The final GC will look a lot like this with Davide Formolo climbing into the top 10 following Thibaut Pinot's collapse.
Susa - Breuil-Cervinia
Giro d'Italia - 26 May 2018
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And here's Chris Froome coming home to secure an historic win...
Here's Mikel Nieve taking the win earlier for Mitchelton-Scott...
Chris Froome has all but won the 101st edition of the Giro d'Italia!
Carapaz and Lopez are caught on the home straight and it's Poels and Froome who come through and lead this group of GC favourites over the line.
They're on the close straight now...
Gianluca Brambilla is the latest rider from the break to cross the line, 5'22" down. Dumoulin still pulling but it's no can do...
Ciccone has come home for fourth place - he won't be in the maglia azzurra tonight, although he'll wear it tomorrow in place of Froome, who'll be in pink. Carapaz leads Lopez still but there's nothing separating them and so it will be the Colombian, not the Ecuadorian, who takes the final place on the podium and wins the white jersey.
Dumoulin now has Oomen pulling - but he's running out of road. It won't be enough and the defending champion is going to finish second in this Giro...
Meanwhile, back at the finish Robert Gesink rides over to take second place for LottoNL-Jumbo around 2'20" down. He must have overtaken Felix Grosschartner - yes, here he comes for third place, 2'45" down.
Attack from Richard Carapaz! Lopez latches on and the two South Americans dance clear. Carapaz made that attack just as many fans were running along with flares and fancy dress.
Now let's get back to the GC riders who still have 3km left to ride. Dumoulin is on the front but has both Froome and Poels on his wheel.
Victory for Mikel Nieve (Mitchelton-Scott) on his 34th birthday! Yesterday was heart break for his team, today they have their fifth win of the race.
Mikel Nieve goes under the flamme rouge with the win in sight. He's crested the top of the climb and it's now the false flat towards the finish...
Dumoulin is back! And so too are Oomen and Poels... so each of the two pink jersey rivals have a team-mate for the final few kilometres...
Meanwhile, Mikel Nieve continues his solo ride towards stage glory... The GC favourites have entered another tunnel with Froome closing back on...
The two groups have come together and it's Carapaz who sets the tempo with Dumoulin still in pursuit.
Froome rides with Carapaz and Lopez now, with Pozzovivo and Formolo a bit behind and Dumoulin and Oomen further back. They pass under the 5km to go banner.
As Froome surges clear of Dumoulin, the Dutchman shakes his head - has he conceded defeat? The others ride past him and this looks like the end for the defending champion...
Big attack from Dumoulin as the favourites enter a tunnel. Froome latches on and the pair catch Formolo with the others in pursuit.
Nieve still has two minutes as he approaches a stack of hairpins. He should win today - but no one is watching his ride, but the battle for pink behind. And Poels is back on!
Oomen's presence here could be critical - especially if Poels fails to get back on. Oomen is setting the tempo now and Sunweb will look to exploit Froome's isolation here. Remember, the Dutchman needs to find 40 seconds over the next 6.5km... (The 4.5km figure is for the lone leader, Mikel Nieve.)
Froome, Dumoulin, Carapaz, Lopez, Pozzovivo and Oomen are now together in a six-man group, with Wout Poels chasing back on.
Now Dumoulin goes! The Dutchman powers clear and opens up a gap... but Froome manages to close it down...
With Oomen up the road, Dumoulin puts in another attack. But Froome has it covered - and then the pink jersey attacks. He's reeled in and there's a momentarily lull...
Davide Formolo rides clear now - he wants to get back into the top 10. Then Sam Oomen has a dig - taking Carapaz and Lopez with him.
Acceleration from Tom Dumoulin! The Dutchman makes the first move - and Froome latches on.
De la Parte (not Pedrero, sorry) drops back and hands the reins over to Betancur. Meanwhile, Poels drops back - so Froome only has Henao...
Dumoulin still has Sam Oomen with him while Froome has Henao and Poels. Movistar still string it out though Pedrero and Betancur, with Lopez in the wheel of Carapaz just behind.
Nieve zips through the town of Valtournanche and he still has 9'05" on the main pack. It looks like he will win today unless Grossschartner pulls something out of the bag. The big question is whether or not Dumoulin puts Froome under any pressure...
Nieve has 1'40" on Grossschartner so he's keeping the dream alive. This will be his third stage win in the Giro after 2011 and 2016. He also has a Vuelta win from 2010 but has yet to pick up a victory on the Tour de France (although his remaining fourth pro win was at the Dauphine in 2014).
Movistar have now taken up the pace-setting through Antonio Pedrero, who has Richard Carapaz and Carlos Betancur in his wheel. They want to pile on the pressure on Miguel Angel Lopez and try to launch Carapaz onto the podium and into the white jersey.
Mechanical for Robert Gesink, whose chase on Nieve has been disrupted because of a wheel change - and then a new bike. Apparently Felix Grossschartner is the second rider on the road but we don't have any time gaps. In fact, the Austrian was second on the last climb and so Ciccone only picked up 12 points and so will need to win the stage to take the maglia azzurra...
Salvatore Puccio, Kenny Elissonde, David de la Cruz, Sergio Henao and Wout Poels are all there for Froome on the front of what is essentially just a 30-man pack now. Astana and Movistar are just behind, then it's Tom Dumoulin with a couple of his Sunweb team-mates.
Nieve has 1'30" on the chasers and 9'00" on the main pack, which is being controlled by Team Sky now.
Meanwhile, Mikel Nieve gets to the start of the climb with a 8'45" gap on the pack. The Cat.1 climb to the ski resort of Cervinia has an average gradient of 5.4% and a maximum ramp of 10%. It's steady and long - the exact kind of climb that suits Tom Dumoulin...
Luis Leon Sanchez, who leads the pack on the descent, slows and urges Sky to come through and take up the slack. After all, they're defending the pink jersey. Salvatore Puccio takes the hint and comes forward with Froome just behind.
It looks like Woods has joined the Ciccone group on the descent but no sign of Grosschartner. Meanwhile, the peloton crest the summit 8'22" down on Nieve. We're hearing that Pinot is another 15 minutes back!
Ciccone leads the chasing trio over the summit 1'38" down. Those 18pts put him on 105pts now. Chris Froome has 123pts so Ciccone will have to win the stage to take the maglia azzurra: if he comes second, the 18pts will put him on 123pts as well but Froome will surely win by virtue of his Cima Coppi and Zoncolan haul.
Over the top of the summit goes lone leader Mikel Nieve to take the maximum 35 points.
Nieve is really giving it his all. His gap over the pack is 7'40" now and it's hard looking beyond him. He'll give Mitchelton-Scott their fifth win after Yates's hat-trick and Chaves's victory on Etna.
A three-man chase group has formed with Ciccone, Brambilla and Gesink. In theory, Ciccone could come second on this climb and second at the finish and pick up enough points to win the maglia azzurra - because he's not going to beat Nieve today.
It is, of course, Mikel Nieve's 34th birthday today. What a present this would be...
Now Nieve rides clear of his Austrian companion. The Spaniard is one of the best climbers in this race but he's also been used sparingly as he returns to form. His job for Mitchelton-Scott has been to support Adam Yates but now that the Briton is out of the picture for pink, Nieve now has his chance to get that win and end this Giro on a high for the team that shone so bright for so long.
Mikel Nieve puts in a dig to drop Gianluca Brambilla on the final third of the climb. Felix Grossschartner manages to stay with the Spanish veteran and so we have two riders out ahead. They have 6'45" on the pack, which has already dropped Yates and Pinot.
This Giro just keeps on surprising us. Yesterday we saw Yates collapse, Froome take pink and Pozzovivo drop off the podium; today it's Pinot's turn, who has opened the door to Lopez - or even Carapaz - to take the final slot on the podium. And we still may see Dumoulin oust Froome at the top...
Ciccone is having a second wind and leads the chase on the three leaders. Pinot is now almost eight minutes behind the main pack...
It's painful to watch Pinot, who is with three Groupama-FDJ team-mates (including Sebastien Reichenbach, who Dumoulin described as descending "like a granny" yesterday). At this rate, the Frenchman will concede as much time as Yates did yesterday. At least Yates was still turning the pedals. Pinot's face is a picture of pain and he's going at a walking pace.
And then there were three: Nieve, Brambilla and Grossschartner have dropped Woods and Ciccone. Back with the pack and there's no sign of Tom Dumoulin and his Sunweb team, so either the Dutchman is conceding the pink jersey or he's going all-in on the final climb, where he'll need to win the stage and take 31 seconds off Froome (that would give him a 41-second swing).
Here's Pinot pedalling squares from a bit earlier, his podium dreams left in tatters.
Just the five men in front now: Nieve, Brambilla, Ciccone, Woods and Grosschartner. Back with the main pack, it's Astana who drive the pace through Lutsenko, Sanchez and Bilbao, with Lopez, the white jersey, just behind.
Yes, it's all over for Mohoric. He takes down a gel while weaving across the road as Brambilla leads the break past.
Mohoric will be caught by the other escapees soon after his cameo off the front. The pack is still over six minutes back.
Poor Pinot, he's all over the place. In trying to refuel he's almost cycled into his team car. He clearly went too deep yesterday and is either ill or didn't eat enough today. He's already the best part of two minutes off the pink jersey pace...
THIBAUT PINOT HAS CRACKED! The Frenchman completely hits the wall on this climb - and he's going to lose a lot of time today... in the same vein as Yates yesterday, perhaps. And that explains the Astana tempo - for their man Lopez is now set to take third place on GC.
Mohoric still has 30 seconds over the other nine escapees - but you'd expect Ciccone to be doing his utmost to keep tabs on that. The Italian needs the points over the top to keep his blue jersey dream alive. Once he has those points, he'll concentrate on trying to win the stage - or at least taking two more points that will put him clear of Froome in the KOM standings.
We're onto the Cat.1 Col St Pantaleon: 16.1km at 7.2% with a maximum ramp of 10% near the summit. The 2015 Giro used this climb in that stage won by Aru and it was that man Gio Visconti, who is in the break, who crested the summit in pole position.
The gap is up to 6'30" as Mohoric approaches the second of three climbs...
Of course, there'll be no repeat of that today following the Italian champion's withdrawal from the race yesterday. Aru has been out of sorts since his move to UAE Team Emirates and had dropped to 29th place before throwing in the towel. Before Aru, the last winner at Cervinia was the Costa Rican Andrey Amador, who became the first Central American to win a stage on a Grand Tour in 2012, the year Ryder Hesjedal took the maglia rosa.
Giovanni Visconti is back with the main breakaway, which now trails his Italian team-mate by 30 seconds. The last rider to win at Cervinia is Fabio Aru, who bounced back in the 2011 Giro with back-to-back victories in the Alps, the first of which came at Cervinia in stage 19 followed by Sestiere one day later. The Astana rider was 6'05" down on Alberto Contador before his win in Cervinia, which saw him move into second and cut the deficit to 4'37". One day later, his attack on the Colle delle Finestre and subsequent win saw him move to 2'02" down on Contador...
Mohoric now has 20 seconds on the other escapees and 5'40" on the main pack, who are about to sweep up Krists Neilands, one of the initial members of that 27-man break.
No surprises here: Matej Mohoric has zipped clear on the descent. A lot was made of Froome's downhill skills yesterday, but the Slovenian youngster is on another level when it comes to hugging the top tube and going hell to leather.
Astana and Sky lead the pack over the summit of the first of three climbs with a deficit of 5'32" on the nine leaders.
Giulio Ciccone (Bardiani-CSF) crests the summit ahead of LottoNL-Jumbo duo Koen Bouwman and Robert Gesink to take the maximum 35pts. So his raid on the maglia azzurra is well and truly on.
Ciccone is driving the pace as the break reaches the final kilometre of the climb. The Italian trails Froome by 71pts in the KOM standings so if he gets maximum points over the first two climbs that would be 70pts. So he'd need just the one more point at the finish and he's be in blue. Easier said than done - but not as impossible as what Froome pulled off yesterday.
We're hearing there could be possible rainstorms at the finish in Cervinia when the riders arrive. For now it's still very sunny - especially here on the Col Tsecore. Mohoric has managed to join the leaders so we have nine left out ahead...
Despite the hefty tempo being set by Astana - with Sky tucked in just behind - the break has managed to extend its lead to 5'15" over the pack as they near the summit of this first climb. There's eight ahead now with Mohoric slightly distanced.
Mohoric has been reeled in and he'll slip into an eight-man break that's missing his team-mate Gio Visconti, who has just been dropped... Koen Bouwman sets the tempo - the blonde-haired Dutchman came close to winning the sodden stage to Montevergine in the opening week, when Richard Carapaz zipped clear to pass him in the last kilometre. Brambilla, Woods, Nieve, Gesnik, Ciccone, Grossschartner and Lammertink are still there.
Lone leader Mohoric is approaching the hardest part of the climb where it ramps up to 15%. It's here where the GC riders may think about putting in some attacks. Remember, Froome only leads Dumoulin by 40 seconds and he has struggled before in this race, especially after putting in big efforts the day before.
With Gesink pulling on the front and the gap stabalised to around 4'40" there's an attack by Matej Mohoric of Bahrain Merida. The Slovenian has already won stage 10 and now goes for a long-pop, perhaps paving the way for his team-mate Gio Visconti later on.
Astana's pace-setting has reduced the main pack to just 50 riders - if that. They're picking off remnants of the break one by one. Poor Simon Yates - he's in the blue jersey today but gone are any chances of him winning that competition as a softener after losing the pink yesterday. He came within three days of winning the Giro d'Italia - and surely he'll be back (he's only 25 after all) - but you worry for his morale going forward, in the same way as Steven Kruijswijk, who himself imploded in pink two years ago.
And it's happening again: Simon Yates's Alpine horror show continues as he's dropped on the first climb of the day.
The leaders are whittled down to Gavazzi, Visconti, Grosschartner, Ciccone, Woods, Nieve, Bouwman, Lammertink, Gesink, Brambilla, Kreuziger, Mohoric and Conti.
The official profile of today's first climb, the Col Tsecore.
Kreuziger, Visconti, Conti and Mohoric drive the pace in the thinning break while it's the Astana army of Miguel Angel Lopez on the front of the peloton behind, 4'18" in arrears.
Chris Froome may be in pink but it's been a rocky road to get there - via two crashes, a win on the Zoncolan and many salbutamol-related jibes.
Now Kreuziger comes to the front of this break to drive the pace. Their gap is down to 4'40" with the peloton now starting the climb. Around 10 riders have been shelled out of the break already.
German veteran Tony Martin comes to the front of the break on the climb and already numerous riders have been dropped from this break - including Viviani, his work for the day done.
We're onto the first climb, the Cat.1 Col Tsecore (15.5km at 7.6% and a maximum gradient of 15%) which is being used for the first time in the Giro.
It's Groundhog Day as Elia Viviani pips two Androni Giocattoli - Ballerini and Frapporti- riders to pick up anther 8pts in the intermediate sprint at Verres to extend his lead to 72pts over Sam Bennett in the maglia ciclamino standings.
We're fast approaching the second intermediate sprint, which comes right at the foot of the first climb.
Bit of a tailwind now in the valley - and now that two teams are combining in the chase, the chances of this break going the distance looks more and more remote.
Astana and Movistar have men on the front, as do the Sky team of the pink jersey. The gap comes down to under five minutes for our large 27-man group, which is being driven along by LottoNL-Jumbo and Bardiani-CSF who have five riders together in this move.
On Froome's performance yesterday - and the question marks over whether he should be here in the first place, what with his on-going salbutamol case hanging over him (and the sport) - Sean Kelly said ahead of the stage today: "Within the sport of cycling we have that problem of coming from an era with the doping problem – and anyone who does a big ride like Chris Froome did yesterday, they’re going to refer to that. But let’s not forget that Chris Froome legally has the right to be here. Until proven otherwise, I don’t think we can say he shouldn’t be here. In big champions, no matter what the event is, when you win a lot of events, you have people who support them, and others who hate them. That’s the way it’s always been and that’s how it will always be."
Shortly after the sprint, the break zips through the feed zone with a gap of five minutes over the peloton with the average speed for the second hour of racing 47.3kmph.
Back to the race and no surprise there as Elia Vivani takes the maximum eight points at the intermediate sprint at Samone ahead of Androni duo Davide Ballerini and Marco Frapporti. So, that increases the Italian's lead over Sam Bennett to 66 points in the battle for the maglia ciclamino.
So, in a nutshell, Bennett is trying to distance himself from those who think there's something fishy about Froome's performance, effectively saying that miracles can happen - although this was the biggest miracle since Christ rose from the dead. Again, read into that what you will.
We mentioned earlier George Bennett's stunned reaction to Froome's win yesterday, in which he said the Sky rider had "done a Landis". Well, the New Zealander clarified his comments before today's stage: "I wasn’t saying he was riding on a load of gear. I was just saying – that was the last comeback, and if we can’t compare one cyclist to another cyclist then we can’t make any comparisons from the last 20 years, otherwise that means you’re like, just drawing… I didn’t say Froomey went out and rode on a bunch of gear and won the stage. I’m just saying he made a bigger comeback than bloody Easter Sunday. And I think that, I’m not saying at all, I mean, there’s no innuendo, I’m not inferring anything. But if we can’t make comparisons to cycling then we can’t compare to Pantani, to Merckx, because we don’t know what was going on there. It’s nothing to do with drugs or anything like that. But it’s like a self-fulfilling prophecy – people on Twitter, they want it to mean what they want it to mean, that I’m in there batting for them. But I’m just raising a point. It’s ridiculous!"
Astana have come to the front of the pack to lead the chase. They don't have any riders in the break and will be aiming to set up Miguel Angel Lopez for the win today - perhaps even propel him into the final spot on the podium at the expence of Thibaut Pinot, who he trails by 40 seconds. Meanwhile, the break is approaching the intermediate sprint with a gap of four minutes.
Mitchelton-Scott directeur sportif Matt White waxed lyrical about Chris Froome's ride yesterday, claiming: "I don't think I've seen a performance like that in Grand Tour ever - it was an incredible ride and it will go down in history." Meanwhile, Team Sky manager Dave Brailsford called Froome’s ride “the best performance of his career” as well as one of the best days in the team’s history.
We'll be getting live TV images soon, which make things a lot more interesting. Thankfully, it's been a quiet day so far, with the 27-man break forming after a fast opening 15km or so before stretching its lead out to four minutes ahead of the intermediate sprints and the three climbs. All the action is really yet to happen.
More than four minutes now for the escapees as they approach a little hill ahead of the drop down to the intermediate sprint - where Viviani should pick up the points but will face some opposition from the Androni quartet, who have targeted the sprint competition this year.
Lone chaser Natnael Berhane has called it quits - quite wisely, given he was making no in-roads. So just the large 27-man break out ahead now ahead of the two intermediate sprints and then those three all-important climbs. The gap is 3'50" and so there's no guarantees that today's winner will come from this group - although there are some solid climbers present in the likes of Visconti, Ciccone, Kreuziger, Nieve, Woods, Brambilla and Conti.
You'll be pleased to know that Chris Froome hasn't done a Rohan Dennis / Nairo Quintana and gone full-pink when it comes to his bike. Instead, Sky have made just a few pink additions to his steed. They know that this race is not yet over.
The two rivals for pink caught in the same elevator this morning... now that's awkward.
Berhane still rides in pursuit but the Eritrean is 2'20" down with the peloton a further 1'10" back.
The 27 leaders are: Matteo Montaguti (Ag2R-La Mondiale), Davide Ballerini, Marco Frapporti, Francesco Gavazzi and Manuel Belletti (all Androni Giocattoli), Matej Mohoric and Giovanni Visconti (Bahrain Merida), Giulio Ciccone and Enrico Barbin (Bardiani-CSF), Felix Grossschartner and Andreas Shillinger (Bora-Hansgrohe), Elia Viviani (Quick-Step Floors), Jacopo Mosca (Wilier Triestina), Matthieu Ladagnous and Steve Morabito (Groupama-FDJ), Krists Neilands (Israel Cycling Academy), Roman Kreuziger and Mikel Nieve (Mitchelton-Scott), Michael Woods (EF Education First-Drapac), Tony Martin and Maurits Lammertink (Katusha-Alpecin), Valerio Conti and Vegard Stake Laengen (UAE Team Emirates), Koen Bouwman, Bert-Jan Lindeman and Robert Gesink (LottoNL-Jumbo), and Gianluca Brambilla (Trek-Segafredo).
The average speed for the first hour of the stage was a zippy 48.8kmph. The leaders now have 3'05" over the peloton with one rider - Natnael Berhane of Dimension Data - riding in no-man's land in between.
Talking of Richard Carapaz (second yesterday) and Miguel Angel Lopez (third), the two South Americans are embroiled in a hefty battle for the white jersey with Movistar's Ecuadorian slashing his deficit to the Colombian from Astana to 47 seconds in stage 19. Lopez will want to defend his youth classification lead today - but he'll also be aware that he's just 40 seconds down on Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ). A solid ride today coupled with some problems for the Frenchman could see Lopez leapfrog Pinot onto the final podium... Still a lot to play for beyond the pink jersey...
A lot has been made of Froome's ride yesterday and many people are torn as to know whether it was too good to be true. But it's interesting to point out that he took the same amount of time to climb the Jafferau as Tom Dumoulin. Having build up a lead of a minute on the Colle delle Finestre following his first attack, Froome put in another minute on the chasers on the descent, which he tackled with nerves of steel while his rivals sat up and waited for reinforcements. He then extended his lead in the Susa valley while Dumoulin was dragging along his chasing group - most notably Carapaz and Lopez. There's no doubt that the salbutamol case hanging over Froome is terrible for the sport - but you don't ride faster downhill thanks to a few puffs on an inhaler.
Interesting to see Mitchelton-Scott duo Mikel Nieve and Roman Kreuziger in the break - the Australian team keen to make amends for yesterday's horror show. There's also Gianluca Brambilla, who's had a pretty torrid race for his Trek-Segafredo team. Canada's Michael Woods (EF Education First-Drapac) is there after plummeting out of the top 20 yesterday. And stage 10 winner Matej Mohoric (Bahrain Merida) is present along with the young Italian climber Giulio Ciccone of Bardiani-CSF. So, all in all, this is a tidy group that could go the distance - provided they build up a decent enough lead before the first climb.
The numbers have swelled in this break, which now has over 20 riders in it with the gap up to one minute. Names coming up...
The gap is small for these escapees - just 20-odd seconds for now. Actually, we're hearing that there are five now. Another Italian, Jacopo Mosca (Wilier Triestina-Selle Italia), has joined the party.
BREAK: Four riders have opened up s small gap over the peloton including that man Viviani! The Italian is clearly on a mission to tie up the jersey today in order to make the final stage to Rome less stressful. It's an all-Italian break which sees Viviani joined by compatriots Davide Ballerini (Androni Giocattoli), Giovanni Visconti (Bahrain Merida) and Matteo Montaguti (Ag2R-La Mondiale).
There are two intermediate sprints coming up ahead of the three climbs today and that could be a motivation for some riders - especially the Androni Giocattoli boys, who are dominating the intermediate sprint and breakaway competition having pretty much featured in every move of the race so far. There's also the not insignificant matter of the maglia ciclamino competition: Elia Viviani currently wears the purple jersey with 290pts to Sam Bennett's 232pts so it's not mathematically impossible for the Irishman to reel him in should be pick up points in both sprints and then win the final stage tomorrow in Rome...
It's nice to see Simon Yates able to smile after yesterday's whammy. After all, if he lost the pink jersey to Froome while dropping to 18th on GC (now more than 35 minutes in arrears), he also conceded the maglia azzurra king of the mountains jersey to Froome (who has 123pts to Yates' 91pts). Although, ironically, Yates now gets to wear the blue jersey which he never got the chance to wear while leading that competition - by virtue of him (and now Froome) being in pink.
If last weekend’s stage to Monte Zoncolan was the queen stage of the race, then surely this was the king – and at the end it was Froome who once again ruled supreme: the Cima Coppi over the achingly beautiful Colle delle Finestre, a swashbuckling solo win, the pink and blue jerseys, and a Grand Tour grand slam very much within touching distance. Here was the moment Froome went on the attack 80km from the finish...
After yesterday's brutal stage there are some tired legs in the peloton - but it's also the last competitive day of racing: not only does this stage offer a final chance for many riders - and teams - to pick up a win, there's the GC subplot with Froome's 40-second lead still far from secure. After all, the last time the Sky rider won a stage - on the Zoncolan - he toiled the next day and conceded 51 seconds to the Dutchman Dumoulin the next day... that will be Sunweb's motivation today. As such, it's been a fast and furious start to today's stage with many riders trying to get into a break. Nothing has stuck yet, mind.
George Bennett's reaction to Froome's win and pink jersey yesterday was priceless - and led to his LottoNL-Jumbo team having to add a "Disclaimer to avoid any misinterpretation: this is not an insinuation, but a way to express the admiration for an exceptional achievement. Congratulations to Chris Froome and Team Sky." Read into it what you will.
Before the excitement builds why not watch the latest offering from our friends at GCN who dissect yesterday's astonishing stage and analyse where it went wrong for Tom Dumoulin following the attack by Froome and the capitulation by Simon Yates.
Having negotiated the neutral zone, the riders have now started this stage after race director Mauro Vegni waved the flag. Here's the peloton at the start town of Susa. We have 151 riders remaining after a flurry of withdrawals yesterday, including Ben O'Connor (who crashed), Fabio Aru and Vasil Kiryienka.
This is what's on the menu today on a stage that will decide the final outcome of the maglia rosa: a back-loaded 214km run that includes three successive gruelling Cat.1 climbs.
Here's the new man himself in pink ahead of today's decisive stage. He has a 40 second lead on Tom Dumoulin - can he hold on to take an historic first Giro d'Italia crown?
As I inferred just now, not much happened yesterday... Only joking! In one of the most astonishing/unbelievable/incredible performances in modern cycling history, Britain’s Chris Froome soared into the pink jersey with a devastating long-distance mountain raid to win Stage 19 at Bardonecchia while destroying the hopes of compatriot Simon Yates and dashing the hopes of defending champion Tom Dumoulin. Team Sky's Froome threw caution to the wind as he soloed clear on the dirt roads of the Colle delle Finestre with 80km still left to ride of the gruelling 184km stage in the Alps. Read more here...
Hello and welcome to another quiet day on the Giro d'Italia. Given the monotonous tedium of this oh-so-boring 101st edition of La Corsa Rosa, not much will happen in this 214km Stage 20 from Susa to Cervinia, which features the final three big climbs of the race and will decide once and for all the outcome of the maglia rosa.