Giro d'Italia 17: Damien Monier strongest in Pejo Terme

Breakaway makes it all the way to the finish

Spaniard David Arroyo retained the  leader's pink jersey as French rider Damien Monier claimed his first professional success in the 17th stage of the Tour of Italy on Wednesday.

The 27-year-old Monier crossed the line alone after a solo break to finish far ahead of the peloton which included the favourites following the 173km stage from Brunico.

Cofidis rider Monier broke away from Germany's Danilo Hondo and Holland's Steven Kruijswijk with 3km to go and came in 30 seconds ahead of the duo.

Arroyo, of Caisse d'Epargne, held the race lead with four days to go as he finished in the first peloton nearly ten minutes behind the winner.

"My first victory, it's extraordinary!" said Monier, who turned professional six years ago. "I still don't believe it, it's a dream.

"I felt good at the start of the stage but it was really tough at the end."

A breakaway group of 19 riders, none a threat to Arroyo and the pink jersey, formed at the 54km mark.

After a breakaway bid by Russian Mikhail Ignatiev, 20km from the line, no one failed to make the break before the trio - Monier, Kruijswijk and  Hondo - followed on the wheel of Spaniard Dani Moreno.

Thursday's stage returns to flatter terrain with the 140km run from Levico Terme to Brescia offering an opportunity to the sprinters.

© AFP 2010

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