Giro d’Italia: Stage 20

Thibaut Pinot wins final mountain stage and Dumoulin loses 15 seconds but can he get that back in the final stage time trial?

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Giro d’Italia: Stage 20


With two stages remaining, everything was to play for as stage 20 tackled the final three climbs of the 2017 Giro d’Italia. Six riders formed the early breakaway, but once again the main battle was on in the peloton.

Half way up the penultimate climb, Katusha-Alpecin sent riders to the front and they immediately had an effect. The favourites group was reduced to just ten riders with Britain’s Adam Yates losing contact.

“I wasn’t on a good day,” Yates from Orica Scott admitted later. “I was dropped with (Bauke) Mollema on the first climb. I just had bad legs. We managed to bring it back together, but in the end there are just a few guys who are stronger at this year’s Tour. “Realistically, I needed to take more time on Bob (Jungels) today. We need to see if I can hold on (in the time trial) but I am realistic and it’s probably unlikely.”

At the foot of the final climb, Yates was joined by teammates Carlos Verona and Luka Mezgec who passed on a final supply of food and support. Up the final climb, the pace was on again. Nibali and Zakarin both tried their luck and the splits appeared as the breakaway remnants were swept up.

Yates lost touch alongside Jungels, Tom Dumoulin (Sunweb) and Mollema on the final climb but the group fought on over the top in attempt for one final regrouping ahead of the line. With six kilometres to go, they were within ten seconds but the string broke and the time started to increase once again. Eventually, Pinot won the stage with the Yates group including Dumoulin finishing 15 seconds adrift.

Thibaut  Pinot “The time gaps are minimal and tomorrow is a flat time trial that is tailor-made for Dumoulin. A stage victory is not more important than riding for GC but this is why I’m a bike rider: I fight for winning races and today’s been a good victory to beat the top contenders of the Giro”.

“I feel that together with Nibali and Quintana we cooperated very well – we gave 100% and we weren’t counting our pedal strokes – but once we rejoined with Pozzovivo and Zakarin I knew that they had the stage win in mind, and I did too in the last two kilometers”.

“However, staying 15 seconds ahead of a strong rouleur like Dumoulin means that our cooperation was good. At the start of the Giro in Sardinia I said that I wanted a stage win and a place on the final podium. I’ve done the hardest bit and now there are 30km left I’ll give it all to finish the Giro with no regrets: I’ll fight for the overall victory, but Dumoulin probably remains the favourite.”

“I also remember that Quintana won a time trial at the Route du Sud ahead of Sylvain Chavanel last year. He can defend himself – it’ll be a superb battle as nobody is able to say who will win the Giro and that’s beautiful. Whatever happens tomorrow, I hope to come back to the Giro in the future; I was always convinced this race suits me and this year it’s been better than I could’ve hoped for so far and I have nothing negative to say about my Giro.”

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Nairo Quintana: “Better in this place than behind! (smiles) We tried everything and this is what we got. It’s difficult in such situations to try and convince the whole group to work as hard as you in the finale, even if everyone inside that move was equally interested on pushing. The only important thing now is that we’ve got the Maglia Rosa, which was our initial goal heading into the final TT – though we’d of course have liked to enjoy a bigger margin – and we’ll give our best tomorrow with what’s left.

“Many times in a three-week stagerace, you’re made of pure suffering, even if it doesn’t look so from the outside. It’s really difficult to either attack or defend yourself against top-quality riders. It was such a difficult day for me.

Once we got ahead of the Dumoulin group I pushed with all that I had, trying to open a gap on him because he’s the biggest candidate for the win tomorrow. I wasn’t really thinking about the sprint, the day’s win or the bonus seconds, but just on distancing him as much as I could. He also had some people taking turns behind and the gap got quite smaller than we initially built after the top of the climb.

“Sunday’s TT will be much different to the first one in this Giro. It’s a pan-flat course, perfectly suited for specialists. I just hope to defend myself well. We haven’t got that much time on our rivals, but sometimes things turn out well for me on such courses, and obviously, I’ll do my best. The physical condition seems to be level within us, and I feel like gaps won’t be really big.

Dumoulin is the most dangerous rival, and Nibali and Pinot also do well on TTs. However, should things go just normal tomorrow, I shouldn’t lose too much time. I also rely on fatigue: after 20 days of grueling racing in this Giro, I should stand a little more of a chance against them.”

Tom Dumoulin: “I’m proud of how I rode today, I feel mentally and physically much better than I did yesterday which is good. I need a really good day tomorrow to get that gap, it’s not going to be differences like in the last time trial because I’m really tired after this week in the mountains. It’s going to be tight with five of us so close but I will just focus on my own ride and see what happens.”

Vincenzo Nibali: “It was a complicated stage – very tactical, all of us had little bright days and there was great balance. The pink jersey? Let’s see, tomorrow’s will definitely be a tough day.”

Ilnur Zakari: “I am feeling very well and looking forward to tomorrow. I tried to do everything possible today to make a good result”

Bob Jungels: “I had another good day and I’m happy for that. My goal was to try and go for the stage victory, but unfortunately we couldn’t close the gap, despite working together on the climb and in the final 15 kilometers”, said Bob Jungels, who also talked of his chances of winning another white jersey: “When we started this race three weeks ago, my goal was to come in the top 10 overall and I’m there now, which means a lot considering the high level of the race this year. On top of that, I took a stage, which is really great. Tomorrow, I will try to cap it off with the white jersey; it won’t be easy, because Yates is a great rider, but I will do my best.”

The Giro d’Italia 2017 will finish tomorrow with a 29 km ITT. The start is set on the home straight of the Autodromo Nazionale Monza. After completing one lap of the circuit, the stage will take the road to Milan. The last km will go through the city center ending in Piazza Duomo.

1. Thibaut Pinot FDJ
2. Ilnur Zakarin Team Katusha – Alpecin
3. Vincenzo Nibali Bahrain Merida Pro Cycling Team
4. Domenico Pozzovivo AG2R La Mondiale
5. Nairo Quintana Movistar Team
6. Bob Jungels Quick-Step Floors @ 15
7. Adam Yates ORICA-Scott
8. Sebastien Reichenbach FDJ
9. Bauke Mollema Trek – Segafredo
10. Tom Dumoulin Team Sunweb

1. Nairo Quintana Movistar Team
2. Vincenzo Nibali Bahrain Merida Pro Cycling Team 0:39
3. Thibaut Pinot FDJ 0:43
4. Tom Dumoulin Team Sunweb 0:53
5. Ilnur Zakarin Team Katusha – Alpecin 1:15
6. Domenico Pozzovivo AG2R La Mondiale 1:30
7. Bauke Mollema Trek – Segafredo 3:03
8. Adam Yates ORICA-Scott 6:50
9. Bob Jungels Quick-Step Floors 7:18



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