Frenchman beats the other climbers in Asiago but Tom Dumoulin remains in contention for the overall victory.
Thibaut Pinot claimed the stage victory he was aiming for with only one day to left of the Giro 100. He out sprinted the top climbers of the General Classification in Asiago but the combination of their efforts was not sufficient to put Tom Dumoulin out of contention for the final Maglia Rosa. With a 53 seconds deficit, the Dutchman remains a huge threat to current race leader Nairo Quintana, as do both Vincenzo Nibali and Pinot himself. A thrilling individual time trial will deliver a fitting grand finale of the 100th edition tomorrow in Milan.
Tomorrow in the Individual Time Trial the first rider to start will be Giuseppe Fonzi (Wilier Triestina – Selle Italia) at 13.45, while the last rider will be the Maglia Rosa Nairo Quintana at 16.56. All riders will start at 1′ intervals except the last 15 who will start at 3′ intervals.
1 – Thibaut Pinot (FDJ) – 190km in 4h57’58”, average speed 38.259km/h
2 – Ilnur Zakarin (Team Katusha Alpecin) s.t.
3 – Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain – Merida) s.t.
Today’s stage winner Thibaut Pinot said: “Stage victory is not more important than riding for GC but this is why I’m a bike rider: I fight for winning races and today’s been a good victory to beat the top contenders of the Giro. I feel that together with Nibali and Quintana we cooperated very well – we gave 100% and we weren’t counting our pedal strokes – but once we rejoined with Pozzovivo and Zakarin I knew that they had the stage win in mind, and I did too in the last two kilometers. However, staying 15 seconds ahead of a strong rouleur like Dumoulin means that our cooperation was good. At the start of the Giro in Sardinia I said that I wanted a stage win and a place on the final podium. I’ve done the hardest bit and now there are 30km left I’ll give it all to finish the Giro with no regrets: I’ll fight for the overall victory, but Dumoulin probably remains the favourite. I also remember that Quintana won a time trial at the Route du Sud ahead of Sylvain Chavanel last year. He can defend himself – it’ll be a superb battle as nobody is able to say who will win the Giro and that’s beautiful. Whatever happens tomorrow, I hope to come back to the Giro in the future; I was always convinced this race suits me and this year it’s been better than I could’ve hoped for so far and I have nothing negative to say about my Giro.”
The Maglia Rosa Nairo Quintana said: “The reality of today’s stage is maybe not what it looked like. I gave it all in the leading group; I wanted to gain more time and the riders who were with me had the same intention so gave their all as well. The gap I’ve now got over Tom Dumoulin is not enough but it might be the right one as it’s important to keep strength and motivation. I’ve done some good time trials in the past and I hope tomorrow’s will be even better. It’s unusual to defend the Maglia Rosa on the last day but I’ll give my best. I’m not afraid of the closing time trial: my head says I can win or lose so everything is possible. I’m also not considering that I might not be on the final podium – my only intention is to win the Giro. We came for this challenge with good feelings and although it’s not easy to be at 100% when pursuing two goals but we’ve done well so far with great team work. I wouldn’t change anything I did in the Giro so far – even when we let Thibaut Pinot gain about one minute [in Ortisei]. Coming to a race as a favourite means you need to make some choices but we aren’t machines, we can’t control everything.”
Stage 21 – Monza (Autodromo Nazionale)-Milano (ITT) 29.3km
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