Nairo Quintana started Wednesday's stage 17 in the lead of the Giro d'Italia after winning a tough 16th stage in difficult weather conditions on Tuesday.
12 riders broke away with 135 kilometres to go, including Stefano Pirazzi and Thomas De Gendt while Quintana was happy to stay in the peleton . Rain then began to fall, making conditions tricky. Eduard Vorganov, Johan Le Bon and Marco Frapporti crashied and the riders began to cycle more conservatively.
Thomas De Gendt attempted to take control of the race and broke away on his own with little over 30 kilometres to go, but he couldn't keep the pace and Pirazzi hauled him in 12 kilometres later. The pair were joined by a few other riders and there was little to choose until just over a kilometre from the finish when Pirazzi turned on the afterburners, and the 27-year-old simply couldn't be caught.
Quintana finished safely in the pack - and kept hold of a 1:41 lead over fellow Colombian Rigoberto Uran and 3:21 ahead of Cadel Evans, with Pierre Rolland only five seconds further back.
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