Michael Rogers (Tinkoff-Saxo) claimed his second win of the 2014 Giro d’Italia with victory atop the iconic Monte Zoncolan.
Nairo Quintana (Omega Pharma-QuickStep), meanwhile, retained his lead in the overall classification, and never looked like losing time to any of his rivals.
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Rogers’ win – the fourth for Australia this Giro – is the first of the five finishes here to be won by a rider from a breakaway launched before the final climb. The 34-year-old was part of the original breakaway group of the stage, who were allowed a big enough gap from the peloton to hang on to the finish.
The decisive moment came in unfortunate circumstances, however. Young Italian Francesco Manuel Bongiorno (Bardiani-CSF) was the last rider to still follow Rogers’ wheel, when a well-meaning spectator offered him a push which, rather than helping, caused Bongiorno’s bike to clip Rogers’ back wheel, unbalancing the Italian and causing him to be dropped. He was unable to catch Rogers, and ended up being passed by Franco Pellizotti (Androni) into third.
Back in the peloton, no significant time gaps were opened up between any of the top six, meaning they all retain their overnight positions in the GC. Despite a stellar ride by Omega Pharma-QuickStep domestique Wout Poels – who led for much of the second half of the Zoncolan and managed to drop all but teammate Rigoberto Uran and Quintana – Uran was unable to put the pink jersey under any serious pressure.
Both Colombians crossed the finish line together to seal first and second on the GC, with Fabio Aru (Astana), Pierre Rolland (Europar), Domenico Pozzovivo (Tinkoff-Saxo) and Rafal Majka (Tinkoff-Saxo) all finishing in a group together only a handful of seconds adrift.
Earlier in the day, Dario Cataldo (Sky) had captured the maximum king of the mountains points over the Passo del Pura and the Sella Razzo, but was too far down on Julian Arredondo (Trek) to usurp the blue jersey.
The only change in the top 10 saw Wilco Kelderman (Belkin) leapfrog Cadel Evans (BMC) into seventh.
The GC is all but finished going into tomorrow’s final flat stage, where Nacer Bouhanni (FDJ) will look to seal victory in the points classification.
Giro d’Italia 2014, stage 20: Maniago to Monte Zoncolan, 167km
1. Michael Rogers (Aus) Tinkoff-Saxo 4-41-55
2. Franco Pellizotti (Ita) Androni Giocattoli at 0-38
3. Francesco Bongiorno (Ita) Bardiani-CSF at 0-49
4. Nicolas Roche (Irl) Tinkoff-Saxo at 1-35
5. Brent Bookwalter (USA) BMC at 1-37
6. Robinson Chalapud (Col) Colombia at 1-46
7. Georg Preidler (Aut) Giant-Shimano at 1-52
8. Maxime Monfort (Bel) Lotto Belisol at 2-12
9. Dario Cataldo (Ita) Sky at 2-24
10. Simon Geschke (Ger) Giant-Shimano at 2-37
Overall classification after stage 20
1. Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar in 83-50-25
2. Rigoberto Uran (Col) Omega Pharma-QuickStep at 3-07
3. Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana at 4-04
4. Pierre Rolland (Fra) Europcar at 5-46
5. Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) Ag2r at 6-41
6. Rafal Majka (Pol) Tinkoff-Saxo at 7-13
7. Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Belkin at 11-09
8. Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC Racing at 12-00
9. Ryder Hesjedal (Can) Garmin-Sharp at 13-35
10. Robert Kiserlovski (Cro) Trek Factory Racing at 15-49
Giro d'Italia tackles the Monte Zoncolan climb at the end of today's penultimate and decisive stage