De Gendt Wins The Giro D'Italia Stage 20

Last updated : 26 May 2012 By Kev Monks

Vacansoleil's Thomas De Gendt won the Giro D'Italia Stage 20 this afternoon.

If ever there was a stage that typified the Giro D'Italia then today was it with its highest ever stage finish on the Passo dello Stelvio.

This 219km stage started in Caldes/Val di Sole and saw thirteen riders including Roman Kreuziger break away.

Matteo Rabottini took the first two climbs of the day.whilst four riders including Hunter were thrown out of the race for holding onto cars.

As the stage got onto the Motirolo, Radio Shack's Oliver Zaugg took off along with Caruso and got 3:42.ahead.

In the peloton, race leader Joaquin Rodriquez attacked and fellow GC contenders Hesjedal, Scarponi and Basso all had to follow.

With the roads on the Motirolo turning to little more than paved tracks, Caruso dropped back into the chasing group.

Zaugg was 5.14 ahead of the peloton containing the race leader in the valley whilst on top of the mountains there was plenty of snow

With thirty kilometres to go, the chasing group now containing Amador, Nieve, De Gendt, who was only 5.46 down on the race leader, Cunago, Kangert and Izaquirre caught him and they started on the climb to Passo dello Stelvio.

Through the town of Bormio famous for Camp Coffee, the front group shot through, rising ever upwards as the altitude level increased.

There was 12.7kms to go when Thomas De Gendt attacked. He pulled out five minutes which was enough to move him up to second in the General Classification. But the switchbacks up the mountain got steeper and steeper. However, De Gendt had riden up this mammoth of a mountain a few times before and was prepared for it.

After Cunego and Nieve had gone after him, John Gadret of AG2R set off with 6.7kms to go, to try and improve his standing in the race overall, ahead of the final day's time trial in Milan.

The chasing group containig Hesjesdal and Rodriquez were all looking at each other, waiting for each other to make a move.

Under the flam rouge on the snow covered Passo dello Stelvio, De Gendt carried on his merry way whilst further back down the road, Scarponi attacked.

This was the highest ever finish for a Giro stage but today this was a mountain that was conquered by Thomas De Gendt who won in a time of 6.54.41.

Cunego was second some 55 seconds back, Mikel Nieve was third with Joaquin Rodriquez in fourth some 3.22 down on De Gendt.

Rodriquez coming fourth means that he keeps his leaders jersey and has now taken over the points jersey held by Mark Cavendish.