Pello Bilbao (Astana Pro Team) out-sprinted Mikel Landa (Movistar Team) to claim his second stage win at the Giro d’Italia, as Landa’s team-mate Richard Carapaz tightened his grip on the Maglia Rosa with another impressive ride.
At the end of the final mountain stage of this three-week race, a 194km trip in the Dolomites with five categorised climbs, Ecuadorean Carapaz maintains his 1’54” GC advantage over second-placed Vincenzo Nibali (Team Bahrain Merida), with only Sunday’s individual time trial in Verona remaining.
Landa’s attack on the final cimb of Monte Avena saw him move up to third overall as Primoz Roglic (Team Jumbo-Visma) lost contact with the group of favourites, and slipped down to fourth in GC.
Roglic was also given a 10-second penalty by race organisers after a fan gave him an extended push towards the end of the stage.
That means Landa leads the Slovenian by 23” overall - but Roglic will expect to make that up in the time trial, so a podium place remains within his grasp.
After a frenetic start to Stage 20, Fausto Masnada (Androni Giacattoli-Sidermec) attacked from the early breakaway on Passo Manghen to claim the Cima Coppi prize atop the highest climb of this year’s race.
The GC story behind was all about Movistar Team’s strength. They rode impressively as a team all day with Carapaz looking exceptionally comfortable as he closes in on his first Grand Tour title.
Miguel Angel Lopez and his Astana Pro Team attacked on Passo Manghen, and tried again on the final climb, before the Colombian appeared to be brought off his bike by a fan, thus seeing his hopes of gaining time evaporate.
Nibali tried to distance Carapaz and his other GC rivals on the final climb, too, but his attack was covered fairly easily, and it was left to Bilbao and Landa to battle for the stage win.
After today’s stage, Pascal Ackermann (BORA-hansgrohe) is confirmed as winning the Maglia Ciclamino while Giulio Ciccone (Trek-Segafredo), who finished third on the stage, seals his victory in the Maglia Azzurra/King of the Mountains competition.
Lopez will claim the Maglia Bianca for the best young rider - some consolation after a challenging three weeks which featured two damaging mechanicals before today’s mishap.
Sunday’s 17km time trial in Verona has a category-four climb in the middle. It should not be long enough for anyone else but Carapaz to claim the Maglia Rosa - but Roglic not be short of motivation to reclaim third place on the podium from Landa.
See the VelonLive infographics from Stage 20 below.