Jai Hindley remains three seconds behind leader and race favourite Richard Carapaz after a tough 17th stage of the Giro d’Italia, which was won by Santiago Buitrago.
Hindley (BORA-Hansgrohe), the 2020 runner-up, and Carapaz (Ineos Grenadiers) crossed the line together at the end of the 168km route from Ponte di Legno to Lavarone, which packed in almost 4,000m of climbing.
Carapaz maintained his slim overall lead over the Perth rider, with just four days of racing remaining, after Colombia’s Buitrago clinched his first grand tour victory.
Mikel Landa finished six seconds behind the duo but moved into third overall, 1min 35sec behind Carapaz. He moves ahead of Joao Almeida, who was dropped on the second of the two top-category climbs in the final 40km.
Buitrago had been in tears after finishing second on Sunday’s 15th stage. There were more tears from the 22-year-old on Wednesday, but this time of joy after soloing to victory.
The Colombian recovered from a crash halfway through the day to get back to the breakway and then launched his attack towards the top of the final climb, cresting it alone and speeding down the final eight kilometres.
Buitrago finished 35sec ahead of Gijs Leemreize — who had been leading on the steep climb to Monterovere — and 2:28 ahead of Jan Hirt.
News also came through that Eritrean Biniam Girmay has been cleared of any permanent vision damage but he is not yet able to resume training or racing.
Girmay suffered an eye injury when opening the celebratory bottle of Prosecco after winning stage 10 last week. The cork flew out and hit his left eye.
Thursday’s 18th stage should produce a sprint finish after a flat circuit around Treviso at the end of a 156km route from Borgo Valsugana, that includes two fourth-category climbs.
The Giro ends on Sunday in Verona.