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Giro d'Italia 2019: Carapaz holds Maglia Rosa as Bilbao takes impressive Stage 20 summit win

Peter Stuart
1 Jun 2019

Pello Bilbao of Team Astana takes second win of this year's Giro, as a dramatic final climb kept the Nibali and Carapaz together

Pello Bilbao of Team Astana took a brave summit win of Stage 20 of the Giro d'Italia as Richard Carapaz (Movistar) finished in fourth place, holding his time gap and the Maglia Rosa going into tomorrow's final time trial stage.

The last 2km of the saw an elite group of Nibali, Carapaz and Mikel Landa (Movistar) bridge up to the leading group of the stage and a decisive sprint ensued in the final 200m, with Bilbao and Landa sprinting for first and second place. It means Basque rider Bilbao has taken a second stage win at this year's Giro.

Miguel Lopez drew some controversy in the final kilometres as he physically struck a spectator, following a collision that threw the Astana rider from his bike.

Primoz Roglic (Team Jumbo–Visma) lost time to Landa and Nibali, finishing 54 second behind the leading duo, securing Landa's chances of taking a podium spot. While Carapaz looks likely to be the first Ecuadorian in history to win the Giro d'Italia.

How the race unfolded

It was a beautiful day in Feltre that saw the depature of the most pivotal mountain stage for the main GC contenders, and crucially Movistar's Richard Carapaz’s key defence of the pink jersey.

As Carapaz is not famed for his time trial performance, today's stage would be key to keeping his 1'54" lead in the general classification. His major challenges would come from Primoz Roglic and Vincenzo Nibali.

A breakaway began around 20km into the stage, with riders from all the main teams and hence permission to go clear of the main group.

The break consisted of Jai Hindley (Team Sunweb) Fausto Masnada (Androni Giocattoli - Sidermec),  Damiano Caruso (Bahrain Merida), Pello Bilbao and Dario Cataldo (Astana Team), Eros Capecchi (Deceuninck QuickStep), Tanel Kangert (EF Education First), Mikel Nieve (Mithcelton Scott), Amanuel Ghebreigzabhier (Team Dimension Data), Eddie Dunbar (Team INEOS), Ilnur Zakarin (Katusha Alpecin) and Andrey Amador (Movistar).

It was Jai Hindley who took the KOM points over the first climb of the day, the category 2 Cima Campo.

While the breakways was permitted leave, Carapaz’s movistar henchmen were pulling the peloton along carefully to keep the gap at a controllable distance.

At 125km to go, the breakaway had stretched its gap out to an impressive 4’21” over the pink jersey group.

The largest climb of the day, and Cima Coppi Passo Manghen of the race came just outside the 100km mark, and it was Fausto Masnada (Androni Giocattoli - Sidermec) who took first place and a few KOM points for himself.

The pink jersey group was whittled down to 13 riders over the chilly snow-lined summit of the Passo Maghen.

The pink jersey group and a moderate breakaway connected, swelling the riders to around 25 in number.

Passo di Rolle

A breakaway group of Giulio Ciccone (Trek-Segafredo), Eros Capecchi (Deceuninck–Quick-Step) and Valentin Madouas (Groupama–FDJ) from the pink jersey group managed to bridge forward to the lead group, and it was the Ciccone who took the KOM points atop 20km long Passo di Rolle.

The breakaway had an impressive 3’10” seconds at the 60km mark, but with a long descent the large pink jersey group brought the gap down.

It was a 40km descent to the penultimate category 2 climb, which brought the gap to the lead group down to under 2 minutes.
The climb provided a series of attacks, with the most aggressive coming from Miguel Lopez at 13.3km to go, but Carapaz defended well.

Valentin Madouas crossed the summit first, and led his way to the start of the final climb.
On the descent from penultimate climb, Nibali began an impressive descent attack, but it wasn’t enough to split himself from Richard Carapaz and Landa, who formed an elite GC group for the final climb.

As the climb to the summit finish at Monte Avena began, a spectator collided with Miguel Lopez, providing an unwelcome disruption to the GC final climb. Lopez drew some immediate controversy for striking the spectator on the ground, though many defended his actions.

The GC group remained together, despite a few attacks, and Nibali found himself doing the majority of the work from 5km out.

From there, the leaders bridged to the breakaway group and the showdown for the summit finish, and the overall GC began. Roglic found himself increasingly in arrears, unable to bridge back to the leading riders.