Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) secured victory in the 2015 Giro d’Italia after safely finishing in the main peloton in the maglia rosa on the final stage into Milan.
Contador finished just under two minutes ahead of closest rival Fabio Aru (Astana) in the overall standings, taking his second Giro title in the 98th edition of the race, and his seventh career Grand Tour victory. The Spaniard will now focus on an attempt at the Tour de France, as he tries to become only the eighth cyclist in history to claim a prestigious Giro/Tour double.
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Iljo Keisse (Etixx – Quick-Step) took a surprise stage victory from a breakaway as the sprinters teams failed to organise themselves enough to pull the Belgian and his companion Luke Durbridge (Orica-GreenEdge) back.
The pair got away with 30km remaining, with around six laps to go on the final finishing circuit in Milan, which wreaked havoc with a number of riders eyeing a sprint, including last year’s Giro final stage winner Luka Mezgec (Giant-Alpecin) who punctured along with the likes of Heinrich Haussler (IAM Cycling). The puncture spree appeared to be caused by a small section of cobbles and tramlines not far from the finish line.
Keisse and Durbridge continued on and went into the final lap with 32 seconds on the peloton, with Lampre and Giant pulling most on the front to try and close the gap.
But it was another day for the break in a Giro which has been remarkably unpredictable and it came down to a last 200m dash between the pair, which saw Keisse sit on the Australian’s wheel before out-sprinting him to the finish. It’s a late success for Etixx, who failed to take a victory in the Giro until that point.
But it’s Alberto Contador who will stand on the most prestigious podium of the day, as he rolled in to take overall victory and the maglia rosa at the 2015 Giro d’Italia.
With the season’s first Grant Tour done and dusted, the UCI WorldTour continues next week with the Critérium du Dauphiné, the first true build-up race to the Tour de France, where the Contador’s Tour rivals Chris Froome And Vincenzo Nibali will go head-to-head. Giro champion Contador will not feature, and is expected to return to competitive action at the French race Route du Sud on June 18.
Giro d’Italia 2015, stage 21: Torino – Milano 185km
1. Iljo Keisse (Bel) Etixx – Quick-Step, in 4-18-37
2. Luke Durbridge (Aus) Orica GreenEdge
3. Roger Kluge (Ger) IAM Cycling, at 9 seconds
4. Alexander Porsev (Rus) Team Katusha
5. Giacomo Nizzolo (Ita) Trek Factory Racing
6. Luka Mezgec (Slo) Giant-Alpecin
7. Elia Viviani (Ita) Team Sky
8. Moreno Hofland (Ned) LottoNL-Jumbo
9. Davide Appollonio (Ita) Androni Giocattoli
10. Elia Favilli (Ita) Lampre-Merida, all same time
Final overall classification
1. Alberto Contador (Esp) Tinkoff-Saxo, in 88-22-25
2. Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana at 1-53
3. Mikel Landa (Spa) Astana at 3-05
4. Andrey Amador (Crc) Movistar at 8-10
5. Ryder Hesledal (Can) Cannondale-Garmin at 9-52
6. Leopold Konig (Cze) Team Sky at 10-41
7. Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) LottoNL-Jumbo at 10-53
8. Damiano Caruso (Ita) BMC Racing at 12-08
9. Alexandre Geniez (Fra) FDJ at 15-51
10. Yuri Trofimov (Rus) Katusha at 16-14
Points classification: Giacomo Nizzolo (Ita) Trek Factory Racing
Mountains classification: Giovanni Visconti (Ita) Movistar
Young rider classification: Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana
Team classification: Astana Pro Team (Kaz)