Copy of 2024-05-22T152202Z_851304791_UP1EK5M16OP32_RTRMADP_3_CYCLING-GIRO-1716399719522
EF Education - EasyPost's Georg Steinhauser reacts before crossing the line to win Giro d'Italia Stage 17 on Wednesday. Image Credit: Reuters

Passo Del Brocon: German rookie Georg Steinhauser won the 17th stage of the Giro d’Italia on Wednesday as Tadej Pogacar strengthened his huge lead at the top of the overall standings.

The 22-year-old EF rider who escaped on a solo mountain romp is the nephew of former Tour de France and Vuelta a Espana champion Jan Ullrich.

He was also notably third over the line on the challenging Queen stage on Sunday.

On Wednesday Steinhauser claimed his first professional win after going it alone with around 30km left and finishing the punishing final Passo del Brocon climb after 159km of riding from Selva di Val Gardena.

He broke away with Amanuel Ghebreigzabhier with 50km left, then dropped the Eritrean to close out the win.

“It’s something unbelievable. I knew I had good legs, I thought maybe I have the legs to win a stage,” said Steinhauser.

“Today already when I rode to the sign on I thought to myself, ‘I have good legs, maybe I will win today’.”

Steinhauser crossed one minute and 23 seconds ahead of Pogacar who made his own burst from the pink jersey group in the final two kilometres and extended his lead over Daniel Martinez to seven minutes and 42 seconds.

‘I was super nervous’

There was a moment when it looked like Pogacar might try to repeat Tuesday’s stunning win when he overtook Giulio Pellizzari in the final kilometre.

Pogacar now leads Dani Martinez by 7min 42sec, Geraint Thomas by 8min 04sec third, while Ben O’Connor is at 9min 57sec and Antonio Tiberi, at 10min 29sec, round out the top five.

Team UAE leader Pogacar is aiming to take the Giro before going for a third victory in July’s Tour de France.

“I was just in my zone. I was super nervous on the last climb, I know I had to push all the way to the finish,” admitted Steinhauser.

“I heard that he was catching up but it was already 2km to go so I thought ‘I will make it’.”

Thursday’s 18th stage is a 178km flat run between Fiera di Primiero and Padova which will leave space for the sprinters to battle for a stage win.

The sprint points race is led by Jonathan Milan of Lidl-Trek on 284 pts with Australia’s Kaden Groves second on 175 with another flat stage also scheduled for Sunday’s finale in Rome.