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Rodriguez takes stage 17, reinforces grip on overall lead

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Joaquin Rodriguez won the tough 17th stage of the Giro d'Italia on Wednesday to keep his grip on the overall lead.

The Spaniard led a group of Giro favorites over the line in 5 hours, 24 minutes, 41 seconds to claim his second stage victory of this year's race.

Defending champion Michele Scarponi struggled with cramps on the descent from the Passo Giau but overcame the setback to catch up with the group.

The main contenders were expected to be at the front of Wednesday's stage in the Dolomites, with four tough climbs along the 115.58-mile route.

Thursday's 18th stage is a mainly flat and descending 93-mile route from San Vito di Cadore to Vedelago.

The Giro ends May 27 in Milan.