Saturday 26 May 2012 - 18:04

Giro d'Italia Stage 20: Race Explodes on Stelvio

Giro d'Italia Stage 20: Race Explodes on Stelvio

The Giro d'Italia queen stage featured plenty of surprises, as Thomas De Gendt (Vacansoleil-DCM) soloed to victory on the Stelvio summit finish on Saturday. The 218km stage, including a finish on the 22.4km, 6.9% average gradient climb with max ramps of 12%, devastated the peloton and left GC contenders scrambling to protect their standings. Dario Cataldo and Serge Pauwels did what they could to minimize time losses, sitting at the front of the bunch chasing hard. However, they were no exception to the struggles of almost the entire field on the difficult final climb.

De Gendt and was initially in a lead group of seven riders with 26.9km to go, but as the group began ascending Stelvio, De Gendt, Damiano Cunego (Lampre-ISD) and Mikel Nieve (Euskaltel-Euskadi) managed to gap everyone else. Eventually, De Gendt decided to attack Nieve and Cunego. He took off with 12.5km to go, and worked with such effort that he built up a gap of more than 5 minutes on the Maglia Rosa group at one point. He was as close as a handful of seconds to taking over the GC lead, but eventually the Maglia Rosa group worked to cut into his lead.

Cunego finished 2nd, Nieve 3rd, and GC leader Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha Team) 4th after he passed Michele Scarponi (Lampre-ISD) in the final meters for a second stage in a row.

Dario Cataldo was the top finisher for Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team, in 16th place.

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