Ben O’Connor clinches first Grand Tour stage

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San Daniele del Friuli

Ben O’Connor finally claimed his first ever Grand Tour stage win with a huge solo attack on the Madonna di Campiglio on stage 17 of the Giro d’Italia, one day after being denied in San Daniele del Friuli.
The Australian, part of a day-long breakaway across the 202km stage, kicked with 8km to go in the Italian Dolomites and made a massive solo feat to take the top spot after settling for second yesterday to a Bahrain-McLaren rider. This is the first stage win for the South African team, NTT, in three years.
Hermann Pernsteiner fought with determination to chase O’Connor but failed to close down the gap to finish 31 seconds behind. However, this puts the Austrian up four places to 11th overall after he gained 4mins and 40 seconds on the general classification contenders.
Ilnur Zakarin and Thomas de Gendt, who were unable to respond to O’Connor’s attack on the steepest section of the Madonna di Campiglio, battled it out for the final podium spot, with de Gendt coming out on top whilst the maglia rosa group dragged behind.—AFP

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