Rein Taaramae (Katusha) won stage 20 of the Giro d’Italia, ahead of his early breakaway mates, John Darwin Atapuma (BMC Racing) and Joe Dombrowski (Cannondale). Most of the attention was on the battle for the pink leader’s jersey today, which in the end, Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) would pull on after a commanding performance.
Being the final mountain stage of this year’s Giro d’Italia the organisers made sure the race would finish with a stern test. The peloton left Guillestre and began climbing even while in the neutral zone. When the flag dropped the race went directly up the category 1 Col de Vars. As expected attacks flew and a group of 11 riders got away on the climb.
The peloton rode the Col de Vars and the next climb, the Col de la Bonette, at a good tempo but the break was still able to open up a lead of close to 8 minutes. Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka had Kanstantsin Siutsou and Igor Anton well positioned in the reduced peloton which went over the Coll de la Bonette together. Anton was doing a lot of the pacing though as Atapuma was threatening Siutsou’s general classification position.
It was on the next climb where the real action started as the GC favourites began attacking each other. Nibali was the main aggressor as he had the most to gain, particularly after yesterday’s strong display of form. The Italian champion attacked around 5km from the summit of the Colle della Lombarda and was able to put a minute into the pink jersey, Esteban Chaves (Orica-Greenedge), by the top of the climb.
Siutsou was riding within himself in a group just behind the pink jersey, but with the break still well up the road, it was clear he would lose his 9th position overall. As Taaramae survived from the break to take the stage win at the top of Sant Anna Di Vinnadio, it wasn’t long until Nibali came home to secure the pink jersey. Chaves had to settle for 2nd in the overall race with Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) taking 3rd.
Siutsou would finish the stage in 19th place, just less than 4 minutes behind Nibali. The result saw our African Team rider end the day 10th in the overall classification.
Jens Zemke – Sport Director
The 20th stage of the Giro d’Italia had everything cycling can offer. Beautiful landscapes, a lot of spectators and an exciting bike race. In the top 10, only the 5th and 6th placed riders kept their positions while everyone else ended the stage in a new position, so there was a complete reshuffling of the order really. We stayed in the top 10 with Kanstantsin, we are absolutely happy about that. The boys did a great job to protect him and Kosta had another fantastic ride and so we are proud of this result.