Thanks you for tuning into the final stage of the Giro - we hope you enjoyed it as much as we did. There was a split in the peloton and Contador lost 9 seconds to his Astana rivals in Milan... but he still won the race by 1:53 over Aru and 3:05 over Landa. See you for the Tour de France in July!
Turin - Milan
Giro d'Italia - 31 May 2015
Giro d'Italia – Follow this cycling race live with Eurosport. The action starts at 18:30 on 31 May 2015. Our live coverage lets you follow all the key moments as they happen.
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What an unexpected finish to this 98th edition of the Giro d'Italia - and the Belgian stage winner cannot believe it. He went in a break, but would have never expected to hold off the sprinters and take the victory...
Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) safely crosses the line to win the 2015 Giro d'Italia.
Switzerland's Roger Kluge (IAM Cycling) leads the main pack across the line nine seconds down.
Victory for Iljo Keisse (Etixx-QuickStep). And in great scenes, he can be seen hugging runner-up Luke Durbridge (Orica-GreenEdge) afterwards - a classy image.
And Durbridge opens ip the sprint on the cobbled section... but Keisse comes through to take the win!
It's cat and mouse time, and Durbridge is ahead of Keisse, who won't come forward... very tactical now - and the peloton swings in behind...
Durbridge leads Keisse as they head for the flamme rouge... still 25 seconds. Keisse refuses to come to the front.
Now Giant-Alpecin are back on the front - so Mezgec must be back. But it's surely too late. 25 seconds now for the two leaders.
Keisse and Durbridge have been relaying really well - and will have to right until they sprint for the win. Ag2R-La Mondiale send a rider up the road in pursuit - it's Patrick Gretsch - but it's no can do.
It looks like the peloton is giving up... and now Sean Kelly reckons the two escapees will stay out! They have 38 seconds so it's looking good for them.
The bell rings for the last lap... the pace is fairly frenetic now. Just 20 seconds now. Sean Kelly thinks it will be a sprint...
Lampre and Katusha are preparing themselves - they've been lucky to avoid any puctures. But it's Sylvain Chavanel of IAM Cycling who is on the front. The two leaders have 32 seconds now...
FDJ and Katusha have edged ahead - this is a bit of a free-for-all. The gap is down to 38 seconds.
Sean Kelly believes that there must be some tacks or other sharp objects on the road...
More punctures... Philippe Gilbert (BMC) and Heinrich Haussler (IAM Cycling) have flats, with a whole raft of other riders...
Just two more laps now... and it's chaotic out there. With Sky and Giant Alpecin having had their trains disrupted through punctures, and Trek not needing to work now that Nizzolo is pretty much guaranteed the red jersey, the onus is on Sacha Modolo's Lampre-Merida team to lead the chase...
Durbridge and Keisse have increased their lead to one minute now...
And now Team Sky have some punctures - with Bernie Eisel and Leopold Konig being held up. It's carnage out there. Tinkoff-Saxo have come to the front to neutralise things, but Lampre-Merida want to kick on. The break has 40 seconds and they need to keep going...
The gap is 33 seconds now - and there are more problems on the cobbled section. Luka Mezgec is the latest rider to get a flat - and he needs to change bikes with Giant Alpecin team-mate Tobias Ludvigsson.
And here's the heated exchange between Nizzolo and Lampre shortly afterwards...
Nizzolo is now on 167 points with Philippe Gilbert on 148 - so it looks as good as won. Unless he does something stupid and gets himself thrown off the race: not as outlandish as it may seem... because replays show the red jersey shoulder barging Lampre-Merida's Maximiliano Richeze right there - and now he's having words with Sacha Modolo...
That cobbled section with tram lines seems to have caused a few punctures on this circuit - the latest being Matteo Tosatto of Tinkoff-Saxo.
Now it's Trek who are trying to lead out Nizzolo for the intermediate sprint third place - and no one challanges him as the Italian takes three points for third place, 27 seconds down on the two leaders. That puts him in a strong position to retain the red jersey - provided he finishes well in the final sprint, he should keep the lead.
Team Sky have now moved to the front to lead the chase for their man Elia Viviani. The intermediate sprint is not far away... which is why Sky are there.
With five laps to go the lead is just over 30 seconds for the two escapees, Keisse and Durbridge.
Just 10 seconds for the two escapees on this fast street circuiit, which is broken up by numerous tight corners.
BREAK: Luke Durbridge (Orica-GreenEdge) and Iljo Keisse (Etixx-QuickStep) have darted off the front of the pack.
Eurosport pundit Juan Antonio Flecha spoke to his old Sky team-mate Bernie Eisel ahead of the Austrian's 17th Grand Tour finish. "Sacha Modolo is definitely the man to beat at the moment but we're lucky to have Elia Viviani - he's won a stage already and we'll do our best to make it two, and the red jersey."
Tinkoff-Saxo lead the peloton across the finish line in Milan: seven laps of the 5.4km city circuit to go.
The pack has split in two either side of a long central reservation partition on the outskirts of Milan. The pace is a little higher and so we may actually start to see a race.
It's worth noting that Alberto Contador, while riding a custom Specialized with pink features, has not gone for the all out pink that Nairo Quintana, the defending champion, went for last year. The Spaniard still wears regulation Tinkoff-Saxo blue and yellow shorts, while his team-mates all have pink bar tape, so they're mixing it up a bit.
Winner of last year's final stage in Treiste was Luka Mezgec of Giant-Alpecin. The Slovenian has been in rather subdued form this year and suffered a crash a couple of days ago - but he told Eurosport this morning that he was upbeat about his prospects in Milan. "I'm good. It was a stupid crash but I'm ok. We have a good train here to control the race and I hope they can deliver me in a good position inside the final few kilometres. It would be unbelievabe - I really hope I can do it again."
Today's final stage finishes with seven laps of the 5km Milan street circuit with an intermediate sprint coming at the completion of the third lap. Still no movement in the pack for now.
Congratulations to Australian marathon man Adam Hansen (Lotto Soudal) who today completes his eleventh consecutive Grand Tour. Should he finish the Tour de France in July, it will be a new record...
Their tactics may have been slightly odd yesterday, but there's no denying that Astana have been the best collective force in this year's Giro. Indeed, the team standings have Astana out ahead of BMC by a total of 43 minutes 16 seconds.
The pack passes through the feed zone at Magenta. Alberto Contador has just held three fingers up at the camera - one for each of the Giros he claims to have won. Remember, officially it's just the two after his 2011 title was taken away because of his retro-active two-year ban for Clenbuterol. But the Spaniard always believed himself to have won that race fair and square and - above all - clean, and so clearly insists that it still belongs to him, even if the history books tell a different story.
After that relative flurry of activity, it's all back together again. This is going to be quite a long ride into Milan...
Today's finish straight includes come flag stones and tram lines with 150km to go - luckily the lines are running across the road, so the riders' tyres should not get stuck...
With the gap of the escapees coming down, Patrick Gretsch bounds ahead of the pack with another Ag2R-La Mondiale team-mate. This is resembling a race a little bit more now, which is promising.
Oleg Tinkoff buried the hatchet with the enemy this morning, shaking runner-up Fabio Aru's hand despite his war of words over Astana's tactics during the final week of the race.
The four escapees are: BMC trio Silvan Dillier, Marcus Burghardt and Philippe Gilbert, and Lampre-Merida's Maximiliano Richeze.
At the first intermediate sprint it's a stalemate as a break of four riders - including three BMC'ers - have edged ahead and mop up the big points. When the peloton arrives at Novara, it's Modolo who takes the points for fifth place ahead of the entire Tinkoff-Saxo team. But it was uncontested - so it looks like they will wait until the second intermediate sprint and the final bunch sprint. The gap for the break is 1:30.
Besides the bunch sprint, there's the small matter of the red jersey to be sorted out today. Indeed, the points classification is the only competition which has yet been decided - and it's perfectly poised with Giacomo Nizzolo (Trek) leading on 159 points ahead of compatriots Sacha Modolo (Lampre-Merida - 142pts) and Elia Viviani (Team Sky - 134pts).
Just a reminder that Fabio Aru (Astana) won the white jersey by almost two hours over Davide Formolo, the young Italian Cannondale-Garmin rider who won stage four with aplomb. A third Italian, Fabio Felline (Trek Factory Racing), was third in the standings.
Predictably there's been very little racing today - much like the Tour de France's final stage to Paris, this is a processional affair and a chance for the winning team of Alberto Contador to milk the attention after three hard weeks in the saddle.
Astana may have won the stage yesterday, but many believe they made a bit of a hash of things when Contador was put in difficulty on the Colle delle Finestre. Astana ended up with four riders in the top ten in stage 20 - but by letting Aru win his second stage, team-mate Landa forewent his own chance to win a hat-trick of stages and also missed out on the blue jersey. Indeed, had the Spaniard finished in third place ahead of Rigoberto Uran, he would have ended up in the dark blue jersey and not the baby blue of Astana...
A reminder that Giovanni Visconti (Movistar) secured the blue jersey yesterday by three slender points over Mikel Landa (Astana). Steven Kruijswijk (LottoNL-Jumbo) finished third 10 points down and eight points ahead of Benat Intxausti (Movistar).
The most unfortunate rider of the past 24 hours is Italian veteran Alessandro Petacchi, who pulled out of yesterday's stage half way through because of a fever. That means the 41-year-old SouthEast sprinter will not contest the final bunch gallop - and nor will he be able to complete a seventh Giro d'Italia.
The remaining 163 riders in this Giro rolled out of Torino to get this stage under way after Contador and his Tinkoff-Saxo team-mates popped some prosecco corks in celebration of the Spaniard's eighth Grand Tour victory. And yes, your eyes are not deceiving you: Oleg Tinkov really has dyed his hair pink...
Just to remind you, yesterday Italy's Fabio Aru won another stage in the Alps at Sestriere as Spain's Alberto Contador survived a wobble on the Colle delle Finestre to secure the second Giro d'Italia title of his career. Tinkoff-Saxo's Contador cracked under the pressure of Aru's Astana team on the dirt roads of the race’s highest peak but recovered to finish the 199km stage in sixth place, 2min 25sec down on his Italian rival. Aru's second successive scalp in the Alps saw the 24-year-old Sardinian secure second place in the general classification - an improvement on his debut race last year, which he finished in third.
Because, yes, the battle for pink is over: barring catastrophe, Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) will ride into Milan today with the maglia rosa on his shoulders. The Spaniard lost time yesterday to stage 20 winner Fabio Aru in Sestriere - but he still leads the Italian tyro by 2:02 on GC, with another Astana rider, Mikel Landa, completing the podium at 3:14.
Hello and welcome to live coverage of stage 21 of the Giro d'Italia - the final 178km processional ride into Milan from Turin that should spark up in time for a final showpiece bunch sprint that will decide the outcome of the red jersey points competition.