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Thibaut Pinot wins Stage 20 of the Giro d'Italia as Dumoulin keeps Maglia Rosa in sight

Peter Stuart
27 May 2017

Pinot beats Nibali and Quintana in sprint finish after last major climb of Giro, while Dumoulin limits losses

Thibaut Pinot (FDJ) won a sprint from a group of five including Nairo Quintana (Movistar) and Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida) to win Stage 20 of the Giro d'Italia. Tom Dumoulin (Team SunWeb) finished only 15 seconds behind, making the Dutchman a likely favourite to take the Maglia Rosa in tomorrow's time trial.

The climb of Foza proved to be the dramatic stage of the GC contendors, with repeated attacks tearing apart the lead group.

A concerted attack by Nibali and Quintana proved to be the most decisive move of the climb.

Pinot made an impressive bridge to the two major contendors, who then worked together to bridge to the stage leaders Domenico Pozzivivo (AG2R-La Mondial) and IInur Zakarin (Katusha-Alpecin).

Dumoulin worked with admirable metronomic effort to pull back all the major attacks, going over the summit 20 seconds behind Nibali and Quintana, but pulling that gap closer in the final 10km.

An orderly start

An early break with Dylan Teuns (BMC), Tom-Jelte Slagter (Cannondale–Drapac), Matthieu Ladagnous (FDJ) and Dries Devenyns (Quick-Step Floors) proved strong enough to carry over the Monte Grappa ahead of the GC group.

Meanwhile Katusha-Alpecin worked savagely on the front of the main group, working for Maxim Belkov. 

Toward the summit of the Monte Grappa, Dumoulin was put into danger when Zakarin attacked, followed by Quintana, in a move that temporarily dropped Adam Yates.

Atop the Monte Grappa, Devenyns crossed the line first for the King of the Mountain points, while Dumoulin was pulled back in the main group to Quintana and Zakarin, which swelled before the long descent to the base of the final climb of Foza.

What began as an orderly ascent of the Foza quickly escalated into a dramatic showdown between the main GC contenders, with the break’s 2 minute gap over the Monte Grappa quickly eaten up.

The battle of Fuzo

With 23km to go Nibali made a decisive mood, distancing Tom Dumoulin. What first looked like a dangerous gap back to Dumoulin was reduced with one of Dumoulin’s now habitual controlled efforts to return to the group. 

A kilometre later Pozzovivo and Zakarin attacked with a more decisive mood that was allowed to expand out by the Giro’s heads of state.

With only 1 minute 30 to Zakarin, nerves were tender and the group was repeatedly fragmented in an effort to separate the main group.

Quintana, wearing the pink jersey, moved only a few minutes later, with Nibali bridging over to him. The move was a serious danger to Dumoulin’s prospects of regaining the pink jersey.

Quintana and Nibali worked efficiently together, pushing the gap out to 10 seconds at the 20km to go mark. Pinot bridged up to the leaders, before Dumoulin was able to bridge the small gap between the two groups.

Pinot then launched his attack, but by 17.8km to go, Dumoulin had bridged the gap nearly single handed in a move that looked set to neutralise the lead group.

A final concerted effort was made by Pinot, Nibali and Quintana with 2km to go. At the summit, there was a 20 second gap back to Dumoulin’s group which included Adam Yates.

The descent was blindingly quick, being raced without refrain by the Maglia Rosa hopefuls, and Nibali’s aggressive descending skills saw Pozzovivo and Zakarin reeled in by the group of Nibali, Quintana and Pinot.

Dumoulin managed to power away to reduce the gap to his group to 10 seconds, before it expanded to 15 seconds for the finish. 

Pinot won in a sprint against Zakarin, with Nibali coming in third. It was the Frenchman's first Giro stage win, and as a capable time triallist he is in with a shot for the overall win in tomorrow's time trial.