Another Stage for Rogers With Solo Win on Zoncolan in Giro d’Italia Stage 20
Another Stage for Rogers With Solo Win on Zoncolan in Giro d’Italia Stage 20

Michael Rogers brought Tinkoff Saxo and himself a second stage win in the 97th Giro d’Italia with a long attack on the brutal climb up Monte Zoncolan.

“It’s really worth it. it’s amazing it’s always been my dream to win a mountaintop finish like that. Monte Zoncolan is a great climb and to win like that is amazing,” Rogers told Cyclingnews.com.

 “It’s one hell of a climb, but it makes it all the more better. Those climbs, Zoncolan, Stelvio and Gavia are huge climbs and to win is every cyclist’s dream.”

The Australian joined a 20-rider break 12 km into the 167-km stage, stayed with it as riders dropped away, then attacked with Bardiani’s Francesco Bongiorno and Androni’s Franco Pellizotti six km from the top of the climb.

Pellizotti dropped back when the slope hit 22 percent; Bongiorno tried an attack at 3.7 km, but couldn’t shake the Tinkoff rider.

Rogers started a surge 3300 meters from the peak, and had slightly distanced Bongiorno, when an overzealous fan grabbed the Bardiani rider and tried to push him up the mountain. Instead, he pushed Bongiorno off his bike. Bongiorno immediately remounted and rode on, but he had lost touch with Rogers, and with the steep incline, had no chance to catch up.

Visibly deflated, the Bardiani rider, who had dreamed of bringing his tiny team a fourth Giro stage win, struggled on but his heart was broken, and he could no longer fight so hard to overcome the pain in his legs and lungs. With all chance of victory erased, he just labored up the hill, eventually finishing third behind Pellizotti.

Rogers would likely have won anyway; he looked much stronger than his Italian rival, and was in fact pulling away before the fan interfered. Still, the contest, and what it would have brought out in each rider, would have made finishing first and second more satisfying and less painful.

Michael Rogers was on fine form, showing no signs of slowing as he wrestled his bike up the impossibly steep climb. He crossed the line 38 seconds ahead of Franco Pellizotti, 49 seconds ahead of Bongiorno, to win not just a second stage, but a stage finishing on the summit of arguably the hardest climb in cycling.

Race leader Nairo Quintana didn’t need to attack; he had a three-minute lead on Omega Pharma-Quickstep’s Rigoberto Uran, so he merely marked Uran on the climb. Uran, led by teammate Wouter Poels, made an attack 3.8 km from the top and dropped the rest of the GC contenders with the exception of Quintana. Quintanan will win the Giro; Uran will take second for a Colombian one-two.

Fabio Aru of Astana will win the best young rider jersey but he was not able to close the minute gap to Uran. After an amazing ride in the Stage 19 mountain time trial, the 22-year-old Italian rider had to dig deep to defend his podium finish from Europcar’s Pierre Rolland. He struggled, but he succeeded; this rider will feature in many a Grand Tour in the future.

Race leader Nairo Quintana spoke to Eurosport after finishing the stage: “I am extremely happy. Obviously my aim is the title and today I just wanted to get over the mountains that we had to do—do the job, basically.

“The Giro, I am beginning to believe in it. My have just done an outstanding job on my behalf.”

The final stage is a flat road stage which will be contested by the sprinters’ team. So long as Quintana does not crash, he will with the 97th Giro d’Italia.

Giro d’Italia Stage 20

 

rider

team

time

1

Michael Rogers

Tinkoff-Saxo

4:41:55

2

Franco Pellizotti

Androni Giocattoli

0:00:38

3

Francesco Bongiorno

Bardiani

0:00:49

4

Nicolas Roche

Tinkoff-Saxo

0:01:35

5

Brent Bookwalter

BMC

0:01:37

6

Robinson Chalapud

Colombia

0:01:46

7

Georg Preidler

Giant-Shimano

0:01:52

8

Maxime Monfort

Lotto Belisol

0:02:12

9

Dario Cataldo

Sky

0:02:24

10

 Simon Geschke

Giant-Shimano

0:02:37

General Classification after Stage 20

1

Nairo  Quintana

Movistar

83:50:25

2

Rigoberto Uran

Omega Pharma-QuickStep

0:03:07

3

Fabio Aru

Astana

0:04:04

4

Pierre Rolland

Europcar

0:05:46

5

Domenico Pozzovivo

AG2R

0:06:41

6

Rafal Majka

Tinkoff-Saxo

0:07:13

7

Wilco Kelderman

Belkin

0:11:09

8

Cadel Evans

BMC

0:12:00

9

Ryder Hesjedal

Garmin Sharp

0:13:35

10

Robert Kiserlovski

Trek

0:15:49

 

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