MADONNA DI CAMPIGLIO, Italy: Joo Almeida remained in the overall lead of the Giro dItalia as the race headed into the high mountains and Ben OConnor earned his first stage victory in a Grand Tour by winning the 17th leg on Wednesday.
Almeida was part of the group of overall favorites that crossed the summit finish more than five minutes after OConnor, and the Portuguese cyclist, who rides for the Deceuninck-Quick Step team, remained 17 seconds ahead of Wilco Kelderman.
Jai Hindley is third overall, 2:58 behind Almeida on the eve of the Giro’s toughest stage.
The so-called Queen stage features four classified climbs, three of which are the highest category, on the 207-kilometer (128.6-mile) route from Pinzolo to Laghi di Cancano. One of those is the iconic Stelvio pass, which also has 48 hairpin turns.
OConnor soloed to victory and was full of smiles as he crossed the line, having narrowly missed taking a stage victory Tuesday.
OConnor, an Australian with the NTT Pro Cycling team, finished 31 seconds ahead of Hermann Pernsteiner at the end of the mountainous 203-kilometer (126-mile) leg from Bassano del Grappo to Madonna di Campiglio.
Thomas De Gendt was third, 1:10 behind OConnor.
The race was rescheduled from its usual May slot because of the coronavirus pandemic. The Giro ends Sunday with an individual time trial in Milan.
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