LAVARONE: Colombian rider Santiago Buitrago won the 17th stage of the Giro d’Italia on Wednesday to claim the biggest victory of his career. Richard Carapaz maintained his overall lead, keeping hold of his three-second cushion on Australian Jai Hindley with four stages remaining. The 22-year-old Buitrago finished the 168 kilometres mountain stage around 30 seconds ahead of another young cyclist in Dutchman Gijs Leemreize while Jan Hirt, winner on Tuesday at Aprica, was more than two minutes back in third place. Carapaz, Hindley and Spaniard Mikel Landa stayed with each other and made little impact on their positions in the overall standings. Joao Almeida lost ground again and gave up more than a minute on Carapaz and Hindley. The mountainous stage proved too much for Britain’s Simon Yates, the 2018 Vuelta a Espana champion abandoning due to a painful knee. Yates, third in the 2021 Giro, had won two stages on this year’s race but his hopes of overall victory had disappeared on the 10th stage when he lost a huge amount of time. That disappointment came five days after Yates, who was 21st overall going into Wednesday’s stage, had fallen on the stage to Mount Etna. On Thursday’s 18th stage, the race descends into the plain which links Borgo Valsugana to Treviso over 156km, and is the last chance for the sprinters in this year’s race.