too strong for Nizzolo and Mezgec...
Haussler, Viviani. Nizzolo, Mezgec and Lobato all there too...
About 25 riders in this front group... Lampre have a couple, including that man Modolo.
It's no can do for Paolini - he's reeled in ahead of the kite. But the peloton is strung out and there will be no lead-out trains here...
Paolini has opened up a small gap as numerous riders try to bridge the gap, including one Ag2R-La Mondiale rider...
Luca Paolini attacks on the descent for Katusha. He's on the front as the pack catch Slagter and Gilbert.
Chapeau, Philippe Gilbert. The Belgian has caught Slagter - but it's a Phyrric victory. They will both be caught soon.
ATTACK: Tom Jelte Slagter of Cannondale-Garmin pings off the front. No response from Tinkoff-Saxo, while the sprinters' teams are adverse to putting in an effort right now.
Sky and Saxo are jostling for position near the front now as tensions rise ahead of this climb. CCC Sprandi Polkowice are still very close to the front as are, bizarrely, Orica-GreenEdge.
IAM Cycling are prepping themselves - perhaps Chavanel will have a dig on the hill, or maybe Haussler has good legs for the sprint?
With Hansen reabsorbed by the pack, it's Tinkoff-Saxo once again on the front for their man Alberto Contador. And they've just passed into Switzerland...
The roads that line Lake Lugano here near the Swiss border are narrow and winding, making this a technical approach to the final hill ahead of the finish. Hansen is about to be reeled in.
Just 10 seconds for marathon man Adam Hansen, who is riding his 11th consecutive Grand Tour for Lotto.
Just one more little hillock before the finish in Lugano. Atapuma must have been caught too because there's no sign of him now. Just Hansen drilling it on the front, with a 16-second lead. He's a specialist in these types of scenarios, but even the experienced Australian will struggle to hold on to this one.
Gretsch will be first to be caught as Giant-Alpecin up the tempo. Yes, the German has sat up after a shake of the head. He wasn't impressed with Atapuma there, who chose to ride for himself and not collaborate.
The gap is up to 20 seconds now as Hansen pings clear of Gretsch and Atapuma.
Philippe Gilbert (BMC) is trying to bridge the gap to Gretsch and Hansen. Hang on, that's not Gilbert, it's Darwin Atapuma, the Colombian.
ATTACK: Patrick Gretsch (Ag2R-La Mondiale) surges clear, prompting a reply from Adam Hansen (Lotto Soudal). BMC are leading the chase.
It's all over for the three escapees, Bandiera, Berlato and Keisse. Tinkoff-Saxo have now come to the front for Alberto Contador. There's also riders from BMC and Lotto Soudal there.
It's Nizzolo who takes the points for fourth over Viviani - so a reverse of the previous intermediate sprint. Up next - the first of two hills before the finish.
Now IAM Cycling come to the front for their man Heinrich Haussler. Giant have disappeared all of a sudden, which is interesting. Just 25 seconds now as they pass through the intermediate sprint.
It's below a minute again now for the leaders, who are beginning to look a bit resigned. Giant-Alpecin lead the chase for their man Mezgec.
Remember, there's still one more intermediate sprint, plus those two hills, ahead of the finish - and so there are still some moments where riders could make a move. The gap is back up to 1:15 as the pack heads into one of the few road tunnels that take the road into Lugano.
The gap is just one minute now - and there's more chat on the front of the pack. After all, the don't want to catch these three riders too early or it may encourage counter attacks...
Not everyone expected this scenario today. In fact, many riders thought a break would stay out. Moreno Hofland, for instance, told Eurosport: "It's not sure it's going to be a sprint today. It's a hard start so there's a possibility that a group goes away - and if it's a 12-man group it will be hard." Perhaps the LottoNL-Jumbo sprinter can get in the mix today...
The break rides with the shimmering waters of Lake Como to the left and the mountains to the right. The gap is just 1:15 now so it's a matter of time.
There are some words between riders of Trek and Tinkoff on the front of the peloton as they continue the chase. They're crossing the river and the wind has increased a little. The gap is 1:30 for the three leaders.
While Elia Viviani wouldn't say no to a second stage win today, it is not his main priority. "This is the second to last occasion for a sprint but the priority is to defend the red jersey. I'm proud to wear this jersey and I want to wear it all the way to Milan," the 26-year-old Sky sprinter told us this morning.
The road hugs the bank of the river Adda which runs into Lake Como. This is Bandiera's third Giro d'Italia, making the 30-year-old arguably the most experienced of this break. The Italian is still on the hunt for his first pro win, mind. A former stage winner in the Tour of Turkey, Iljo Keisse, is also riding his third Giro. This is Berlato's debut Grand Tour. The bespectacled 23-year-old has not won a race as a pro yet - but let's give him some slack: this is his first pro season for Nippo-Vini Fantini.
That flurry of activity behind for the sprint has seen the gap for the three leaders come down to just 1:40. While it looks like there's no chance they can stay out, the escapees may well be bolstered by the two occasions last week where the peloton made a hash of the chase and missed out on the win. Surely it can't happen again, though.
Keisse, Bandiera and Berlato pass through the intermediate sprint at Morbegno, which is positively brimming with fans lining the side of the road. There's a lot of activity behind as Bernie Eisel leads out Elia Viviani to take the points for fourth place ahead of Giacomo Nizzolo (Trek). Sky's Viviani extends his lead in the red jersey competition.
The gap is down to 2:10 for the three leaders. A reminder of their names: Marco Bandiera (Androni-Sidemec), Iljo Keisse (Etixx-QuickStep) and Giacomo Berlato (Nippo-Vini Fantini).
We spoke to Luka Mezgec this morning. The Slovenian won last year's final stage in Trieste but has been off colour and form this year. "I had a nice time in the mountains. Today is a sprint opportunity but it depends on how many teams control things - and there is also a good opportunity for a breakaway. Otherwise there's Sunday in Milan - I hope."
There's a small split off the front of the peloton as a gap opens up between the Giant-Alpecin train driving the pace and the Tinkoff-Saxo army of race leader Contador. Trek and Lampre have one rider each in front of the Giant troupe.
Bandiera pushes Berlato forward after his fellow Italian loses rhythm in the break. The trio has 2:30 on the pack. It looks as if both Villella and Patersky, who were chasing down the leaders, are no longer doing so. The official race infographic has them still between break and peloton, but we've had no spotting of them for quite some while so let's assume they're back with the pack.
Fabio Aru's grip on the Giro came loose yesterday when the young Italian dropped to third place after team-mate Mikel Landa's win in Aprica. Aru did have a 40-second advantage over Alberto Contador starting the Mortirolo, but he faded fast and finished the stage back in seventh place. "I suffered for 40km and I could have lost 20 minutes,” Aru admitted after the stage. "It honestly wasn’t one of the best days of my career. I suffered a lot and I rode more with my head than my legs. I fought all the way to the line so that I didn’t lose everything.”
It's a very fast pace at the moment - and this stage, the shortest in the Giro, could be over in under three hours at this rate. The leaders have 2:35 now as they pass Sondrio Airport.
The gap is 2:40 for the three leaders. Paterski and Villella are still stuck in between.
The peloton is all strung out on this sunny day in the valley sof the Alps. Trek Factory Racing are leading the chase - perhaps they fancy setting up Giacomi Nizzolo for the win and red jersey today. Giant Alpecin are present too, maybe for their man Luka Mezgec, who has been a bit off this year, it has to be said.
Villella and Paterski are not making much headway: they ride just 20 seconds ahead of the pack and still trail the three leaders by 1:50.
The three leaders are onto the descent now with Villella and Paterski in pursuit. No news for now on who bridged the summit in pole position, or where chasse patate Chirico ended up.
Maciej Paterski (CCC Sprandi Polkowice) and Davide Villella (Cannondale-Garmin) are trying to bridge the gap as the leaders approach the summit of this climb.
Bandiera, Keisse and Berlato have 1:20 over lone chaser Chirico, who himself rides 50 seconds ahead of the peloton on this Cat.3 climb.
The leading trio is onto the climb and they have a pursuer in the form of Luca Chirico (Bardiani CSF).
The three leaders are approaching the climb - so far there have been no more attacks, but that will soon no doubt change.
Early attack from Marco Bandiera (Androni-Sidemec), Iljo Keisse (Etixx-QuickStep) and Giacomo Berlato (Nippo-Vini Fantini). They open up a gap of 30 seconds but can expect to be joined by more riders on the climb - if not before.
We're under way in Tirano for the start of stage 17. The road heads downhill for the first 8km ahead of the only categorised climb of the day, the Cat.3 ascent to Teglio. Then we have a downhill and some rolling-to-flat terrain ahead of a couple of hills before the flat finish in Lugano.
The big talking point yesterday was the perceived unsporting tactics of both Astana and Katusha, who drove the pace when the race leader punctured on the descent from Aprica 20km ahead of the Mortirolo. "I don’t want to say too much but I think there was much more respect for the maglia rosa five or 10 years ago. Now when the leader punctures, they attack; when the leader crashes, they attack,” Tinkoff-Saxo owner Oleg Tinkov told Cyclingnews. "It’s up to the fans to say if there was fair play from the Astana and Katusha team. I don’t understand what they were hoping to do by being 40 seconds ahead at the start of the Mortirolo. Alberto was by far the strongest guy here… I don’t think Astana and Katusha showed any class."
Some riders were penalised yesterday for holding onto cars and motorbikes for too long on the fearsome Mortirolo pass. They included Leopold Konig (Team Sky) and Jurgen van den Broeck (Lotto Soudal), who both received a nominal 50 Swiss franc fine and a 10-second penalty. The Czech Republic rider Konig stays sixth on GC, but now trails Contador by 9:41.
It's a late start today, what with this stage being so short and relatively straight forward. The remaining 170 riders are readying themselves in Tirano ahead of the official start - and look, the sun is out for the first time in what seems like an eternity in northern Italy.
Alberto Contador cemented his grip on the maglia rosa yesterday with an astonishing performance on the Mortirolo to fight back after a puncture and then distance a shell-shocked Fabio Aru. It's Aru's Astana team-mate Mikel Landa - winner of the stage in Aprica for his second successive scalp in the Alps - who is now second on GC, 4:02 down on his fellow Spaniard from Tinkoff-Saxo. Aru drops to third a further 50 seconds back.
Hello and welcome to live coverage of stage 17 of the Giro d'Italia, an odd transitional-ish 134km ride from Tirano to Lugano that features just one lower category climb and a largely flat route ahead of the Swiss finale - which could well suit a break or a bunch sprint of sorts.