30/05/15 - 6:00 PM
Saint-Vincent - Sestriere
Giro d'Italia • Stage20

Saint-Vincent - Sestriere
Giro d'Italia - 30 May 2015

Giro d'Italia – Follow this cycling race live with Eurosport. The action starts at 18:00 on 30 May 2015. Our live coverage lets you follow all the key moments as they happen.
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Confirmation of Contador's overall win in this Giro - pending any disasters en route to Milan tomorrow. The Spaniard leads Aru by 2:02 and Landa by 3:14.


There's a small fist pump from Alberto Contador as he crosses the line 2:27 down to secure his Giro d'Italia crown. He may not have won a stage, but he won the race. Now, it's time to focus on the Tour de France...


Rigoberto Uran (Etixx-QuickStep) takes third, Mikel Landa (Astana) fourth and Steven Kruiijwijk (LottoNL-Jumbo) fifth.


A second successive second place for Ryder Hesjedal, who thumps the handlebars in frustration. But chapeau to the Cannondale-Garmin rider - he's impressed in the Alps.


Victory for the Sardinian Fabio Aru! The Astana rider has doubled his stage haul from last year and will finish second on GC - a place improvement on last year. With Contador not riding the Giro next year, perhaps Aru can continue his sequence and actually win it.


Hesjedal has caught Uran, and Landa is not far behind. Kruijswijk must be further back - but this win is for Aru, who passed under the 1-to-go kite.


And another attack by Fabio Aru, who distances Uran. He's riding to a second stage win...


Attack by Aru! The Italian soars clear and takes Uran with him.


It's all Astana on this climb, with Aru and Landa bossing it - but only extending their lead to 1:45 over Contador. It won't be enough.


The gap is creeping up again: 1:23 for the leaders. Of the five riders, Uran, Kruijswijk and Hesjedal would be popular winners. Of course, he Italian fans would love Aru to do it, while Landa already has two wins.


Ilnur Zakarin - the only remaining rider from the break - has been dropped. A sterling effort from the Russian tyro.


The six leaders have 1:10 over Contador and Kangert, and 1:42 over the Konig-Amador chasing group.


We're onto the final Cat.3 climb to Sestiere proper now. The first 6km had but an average gradient of 1.9% but now the road gets a bit steeper - and will peak out at 9% around 5km from the finish.


CORRECTION: Contador is not riding solo, he has Kangert, of course, sandbagging behind.


Landa may have just put his earpiece in because he's sat up with Zakarin and is waiting for the others. They join forces so we six riders clear: Landa, Aru, Uran, Zakarin, Hesjedal and Kruijswijk. Alberto Contador, the race leader who was dropped on the last climb, is riding solo in pursuit, 50 seconds down. Another 50 seconds back is the Konig-Amador chasing group.


Landa is pulling Zakarin along as they approach the foot of the climb. They have 35 seconds on the chasing Aru group - so it's been a lot of effort, for not any huge gains yet. Contador has cut the gap to 1:25. It may yet still come together - it all depends on how the maglia rosa reponds on the climb after his struggles on the Colle delle Finestre. It may have just been the road surface and his lingering shoulder injury...


Contador has caught Kangert. He won't get any help from him. In fact, the Estonian from Astana will look to sandbag him all the way up the climb...


It will come down to the final climb. Contador has limited his losses to 1:40 - but can he repeat his performance from behind on the Mortirolo, or will he crack under the pressure en route to Sestriere?


Kruijswijk has joined Hesjedal, Uran and Aru. They trail Zakarin and Landa by 45 seconds. Contador still rides solo at 1:35. He needs some support, but the nearest riders are ahead, not behind: the 11-man chasing group is 1:25 further up the mountain...


Aru wants help, but Uran is refusing - gesticulating madly as if to say, I'm doing nothing, do it yourself. And so he might: the Colombian is out of contention on GC and has no obligation to work. Hesjedal leads the chase on the two leaders. They are 40 seconds ahead. Contador rides at 1:33 with Kruijswijk between the two factions.


We have a very, very entertaining final 25km coming up now. First up, this narrow, technical descent, then the final climb of the race, the Cat.3 slog to Sestriere.


Hesjedal leads Uran over the summit, with Aru closing in. They're about 30 seconds down. Meanwhile, Contador, who looks to be bonking, is really suffering. He crosses at 1:27.


No gifts: Mikel Landa pips Ilnur Zacharin for the Cima Coppi atop the Cat.1 Colle delle Finestre.


Contador is showing for the first time in this Giro that he is human. He's 1:14 down on Landa - and we still have a technical descent and the final, tricky climb to Sestiere. Also, Astana have power in numbers: three riders ahead. The maglia rosa has no one.


Landa has caught Zakarin - heartbreak for the Russian. Expect Landa to take the Cima Coppi now. Further back, Aru has dropped Kruijswijk, but can't keep up with Uran and Hesjedal.


Zakarin still has 12 seconds on Landa. The chasing group is at 50 seconds and is being led by Hesjedal. In fact, Aru and Kruijswijk have been distanced by the Canadian, who has Uran on his wheel. Contador is another 30 seconds back.


Contador is being dropped! Kruijswijk, Hesjedal, Uran and Aru ride clear - and the pink jersey doesn't have the legs. Even Kangert has dropped him.


There are still some patches of snow beside this distressed dirt track. It's quite astounding that they're riding up such a ramshackle road - but in a good way. Just 13 seconds for Zakarin now...


Zakarin takes on a new water bottle and then pops an energy gel. Can he hold on for the Cima Coppi? Just 20 seconds now for the Russian from Katusha...


Hesjedal and Kruijswijk still taking it in turns on the front of the pack. I say pack - it's just Contador, Uran, Kangert and them. Landa is on a mission - he's just 25 seconds down on Zakarin now - and 45 ahead of the others.


ATTACK: Ryder Hesjedal soars off the front. Kruijswijk leads the chase - he doesn't want too many riders beating him to the summit or he won't get enough points to regain the blue jersey.


Zakarin has 52 seconds on Landa and 1:15 on the six-man maglia rosa group.


ATTACK: Mikel Landa surges clear. Contador leads the chase, with Hesjedal and Kruijswijk. But Aru is having to really right back with Uran and Kangert. The six riders join forces, but Lansa has a gap now.


Still 1:27 for Zakarin on this off-road uphill gravel segment of the Colle delle Finestre. Hesjedal and Kruijswijk take it in turns to lead the chase.


Pirazzi has popped and is almost back with the chasing group. Intxausti has been dropped by the maglia rosa group - the blue jersey looks beyond his grasp now. Still Kruijswijk leads the group of main favourites - what a race he's having.


BMC's Atapuma and Caruso lead the chase in the second group, with Amador in their wheels. They are 30 seconds behind the maglia rosa group on these unforgiving gravel roads.


They're onto the dirt roads now! Zakarin has 1:22 over the main pack, which is being led by Hesjedal. Pirazzi had a little dig just now, but the Canadian reeled him in.


Now Ryder Hesjedal increases the tempo on the front. The Canadian 2012 Giro champion has been very strong in the mountains, and finished second yesterday.


Andre Amador is one of the riders who has been dropped. The Costa Rican, fourth on GC, rides with Leopold Konig in the second chasing group. Trofimov is there too.


That attack succeeded in shedding Contador of his last remaining team-mate, Rogers. It starts to come back together, but Kangert has another dig - followed by a surge from Kruijswijk. They catch Pirazzi as Contador, Landa and Aru return. Uran, Intxausti and Hesjedal dig deep.


A dig from Tanel Kangert of Astana creates a large split in the peloton: Kruijswijk and Contador follow immediately. Landa is there, as is Hesjedal, Uran and Intxausti. And Aru, eventually.


Still six Astana riders - including Landa and Aru - on the front, ahead of Contador, Rogers and Kruijswijk. Zakarin, whose pedalling style is not very easy on the eye, is 1:42 ahead - but all can change on the dirt section of the climb coming up.


Giovanni Visconti, the blue jersey from Movistar, has been dropped from the main pack - big motivation for Steven Kruijswijk of LottoNL-Jumbo, who will look to return to the summit of the blue jersey competition on this climb.


The dirt track half of this climb could well prove key if this tweet from Daniel Friebe proves to be the case...


Astana have six riders on the front; Tinkoff-Saxo just the two: Contador and Rogers. It's fair to say that if/when the Spaniard wins this Giro, it will be primarily down to his efforts and not to those of his team - that nifty bike change with Matteo Tossato at the end of stage 12 aside.


Zakarin is getting into a good groove now. He has 1:25 on this 9% climb, with Pirazzi riding in between, his Bardiani CSF shirt unzipped and catching in the wind.


It's all Astana on the front of the pack, with Paolo Tiralongo and Luis Leon Sanchez relaying pulls. Pirazzi has caught and passed Berlato. He's 35 seconds ahead of the pack, with Zakarin, the lone leader, another 20 seconds clear up the road.


Zakarin, the rangy Russian Romandie winner, rides clear of Berlato. He's in the form of his life at the moment as he tackes this winding forested section of the climb. Remember that 29 of the 42 hairpins come in this opening 4km section of the Colle delle Finestre.


Zakarin has caught Berlato on the front. They have 43 seconds on the pack, which is being led by Astana and Tinkoff-Saxo - whose riders Dario Cataldo and Mick Rogers are having a few heated words...

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John Hoyte's elephant, Jumbo, features in Felix Lowe's book Climbs and Punishment alongside Hannibal's, Ian Botham's & Jack Wheeler's trunked behemoths. The book tells the trale of the author's ride from Barcelona to Rome in the footsteps of the Carthaginian general Hannibal. For more, click on the link below...

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And some random trivia for you...


Berlato still leads the race, with Zakarin and Izaguirre in pursuit. Boem and Ullisi are a bit further back, but Saramotins, Berard and Bandiera have called it a day.


Zakarin was leading the break as Berlato bounded clear for one last-ditch attack. Back with the pack, Francesco Bongiorno (Bardiani CSF) puts in an attack at the start of the climb, the Cat.1 Colle delle Finestre.


The pace is high as the peloton enters the town of Susa. It's almost over for the break, whose lead has been cut to just 45 seconds.


Yesterday, Steven Kruijswijk lost the blue jersey - but the Dutchman is keen to get it back today. The LottoNL-Jumbo rider spoke with Eurosport this morning: "If I can, I will try and get the points - but it will be really hard to beat both Visconti and Intxausti. I've been a lot in attack early on in this Giro but I still feel good and hopefully today I'll be up there - it's all going to come down to one climb on the Colle delle Finestre."


This is what the riders can expect when it comes to the Colle delle Finestre... Just over 10km now until it starts. Stay tuned!


A couple of SouthEast riders have to bunny hop over some road furniture at a roundabout where the peloton bottlenecks. Still 1:45 for the leaders.


The peloton is really strung out with riders zipping along in single file as Tinkoff-Saxo continue their fast pace ahead of these decisive back-to-back climbs.


Tinkoff-Saxo are back on the front, and have LottoNL-Jumbo for support. It looks like Astana's Davide Malacarne has come off his bike - he has ripped shorts and is riding back with his team car taking on a fresh bidon. 1:45 now for the leaders - it's coming down pretty fast.


Astana and Team Sky have now come to the front while the maglia rosa takes a call of nature on the side of the road: he didn't stop, but had Tinkoff team-mate Roman Kreuziger pushing and support him while he did his business in the saddle. The gap is down to 1:55 for the nine leaders as they plough up the Susa valley.


Alberto Contador's priority today will simply be to follow any moved made by Astana pair Fabio Aru and Mikel Landa - that will be the easiest way to ensure he's still in the maglia rosa come Sestriere and Milan. But the Spaniard is still without a win in this year's race - and you sense that he will be keep to rectify that on such an iconic finish. It's Tinkoff-Saxo who are leading the chase in the peloton, which suggests Contador has designs on today's stage. The gap is down to 2:05 for the nine escapees.


Incidentally, it was Nicola Boem who took maximum points at the intermediate sprint ahead of the feed zone. The Bardiani CSF rider wore the red points jersey for three days after his stage 10 win in Forli but he was down to fifth place in the standings this morning, on 111 points. Italian Giacomo Nizzolo (Trek Factory Racing) is the current red jersey on 159 points, with Sacha Modolo (Lampre-Merida - 142pts) and Elia Viviani (Team Sky - 134pts) lurking ahead of tomorrow's deciding bunch sprint in Milan.


Of course, this group also contains Nicola Boem - another stage winner alongside Ulissi and Zakarin. He slipped under our radar earlier. The leaders have passed through the feed zone at Pianezza and have 2:35 over the pack. This almsot certainly won't be enough of a gap for the Finestre...


Kiryienka's win in 2011 marked the second time the Giro d'Italia used the brutal Colle delle Finestre climb - the first time being in 2005 in a stage won by that man Jose Rujano, who finished behind Kiryienka in Sestriere in 2011. The first half of the 18km climb features the maximum gradient of 14% and is on paved roads - but it's the second half where things get spicy with a narrow, winding dirt track with an average gradient of 9.2%. Overall, there's a total of 42 hairpins on the 2,100m climb with the first 29 coming in the first four kilometres. Put simply: this makes Alpe d'Huez look like a stroll in the park.


This is the seventh time the Giro has had a stage finish at the ski resort of Sestriere - the last time coming back in 2011 when Vasil Kiryienka, then riding for Movistar, soloed to success. The Belorussian beat Jose Rujano by a whole 4:43. Can he double up for Team Sky today? It's unlikely, but you never know...


We pick up the race live after 99km of largely flat racing. The nine leaders are approaching the feed zone with an advantage of 2:15 over the peloton. We have two former stage winners from this year's Giro in the break: Italian Ulissi - who won stage 7 in Fiuggi - and Ilnur Zakarin - who soloed to success at Imola in stage 11.


But those two riders were at it again when a larger break formed after 38km or riding. The nine cyclists: Julien Berard (Ag2R-La Mondiale), Marco Bandiera (Androni Sidermec), Nicola Boem (Bardiani CSF), Aleksejs Saramotins (IAM Cycling), Diego Ulissi (Lampre-Merida), Jon Izagirre (Movistar), Giacomo Berlato (Nippo-VIni Fantini), Matteo Busato (Southeast) and Ilnur Zakarin (Katusha).


An early attempt to break away by Aleksejs Saramotins (IAM Cycling) and Giacomo Berlato (Nippo-Vini Fantini) was thwarted by the pack.


There are extra mountain points up for grabs for the Cima Coppi - the prize for the first over the highest point of the race - and so the battle for the blue jersey should provide a race within the race today. Yesterday, Giovanni Visconti (Movistar) moved into the summit with 125 points. He leads Steven Kruijswijk (LottoNL-Jumbo) by 16 points and Movistar team-mate Benat Intxausti by 18 points. Theoretically, Mikel Landa (76pts) and Carlos Betancur (75) points could still win were they to cross both summits first.


The opening 150km of today's stage are pretty flat and then we have the highest point of the race, the Colle delle Finestre - this year's Cima Coppi - and then the Cat.3 summit finish in Sestriere.


The remaining 164 riders rolled out of Saint-Vincent in bright sunshine and warm, clement temperatures. Today's going to be a corking stage for the fans, that's for sure.


Aru moved within 4min 37sec of maglia rosa Contador with just two stages remaining - but it will be a huge ask for the Italian youngster to make up even a fraction of that time today. Landa is third on GC at 5:15, with Andre Amador (Movistar) and Leopold Konig (Team Sky) completing the top five.


Hello and welcome to stage 20 of the Giro d'Italia - a final day in the mountains, the Cima Coppi, and a summit finish in Sestriere after a long 199km slog in the sun.