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Santiago Buitrago won Stage 17 of the Giro d’Italia on a breakaway as Richard Carapaz clung to the pink jersey.

It was a great day for Bahrain-Victorious as Mikel Landa followed his team-mate’s stage victory to third overall, replacing João Almeida, but a dismal day for BikeExchange-Jayco as the Briton Simon Yates dropped out of the race due to the knee injury that ended his pink jersey ambitions.

Buitrago had been part of a 25-man breakaway traveling up the road on the cold and often wet 168km stage from Ponte di Legno to Lavarone, a largely downhill profile that included the significant climbs of Passo del Vetriolo and from Monterovere on arrival.

Mathieu van der Poel, winner of the opening stage of this race, attempted to add a mountain stage to his name as he tackled the final climb alone, but after being caught by Gijs Leemreize, Buitrago – who had been involved in a serious accident earlier in the day – overtook them in the final 10 kilometres. His victory made up for the tears that came when he was beaten to second place in Sunday’s stage at Cogne.

“Winning a stage in the Giro is exceptional for me, especially after the big disappointment of my second place on Sunday,” said the 22-year-old. “The key to today’s victory was patience on the climb. I think I played well. This victory is for my family in Colombia and all the people who have supported me so far.

Giro d’Italia: Carapaz maintains a slim lead as Buitrago breaks the duck on stage 17 |  Tour of Italy
Santiago Buitrago leads Gijs Leemreize on the final climb before claiming victory. Photograph: Luca Bettini/AFP/Getty Images

Only four survivors of that original break, including EF Education-EasyPost’s Hugh Carthy, crossed the line before Carapaz beat Jai Hindley to the line by a bike length, preserving his three-second advantage in pink. But Almeida had been dropped on the climb, allowing Landa to edge ahead of the UAE Team Emirates rider in third, now 65 seconds behind Carapaz.

“The truth is that the day was very difficult,” Carapaz said. “But in the end, it’s still a good thing for the general classification. Tomorrow will be another important day. Until Verona, I have to stay focused until the end.

Yates retired from the race after being dropped by the peloton in the middle of the day. The 29-year-old has suffered a knee injury since a fall during the fourth stage of Etna. He recovered enough to add a nice solo victory in stage 14 to his time trial victory in stage two, but found that day too much. Team doctor Matteo Beltemacchi said: “Despite daily therapy and tenacity from Simon which resulted in a second stage victory, the knee pain worsened which ultimately led to the decision to withdraw from the race.”

Thursday’s 18th stage is expected to see a sprint finish after a flat circuit around Treviso at the end of a 156km route from Borgo Valsugana that includes two category four climbs. The Giro ends Sunday in Verona.

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