A very long stage with long climbs. After the first half across the hilly region around Treviso famous for its Prosecco vineyards, the route reaches Feltre where (in Caupo) it climbs up Monte Grappa on its north side. It is a climb measuring 24km in length with long sections at 7-8 percent gradients alternating with short apparently flat ground stretches or descents. A very long descent heading to Romano d’Ezzelino is followed by 10km on a flat section leading to the 14km climb up to Foza at a gradient of 7.1 percent. The stage route runs over the final wavy 10 km to the finish in Asiago.
Stage 20: Quintana can't break Dumoulin; Pinot wins
The Giro d’Italia’s contenders unleashed every attack they could on stage 20’s final climb to Foza, but Nairo Quintana (Movistar), along with four others, could only gain a handful of seconds on Tom Dumoulin (Sunweb). Thibaut Pinot (FDJ) won the sprint in Asiago Saturday, ahead of Ilnur Zakarin (Katusha-Alpecin) and Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida).
“I came for a stage victory, which I’m very happy about because it’s always special to win a stage from a grand tour,” said Pinot. “But to win the Giro I will need to have one of the best days of my life on the bike. In any case, I’ll give it everything.”
Quintana kept the pink leader’s jersey, and Pinot moved up to third overall. But all eyes are on Dumoulin, the Dutch time trial master. He lurks 53 seconds behind with a decisive final time trial on offer Sunday.
“I’m happy with the stage. I wanted to do something, take some time over Tom [Dumoulin],” said Quintana. “I would have liked to take more time, maybe this is not enough before the time trial but we will play all of our cards in the time trial tomorrow.”
Stage 20, top 10
- 1. Thibaut PINOT, FDJ, in 4:57:58
- 2. Ilnur ZAKARIN, TEAM KATUSHA ALPECIN, at :00
- 3. Vincenzo NIBALI, BAHRAIN – MERIDA, at :00
- 4. Domenico POZZOVIVO, AG2R LA MONDIALE, at :00
- 5. Nairo QUINTANA, MOVISTAR TEAM, at :00
- 6. Bob JUNGELS, QUICK – STEP FLOORS, at :15
- 7. Adam YATES, ORICA – SCOTT, at :15
- 8. Sébastien REICHENBACH, FDJ, at :15
- 9. Bauke MOLLEMA, TREK – SEGAFREDO, at :15
- 10. Tom DUMOULIN, TEAM SUNWEB, at :15
- 1. Nairo QUINTANA, MOVISTAR TEAM, in 90:00:38
- 2. Vincenzo NIBALI, BAHRAIN – MERIDA, at :39
- 3. Thibaut PINOT, FDJ, at :43
- 4. Tom DUMOULIN, TEAM SUNWEB, at :53
- 5. Ilnur ZAKARIN, TEAM KATUSHA ALPECIN, at 1:15
- 6. Domenico POZZOVIVO, AG2R LA MONDIALE, at 1:30
- 7. Bauke MOLLEMA, TREK – SEGAFREDO, at 3:03
- 8. Adam YATES, ORICA – SCOTT, at 6:50
- 9. Bob JUNGELS, QUICK – STEP FLOORS, at 7:18
- 10. Davide FORMOLO, CANNONDALE DRAPAC PROFESSIONAL CYCLING TEAM, at 12:55
After climbing the formidable Monte Grappa midway through the 190km stage, the group of top favorites for the overall reached the base of the climb to Foza as one.
It wasn’t long before Nibali and Quintana were both needling Dumoulin with attacks on the sweeping switchbacks.
Zakarin escaped early on the climb, followed by Ag2r La Mondiale’s Domenico Pozzovivo.
About halfway up the climb, Nibali, and Quintana got a gap on the select group of favorites. Dumoulin drove the pace and got within striking distance of the duo. This was Pinot’s chance, and he jumped clear to bridge up to the Italian and the Colombian.
The trio cooperated all the way to the summit of the Giro’s final climb. Over the top, they were about 20 seconds ahead of Dumoulin’s group.
“Until three kilometers to go, I wanted to gain time, but within three K to go, I only wanted to win,” Pinot said.
On a fast run to the finish, those three caught Pozzovivo and Zakarin and the group became disorganized.
Dumoulin had an ally in Bob Jungels (Quick-Step) in the chasing group.
“Luckily, I had better legs than yesterday,” Dumoulin said at the finish. “I absolutely killed myself, but I’m forever thankful and grateful to the help from Bauke Mollema, Adam Yates, and Bob Jungels.”
They had the gap nailed down to a little under 10 seconds in the closing kilometers. By the end, the five leaders had only managed to gain 15 seconds on the pink jersey.
“The time gap is not big. The time trial is very flat,” said Pinot. “It suits Tom Dumoulin a lot. The most important will be to limit the damage.”
Sunday’s final race, the 29.3km stage 21 time trial in Milano, will favor Dumoulin, who is vying to win his first career grand tour.