Europe's steepest climb

Today promised to be a very interesting 17th stage in Italia and I was looking forward to see who would make the most of the most feared stage of the race and who would suffer the most. The last kilometres up Monte Zoncolan are known as the steepest climb in Europe, the last 10km has a 12% average with parts hitting a leg-busting 22%! Over here in comparison, the Camilien-Houde climb up Mont-Royal is just under 8% and just over 1km short...

Simoni powers away from DiLuca

He may have conceded defeat in the overall but Gilberto Simoni showed why his nickname is The Spider today. Helped by Piepoli, the best climber in the race by far, he attacked DiLuca and Cunego and almost dropped the young Andy Schleck on the feared climb. Team orders helped him though, Piepoli clearly would have won but for the second time in just a few days, let one of his teammates get the win and the 20 second bonus that comes with it since Simoni is in the fight for a podium spot. Gibo is now third on GC.

Gibo gets a bottle of champagne and two lovely ladies. I'd smile too.

DiLuca and Cunego up the Zoncolan, packed with spectators

Danilo DiLuca, aboard his slick Cannondale machine, calmly did what he had to and lost about half a minute to Gibo and Schleck but is still leading the race with a relatively comfortable 2:24 margin with the only significant stage remaining being the final time trial.

Eddy Mazzoleni dropped from 2nd to 5th in the hard stage. Damiano Cunego sits in 4th now but could very well steal the last podium place from Simoni in sunday's time trial so the race is not over between 2nd and 4th but pretty much locked for DiLuca unless he gets a major bad luck.

It's been a beautiful Giro, almost making us forget all the dope stories

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