Vincenzo Nibali was the dominant force in the overall group for the second day running, putting himself into the pink leader's jersey with just the processional final stage left

Rein Taaramäe (Katusha) won stage 20 of the Giro d’Italia, but the big news was back in the overall standings.

Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) attacked on the final big climb of the day, further distanced his rivals on the decent and held them off on the final shorter ascent to the finish line.

There was then a tense wait for pink jersey Esteban Chaves (Orica-GreenEdge), but the Italian had done enough to win his second Giro d’Italia.

Stage 21 is the ceremonial ride into Turin, which is expected to end in a bunch sprint and have no impact on the overall classification.

Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) rallied towards the end to finish not far behind Nibali and move himself up the overall standings to third.

Steven Kruijswijk (LottoNL-Jumbo) could not stage a huge recovery and slipped further down the standings.

Michele Scarponi sets the pace for Vincenzo Nibali on stage 20 of the 2016 Giro d'Italia. Photo: Graham Watson

Michele Scarponi sets the pace for Vincenzo Nibali on stage 20 of the 2016 Giro d’Italia. Photo: Graham Watson

Nibali’s ride was set-up by an attack from his teammate Michele Scarponi (Astana) with 17.6km to go. Chaves reacted first, and was also joined by Kruijswijk.

Others then came up when the paced slowed, including Rigoberto Uran (Cannondale), Bob Jungels (Etixx-Quick Step), Rafa Majka (Tinkoff) and Valverde.

With 12.2km to go, Nibali attacked the group in a hairpin. Chaves and Valverde were able to follow, but Kruijswijk was distanced.

>>> Five talking points from stage 20 of the Giro d’Italia

Just 300 metres later, Chaves lost the wheel and Nibali started to pull away from the pink jersey. Valverde then attacked Chaves, who was at first able to ride back onto the Spaniard’s wheel but looked to be struggling.

Nibali caught up with Tanel Kangert, who put in a huge turn for his team leader. Soon after, Uran caught up with Chaves and Valverde. National alliances came into play as Uran set the pace for Chaves.

That alliance only lasted as long as Chaves’s legs and Uran rode away with Valverde when the Orica rider couldn’t stay with them.

>>> Esteban Chaves: ‘It’s only a bike race’

Chaves, who started the day 44 seconds ahead of Nibali, found himself 55 seconds behind at the summit of the second to last climb.

This gap only went out as Nibali, Valverde and Uran got away. The Kruijswijk group caught up with Chaves and they rode towards the finish together.

Esteban Chaves could not hold onto pink on stage 20 of the 2016 Giro d'Italia. Photo: Graham Watson

Esteban Chaves could not hold onto pink on stage 20 of the 2016 Giro d’Italia. Photo: Graham Watson

Earlier in the day, Mikel Nieve (Team Sky) put himself in the day’s main break, and once again tried his luck with a solo attack. Ascending the huge Col de la Bonette, over in France, the Basque rider got his sponsor plenty of television time.

Back in the peloton, Orica-GreenEdge and Astana massed at the front to control the pace and keep their GC men safe. Before long Movistar came forward and upped the pace. At this point, Nieve had 84km to go and was 10-24 ahead of the main bunch.

Nieve held enough of a gap to get over the classified climbs first and in so doing looks set to win the KOM jersey overall.

Gianluca Brambilla (Etixx-Quick Step) managed to solo his way across to the lead group, which had caught Nieve on a descent with 46km of the stage remaining. At this point the group held 8-34 over the chasing pack.

No sooner had they gone through the intermediate sprint point than they were once again climbing, this time up the final first category climb of the race.

The group soon split apart and Darwin Atapuma (BMC Racing), Joe Dombrowski (Cannondale) and Giovanni Visconti (Movistar) pressed on ahead.

The group lost impetus when Visconti stopped coming through, apparently avoiding taking a turn as he was under instruction to wait for his team leader, Valverde.

Atapuma put in several attacks to keep the Nieve group off their wheels, but by now Dombrowski was also reluctant to go on the front.

Nieve’s day seemed to be done when he couldn’t keep the pace, meaning Kangert and Taaramäe were able to bridge to the Atapuma group.

By now it was all kicking off in the group of favourites, where the final GC of the 2016 Giro d’Italia was set.

Vincenzo Nibali on the podium after stage 20 of the 2016 Giro d'Italia. Photo: Graham Watson

Vincenzo Nibali on the podium after stage 20 of the 2016 Giro d’Italia. Photo: Graham Watson

Results

Giro d’Italia 2016 stage 20, Guillestre to Sant’Anna di Vinadio, 134km

1. Rein Taaramae (Est) Katusha, at 4-22-43
2. Darmin Atapuma (Col) BMC, at 52s
3. Joe Dombrowski (USA) Cannondale, at 1-17
4. Mikel Nieve (Esp) Team Sky, at 4-12
5. Alexander Foliforov (Rus) Gazprom, at 4-36
6. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana, at 6-44
7. Alejandro Valverde (Esp) Movistar, at 6-57
8. Rigoberto Uran (Col) Cannondale, at 6-57
9. Giovanni Visconti (Ita) Movistar, at 7-47
10. Rafal Majka (Pol) Tinkoff, at 8-06
Others…
11. Bob Jungels (Lux) Etixx-Quick Step, at 8-06
13. Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) LottoNL-Jumbo, at 8-13
14. Esteban Chaves (Col) Orica-GreenEdge, st

Rein Taaramäe wins stage 20 2016 Giro d'Italia. Photo: Graham Watson

Rein Taaramäe wins stage 20 of the 2016 Giro d’Italia. Photo: Graham Watson

Giro d’Italia 2016 overall standings after stage 20

1. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana, at 82-44-31
2. Esteban Chaves (Col) Orica-GreenEdge, at 52s
3. Alejandro Valverde (Esp) Movistar, at 1-17
4. Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) LottoNL-Jumbo, at 1-50
5. Rafal Majka (Pol) Tinkoff, at 4-37
6. Bob Jungels (Lux) Etixx-Quick Step, at 8-31
7. Rigoberto Uran (Col) Cannondale, at 11-47
8. Andrey Amador (CRC) Movistar, at 13-21
9. Darmin Atapuma (Col) BMC, at 14-09
10. Kanstantsin Siusou (Blr), at 16-20

  • Al Parente

    Sean, you surely love saying bullshits. That’s what mafia is placing bets on.

  • reece46

    Didn’t notice any media siege of Nibali following his transformation.
    Sky need to forget wasting any time on bridge-building, it’s blatantly simple now.
    European Journalists selling European copy. Glorious Italian at home- big Gazetta sales. Clean Brit leading in France- L’Equipe non-story.

  • Stepho

    Amazing performance from Scarponi, tireless and relentless power. I can’t imagine how he does it.

  • Angelic_One

    If this had been a Team Sky rider who had been distanced on the climb on Friday, then miraculously recovers to win the stage and the Giro, there would be outrage and calls of suspected doping. Why does this happen with any other GC rider?

  • dimethoate

    Time for the race organizes to take control of the motorcycle riders leading/chasing the race. The sheer volume and their lack of respect for the riders is not only dangerous but they are impacting the results of the races.
    Maybe OGE may have won the race if there was an Australian or Colombian pilot leading the peloton!
    Who needs team mates!

    Furthermore I suggest the UCI train/test/accredit only selected pilots to cover the monuments and grand tour events.
    They could even take control/sell all the images.$$$$$

  • Chumply Chummunderson

    I was gutted at the Kruijswijk crash, and today gutted for Chaves’ capitulation, but most of all I’m gutted that I’ve committed to tomorrows club run where I’m gonna have to listen to ‘how does someone who was so poor come back to win the Giro in two days’ conspiracy theories for the whole 100km. Gutted!

  • Sean

    Nibali struggles and gets tested because his team want to know if he is sick. Then all of a sudden turns in to a non tiring machine. Either he refused to work for his team until they put pressure on him or he’s had a motor installed. Possibly on the juice too. But it’s fine if you have the mafia placing bets on you. In all seriousness though, I find it hard to like the man talented or not.

  • Supong Longchar

    A rider who was asleep half of the race woke up in the last two stages amazing. He might be drinks special juice. Lets wait and see what his samples shows. Till then Hats off to Nabali.

  • llos25

    Is that fact because if it is not I would get a good brief.

  • Thomas Raba

    Well, as much as I hate Sky…

  • Alex McGregor

    I hate Astana and Vinkourov so much. I wish Nibali raced on a different team than that drug-addled doping factory.

  • llos25

    Brilliant stage the planning worked like clockwork for Astana .