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Giro d'Italia 2017: Vincenzo Nibali wins Stage 16 after a dramatic mountain stage

Josh Cunningham
23 May 2017

Vincenzo Nibali wins from Mikel Landa, while Tom Dumoulin suffers and loses time on a dramatic day at the Giro d'Italia

Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain Merida) has won stage 16 of the Giro d'Italia, outsprinting Team Sky's Mikel Landa in a two-up sprint to the line after a decisive mountainous stage at the Giro d'Italia.

Landa was the sole survivor of a big early breakaway, while Nibali had bridged across to him from the group of favourites on the final descent, and with his fresher legs was able to seal the victory; both his and Italy's first of the 2017 Giro.

Maglia Rosa Tom Dumoulin had a terrible day, suffering with what appeared to be bad guts, but nonetheless has managed limit his losses to retain a 31 second lead over Nairo Quintana (Movistar) in the overall GC.

After his ride, Nibali now sits in third at 1'12".

In a lot of people's books, this was the Giro's Queen stage. A 222km epic from Rovetta to Bormio, taking in three mammoth climbs in the form of the Mortirolo, Stelvio and Umbrail passes.

With such a big day there was a lot of varying motivations for teams having riders in the breakaway, and as such it took over an hour of hard, fast racing for one to form.

When a move did eventually go, it was a large 27-man breakaway that pulled away, including big names such as Andrey Amador (Movistar), Steven Kruijswijk (LottoNL-Jumbo), Luis Leon Sanchez (Astana), Rui Costa (UAE Team Emirates), Omar Fraile (Dimension Data), and four Team Sky riders including Landa.

With so many names represented the gap was never allowed to grow too extensively, but as the Stelvio was encountered it was nonetheless 3 minutes.

By the foot of the final climb, the Umbrail, a leading group of six had formed from the main breakaway, while a diminished peloton trailed by a gap that still stood at three minutes.

Natural break for Dumoulin

Kruijswijk and Landa pulled away from the remaining six on the first slopes of the Umbrail, while drama behind saw Dumoulin stop at the side of the road and rip his clothes off for a nature break. At the foot of the final climb, it was a terrible moment for the Dutchman.

Katusha's Ilnur Zakarin attacked from the favourites group that Dumoulin had occupied, and as the rest of them followed the Russian, Dumoulin found himself trailing by 30 seconds with 30km to go. 

Zakarin was taken back in quickly, but his move had sparked other teams, including Bahrain-Merida and Movistar, to start setting a pace at the front, and questions were asked about how the favourites group should be riding in the wake of Dumoulin's absence. 

Meanwhile, with a little over 25km to go, Landa found himself alone at the front of the race after attacking his remaining breakaway companions, while in the favourites group the attacks also started coming. 

Nibali, Quintana, Pozzovivo and Zakarin pulled away from Thibaut Pinot (FDJ), Adam Yates (Orica-Scott), Davide Formolo (Cannondale-Drapac), Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo) and Bob Jungels (Quickstep), and continued to put time into Dumoulin: With 21km to go the evidently suffering Dumoulin was 1'40" down on the Quintana group.

Approaching the top of the Umbrail pass, one final blow from Nibali - which only Quintana could initially follow - pushed the gap to two minutes, and all but closed the gap to Mikel Landa. 

Once onto the descent the famous descending skills of Vincenzo Nibali didn't take long to come out of their shell, as the Italian dropped his companions and bridged across to Landa, who as a pair began to pile on ahead. 

It was these two who contested the stage victory, with Nibali clinching it from a heartbroken Landa, who had spent all day at the front of the race. 

Quintana rolled in 12 seconds later, before the rest of the GC hopes filed through at various intervals

Dumoulin, after having spent the majority of the past 40km alone, had managed to cap the growing deficit, and rolled in 2'17" down, which was enough to leave a 31 second cushion between him and Quintana with five stages to go.