Spaniard Omar Fraile took the biggest win of his career on Wednesday in the 11th stage of the Giro d’Italia. The Dimension Data man won from a large breakaway that split and reformed all day. Fraile and Mikel Landa were in the lead for a large part of the proceedings. Tom Dumoulin survived his first day in pink and Movistar’s Andrey Amador climbed the top 10.

Stage 11 moved the race east from Florence to Bagno di Romagna. The peloton was set for a medium mountains day, with two Cat. 2’s and two Cat. 3’s. The final Cat. 2 peaked 28-km from the finish and there was a mild uphill drag to the line.

Would anyone attack on a day like this, with Dumoulin’s lead so large?

After a ceremony to remember Gino Bartali, Il Pio, the riders began the stage somewhat frenetically. Several breaks failed to gel as Movistar kept a high tempo and the action was hot on the first climb of the day, Cat. 2 Passo della Consumo, where Laurens De Plus (Belgium/Quick Step) crested in the lead.

On the descent a huge escape formed. Climb 2, the Cat. 3 Passo della Calla, was where Mikel Landa upped the pace in the break to get clear along with Fraile. A 23-rider chase containing 9th place Amador and two Astana riders in the top-15 was close behind them. In the peloton Movistar worked to isolate Dumoulin. A lively debate between two Movistar riders broke out when one crashed.

By the peak of Climb 3, the Cat. 3 Passo del Carnaio, with 59-km remaining, the Spanish duo had a 2:20 gap on the big chase group and 4:50 on the pink jersey bunch.

Fraile shared a Coke with Landa. Fraile was picking up plenty of KOM points.

The chase started to catch up with the two out front. Sunweb, who had assumed the peloton reins after Movistar relented, found Trek and FDJ, wary of Amador, wanting to lead the way.

The final climb, Cat. 2 Monte Fumaiolo, was 25-km of 3.6% but got very steep near the top. It seemed like a good spot for a Vincenzo Nibali dig and dive. With 40-km to go, Fraile and Landa were caught by the chase. Five kilometres later the gap between the break and the peloton was 3:00.

On Fumaiolo, De Plus attacked, with Rui Costa (Portugal/UAE-Emirates) and Pierre Rolland (France/Cannondale) able to follow. As the peloton neared the steep peak, Nibali turned the screws, attacking again and again. Rolland shed his two breakmates, but Fraile came back to take the maximum KOM points, putting himself square in the blue jersey conversation.

Nibali was unable to move anyone except Geraint Thomas, but Pinot grabbed a gap.

Nibali tried to shake Dumoulin on the descent as Pinot couldn’t keep his gap. Fraile and Rolland carried on 20-seconds ahead of the chase and 2:00 ahead of the pink jersey group. Costa bridged over with 10-km to go.

It was desperate stuff as the trio tried to fend off the chase gang. Just before the final kilometre, 12th place Tanel Kangert (Estonia/Astana) muscled over to make a leading quartet. But it was Fraile who sprinted to the win, just as the rest of the chase came across.

Amador jumped up to sixth while Kangert leaped up to 8th.

Michael Woods finished in a group 4:27 back.

Thursday’s course will please the sprinters.

2017 Giro d’Italia Stage 11
1) Omar Fraile (Spain/Dimension Data) 4:23:14
2) Rui Costa (Portugal/UAE-Emirates) s.t.
3) Pierre Rolland (France/Cannondale) s.t.
53) Michael Woods (Canada/Cannondale) +4:27
151) Svein Tuft (Canada/Orica-Scott) +25:58

2017 Giro d’Italia GC
1) Tom Dumoulin (The Netherlands/Sunweb) 47:22:07
2) Nairo Quintana (Colombia/Movistar) +2:23
3) Bauke Mollema (The Netherlands/Trek-Segafredo) +2:38


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