Giro d'Italia Stage 20: Brambilla Tries to Stage Hunt
Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team rider Gianluca Brambilla tested his ability in the high mountains on Saturday, attacking within the final 12km of the 211km Giro d'Italia Stage 20. He bridged to Pieter Weening (Orica-GreenEDGE), and eventually was joined by Eros Capecchi (Movistar). Those three were catching another rider solo, who was in the original stage breakaway.
Eventually, the three caught and dropped the rider ahead and were ahead by a minute in the final kilometers. However, Capecchi accelerated and dropped Weening and Brambilla. Eventually, Weening carried on without Brambilla heading toward the summit of Tre Cime Di Lavaredo.
Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) made sure the break was eventually brought back, but he also put in an attack of his own in the snowy, cold conditions with 3.1km to go. Other GC riders such as Rigoberto Uran (Sky ProCycling) and Carlos Betancur (AG2R-La Mondiale) stayed on his wheel temporarily, but as he passed Capecchi in the lead with 2km to go he went clear of everyone. Despite 600m of climbing in the final 1500m, Nibali was able to climb his way to a solo victory and he also expanded his GC lead. Fabio Duarte (Colombia Pro Cycling Team) was 2nd, and Uran 3rd.
OPQS rider Mark Cavendish earned minor intermediate sprint points on two different occasions, which could be crucial for the final 197km flat stage on Sunday. Nibali took the points classification lead with 128, while Cavendish has 117. Cavendish will be battling for the possible stage win, as well as a chance at winning the points competition tomorrow.
"Today I asked the team and Mark if it was OK for me to stay in front and try to go for the stage," Brambilla said. "Being the great captain that he is, Mark said yes. I tried to do my stage and I attacked on the last part of the climb. I tried to anticipate a bit the actions of the GC favorites. But it was really cold on the downhill. I almost couldn't feel my feet. It was quite difficult. But I tried, and in the end I think I had a good stage. Tomorrow I will again try and help Mark, to try and go for the stage with the team."