Giro d'Italia: Stage 20

Vincenzo Nibali wins the penultimate stage in the snowy Dolomite mountains to cement his position as race leader

25 May 2013 Last updated at 16:33

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As it happened

  1. 1630: 

    Today's report is up and ready for you to read so it is time for me to bid you farewell. Thanks for your company today. Let's hope Cav thaws out overnight and is on the start line for tomorrow's ride into Brescia. We began the Giro three long weeks ago hoping to call Sir Bradley Wiggins home in pink and Mark Cavendish in red - one out of two wouldn't be a bad hit rate would it? Be sure to join me from 13:30 BST to find out if he can do it.

  2. 1627: 

    Brutal. There really is no other word to describe today's stage. Like the Tour de France Sunday's final stage will be a largely processional affair with a big sprint for the finish. Nibali is ready to be crowned Giro winner for the first time, will Cav pick up the red jersey and join the select group of Djamolidine Abdoujaparov, Laurent Jalabert, Eddy Merckx and Alessandro Petacchi as points jersey winners in each of the three Grand Tours?

  3. 1621: 
    Vincenzo Nibali winning stage 20 of the Giro d'Italia

    If you look closely enough, you can just about make out Nibali crossing the finish line atop the Tre Cime di Lavaredo - the photo taken by BBC Sport's Si Clancy. I agree, surely he should have nipped outside to take it!

  4. 1619:  
    Pink Jersey, Giro d'Italia leader

    General classification after stage 20:

    1. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita/Astana) 79:23:19"

    2. Rigoberto Uran (Col/Team Sky) +4'43"

    3. Cadel Evans (Aus/BMC Racing) +5'52"

    4. Michele Scarponi (Ita/Lampre) +6'48"

    5. Carlos Betancur (Col/AG2R) +7'28"

  5. 1615: 

    Stage 20 result:

    1. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita/Astana) 5:27:41"

    2. Fabio Duarte (Col/Colombia) +17"

    3. Rigoberto Uran (Col/Team Sky) +19"

    4. Carlos Betancur (Col/AG2R) +21"

    5. Fabio Aru (Ita/Astana) +44"

  6. 1614: 

    Nibali's victory today mean that he is all-but assured of winning the Giro with just one stage to go.

    He also leads Cav by 11 points in the race for the red points jersey but, with 25 points on offer for Sunday's stage winner, the good news for Cav is he only needs to win the expected sprint into Brescia to become the fifth rider to win the points race in each of the three Grand Tours, having already won the Tour de France and Vuelta a Espana equivalents.

  7. 1610: 

    No sight of Cav at the finish line yet - he may well be a few more minutes yet. Although, with the blizzard continuing he'd best not leave it too long or else the road will be covered in snow and he has to finish today's stage if he wants to win the red points jersey.

  8. 1605:  
    Rob Hayles, Former GB cyclist and 5 live sports extra commentator

    "This will go down in history as one of the stages that they will be talking about for years to come."

  9. 1603: 

    Fabio Duarte is the man who finished second, 17 seconds behind Nibali with his Colombia compatriot Uran a couple of seconds back. A third Colombian, Betancur, who takes over as best young rider, was fourth.

  10. 1600: 

    Nibali is immediately whisked off into a marquee by his helpers as the other riders come over the line. This is brutal. Uran is pipped on the line and finished third but he will not care too much about that as Evans crosses the line 1'29" behind Nibali and certainly more than 10 seconds behind Uran, so the Colombian Team Sky rider will move up to second overall.

  11. 1558: 
    CHAMPAGNE MOMENT

    VINCENZO NIBALI WINS STAGE 20 OF THE GIRO D'ITALIA

  12. 1557: 

    The snow is settling on the eyebrows of Rigoberto Uran as he pushes on up the climb.

  13. 1557: 

    Fans huddled like penguins on the side of the road. "The photographers are not going to get a shot of this finish because they just won't be able to see," says Rob Hayles. But here comes Nibali through the snow and mist inside the final 100m.

  14. 1555: 

    The snow continues to flutter down on the riders as Evans begins to slide back through the field. Nibali is 32 seconds clear of Uran and Betancur. "It's the heaviest blizzard of the day so far," says Simon Brotherton on commentary. "I can see about 75 yards down the road. The snow drift is higher than Nibali's head."

  15. 1553: 

    This is like a race up the north face of the Eiger suggests Simon Brotherton as Nibali wafts away dozens of spectators, some clearly bonkers because they have stripped down to their pants despite the sub-zero conditions. This is a stunning ride by the Italian as he goes under the 1km to go banner. Uran and Betancur seem to have distanced Evans again. Can he get the 10 seconds he needs to jump above the Australian. This is tremendous racing.

  16. 1550: 

    The snow has begun to fall again and these conditions are attrocious. Nibali continues his lone ride to the summit and he is 1.5km from the finish. Uran and Betancur are second and third on the road but Evans is plodding up the hill behind them and reeling them in with each revolution.

  17. 1548: 
    THAT'S INCREDIBLE!

    Perhaps stung by criticism from the Italian papers that he hasn't won enough stages in this race, Nibbles appears adamant to make his point and he goes past Capecchi with ease. The Italians lining the road are going crazy for the Astana rider. Uran has not been able to go with Nibali but he is only 10 seconds behind Evans overall but could take second from the Australian. Evans was dropped for a short while, but he is trying to get back to Uran.

  18. 1545: 

    And as I type that, here goes Nibali - the Italian went for it on a steep switchback and seemed to take his rivals a bit by surprise. But Michele Scarponi jumps onto his wheel and Team Sky's Rigoberto Uran has gone with him - where is Cadel Evans?

  19. 1544: 

    There is a bit of a blizzard blowing at the finish says Simon Brotherton and it's difficult to pick out where the snow ends and the sky starts. Rob Hayles queries who will be digging their car out later. On the road. Capecchi is a dozen seconds clear of Weening and Brambilla with Nibali's group at 30 seconds. Nobody trying to attack the Giro champion elect at present.

  20. 1541: 

    This climb has plenty of switchbacks and gradients of 18% in parts. Capecchi has struck out on his own and is being encouraged on his way by the usual groups of over-excited spectators on the road. Weening and Brambilla are into the final 5km but a couple of hundred metres behind the leader.

  21. 1538: 

    Simon Brotherton on commentary reminds us that this climb to Tre Cime di Lavaredo, at 2,403m above sea level is famed for the attack of Belgian legend Eddy Merckx, who won the 12th stage of that race to take the pink jersey on his way to winning the first of his five Giro d'Italias in 1968.

  22. 1535:  
    Pink Jersey, Giro d'Italia leader

    Good effort by Brutt but he is soon a dot in the distance. Back in the maglia rosa group, overall race leader Nibali has his gloved hand over his mouth and nose, no doubt trying to get some warmth on his face.

  23. 1534: 

    Brutt is just 9km from the finish but he is about to be caught. A couple of riders who escaped without the cameras noticing are quickly on to his wheel and they rush past the suffering Brutt. Omega Pharma Quick-Step's Gianluca Brambilla and Movistar's Eros Capecchi zip by and assume the race lead with Orica GreenEdge's Weening.

  24. 1530:  
    Rob Hayles, Former GB cyclist and 5 live sports extra commentator

    "I had a walk down the last couple of hundred metres of today's finish and I'm glad I didn't walk too much further because it was a tough walk back up."

  25. 1526: 

    Brutt summits Passo Tre Croci on his own and Weening comes over just 26 seconds back with Pirazzi six seconds further adrift and the peloton coming through at 48 seconds down. The roads are damp as the riders head down a short downhill section before they embark upon the final major climb of this year's Giro to Tre Cime di Lavaredo.

  26. 1522: 

    Pirazzi, who is the leader of the King of the Mountains competition has another attack of the front of the peloton. He's been doing this all Giro but then dropping back quite quickly before going again.

  27. 1515:  
    BBC Radio 5 live

    Radio 5 live commentary from Simon Brotherton and Rob Hayles is now live - remember - you can only tune in via the website today.

  28. 1514: 

    Brutt is now one minute clear of Hansen and Popovych, while Carlos Betancur, who is second in the best young rider classification and has had a mechanical, has just chased down a minute on the main group and got back on - terrific stuff by the Colombian. However, at the front of the bunch, Stefano Pirazzi has made a bid for freedom

  29. 1510: 

    Satisfied with his day's work, Cavendish has quickly dropped back into his usual position on the climb - in the Gruppetto at the back of the race. This next 19km or so is all about Nibali v Evans - will Nibbles keep pace with Cuddles? Or will the Italian decide to cement his status and blow the field away on the upper slopes of the climb? Orica GreenEdge rider Peter Weening has gone clear of the peloton but he is two minutes behind leader Brutt and just 30 seconds clear of the main bunch.

  30. 1505: 

    It's all happening on the lower slopes of this mountain. Pavel Brutt has pushed on at the front and dropped Hansen with 20km to go, while Popovych has cracked. More interestingly, Cadel Evans has shown his hand and moved towards the front of the peloton - but there's Nibali on his wheel.

  31. 1503: 

    And here comes Cav at the front of the peloton, over the treacherously wet cobbled streets and this time nobody challenges him for the two intermediate sprint points. So, I make it, he's gone to 117 - eight clear of Evans and 14 clear of Nibali. We'll see what that does to the standings at the finish.

  32. 1459: 

    Cavendish's Omega Pharma Quick-Step team-mates have realised that the final intermediate sprint is coming up in around 3km and are positioning themselves near the front of the peloton. Up at the front, Adam Hansen has had a little dig off the front - reminiscent of his stage win on stage seven this - not sure he will be able to make it up the mountain to Tre Cime di Lavaredo on his own though.

  33. 1453: 

    Back in today's race, the peloton is really ramping up the pace and the leading quartet's advantage has been slashed to 2'44" as they reach 26km to go. The Cannondale team is pushing the peloton along as they swing round a left-hander which has a vertical drop of a couple of hundred feet into a lake for anyone who overcooks the corner.

  34. 1450: 

    An amateur rider is attempting to complete all three Grand Tours this year in a journey to promote the cause of environmental sustainability. The man, known as Keith, has been starting each stage of the Giro at around 05:00. He's been doing pretty well too, although he regretted tackling yesterday's stage - he set off before race officials cancelled the stage and reached the top of the Passo del Tonale before crashing a couple of times on the way down the other side.

  35. 1444: 

    One of Brutt's fellow escapees, Australian Adam Hansen - remember his solo victory in the pouring rain in Pescara on stage seven - is riding without gloves today. I reckon he may regret that in a few kilometres. He is nicknamed Croc Man after winning three mountain bike races for Crocodile Trophy. He completed all three Grand Tours in 2012 which is a decent achievement for a pro.

  36.  
    GET INVOLVED

    BBC Radio 5 live's Simon Brotherton on Twitter: Very changeable weather up here at the finish. Blizzard at the moment with constant aroma of burnt clutch. #giro

  37. 1440: 

    Pavel Brutt is tapping out the pace for the leaders - the Katusha rider's favourite song is Tema proshlogo leta by now-disbanded Russian outfit Tequila Jazzz. I had a little search for it on the world wide web earlier - not a bad ditty if you like that kind of stuff - they were apparently influenced by the Pixies and Sonic Youth.

  38. 1436: 

    The tangerine orange of the Euskaltel riders are back on the front of the peloton as the riders see snow on the side of the road for the first time today. Beautiful winter wonderland shots of the mountains that now surround the racers - despite it being the end of May. The leading quartet are just four minutes clear now with 40km remaining.

  39.  
    GET INVOLVED

    Graham Shaw on Twitter: Nibali may have 4minutes on Evans, but the real race today surely has to be that Evans has only 10 seconds on Uran!

    Luca Sbardella on Twitter: Top riders at the giro 2012 Nibali, Cavendish, Visconti & Uran. Shame about the bad weather but well organised nonetheless #bbccycling

  40. 1430: 

    So, Cav's two points takes him to 115, six clear of Evans and there is one more intermediate sprint to come, with around 21km remaining in today's stage. If he can stay near the front, he could pick up another couple of points to put him eight clear. They could prove crucial depending on where Evans and Nibali finish today and on Sunday's final stage, which is expected to end in a bunch sprint in Brescia. Got all that?

  41. 1426: 

    A quick reminder on the points jersey classification - before today's stage, Cav led on 113 points with Cadel Evans four back and Nibali 10 adrift. Either Evans or Nibali could take the red jersey off Cav's back today with 25 points on offer for a stage win, dropping down to 20 for second, then 16, 14, 12, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2 and 1 point for the 15th.

  42. 1423: 

    Cavendish manages to pip the Vini rider over the line to take what could be a crucial two points in his quest to win the red points jersey before remonstrating with the cheeky scamp who tried to deny him - I have no name for the Vini rider because he has his numbers covered up but he is getting some grief from Cav's Omega Pharma Quick-Step team-mates as he sidles back into the peloton. The four riders out front hoovered up the big intermediate sprint points from eight down.

  43. 1420: 

    Mark Cavendish is up near the front of the peloton - he is looking to nick a couple of points in the intermediate sprint to add to his overall tally. The British rider is looking around him - he doesn't want anyone challenging him but here comes a Vini Fantini rider.

  44. 1416: 
    Rob Hayles in front of a snowdrift

    I'm not sure Si Clancy's latest photo does enough justice to the amount of snow on the climb. He informs me that former British cyclist and current BBC commentator Rob Hayles is stood in front of a 20-foot high snowdrift.

  45. 1412: 

    Conditions appear to have deteriorated again at the summit finish - the mist has descended and snow is falling. I'm not sure how the race helicopters that we rely on for television pictures are going to fare as we get on the climb to Tre Cime de Lavaredo. The roads are well gritted and remain clear for the cyclists and team cars though.

  46.  
    GET INVOLVED

    Mark Jones on Twitter: Cav was the winner yesterday but what will Evans focus on today, holding off Uran from 2nd spot or a big points gain on Cav? #bbccycling

  47. 1405: 

    Interesting choice of legwear in the peloton today - some braver than others in their lycra shorts while Nibali is among those favouring a full-length legging - who will be wisest come the highest point in this year's race in 58km? Vini Fantini's Stefano Garzelli, at 39 years old, the most senior rider in the race is not too old to help his team-mates as he nips back to his team car to stock up on pac-a-macs.

  48. 1400: 
    GET INVOLVED

    What have been your high and lowlights of this year's race? Has the bad weather spoiled or enhanced the racing? Is Nibali a deserving winner? Who has surprised or disappointed you? Will Mark Cavendish win the red points jersey? Tweet me your thoughts #bbccycling or text 81111 with Cycling at the front of your text and please remember to include your name otherwise I won't be able to use it.

  49. 1356:  
    Pink Jersey, Giro d'Italia leader

    Further down the mountain, the riders are snaking around the edge of a glacial lake. Race leader Nibali is up near the front of the peloton, flanked on all sides by members of his Astana team. He leads Cadel Evans by more than four minutes and knows that so long as he stays on his bike, the overall race victory is his:

    1. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita/Astana) 73:55:58"

    2. Cadel Evans (Aus/BMC Racing) +4:02"

    3. Rigoberto Uran (Col/Team Sky) +4:12"

    4. Michele Scarponi (Ita/Lampre) +5:14"

    5. Przemyslaw Niemiec (Pol/Lampre) +6:09"

  50. 1352: 

    Up at the top of Tre Cime, enthusiastic amateurs, who are taking on the final climb, cross the finish line as Italian army personnel, who have been drafted in, absent-mindedly toss a couple of snowballs around.

  51. 1349: 

    The riders are currently on a steady climb out of the valley. The conditions are dry and bright, but the peloton only has to look up into the mountains surrounding them to see the conditions to come. The Spanish-based Euskaltel team is pulling the main bunch along - no doubt racing for their climbing specialist Sammy Sanchez.

  52. 1346:  
    BBC Radio 5 live sports extra

    Si also told me that Simon Brotherton and Rob Hayles will be providing live commentary of the closing stages of today's race from 15:15 BST. The commentary will be available on the website only today because TMS cricket coverage has taken the 5 live sports extra slot.

  53. 1344: 
    The climb to Tre Cime de Lavaredo

    Television pictures from the finish are showing that the snow has abated, which will be a crumb of comfort to the riders. It's still cold though - BBC Radio 5 live's Si Clancy told me that it was -5C when they arrived just before mid-day. He then took the photo above of the final 200-300m of today's stage. I'd say that looks a little bleak.

  54. 1339:  
    Pink Jersey, Giro d'Italia leader

    The stage is well under way and four riders - Italian Giairo Ermetti of the Androni Giocattoli team, Katusha's Russian rider Pavel Brutt, Australian Adam Hansen of Lotto Belisol and Ukrainian Yaroslav Popovych of RadioShack have broken away from the main bunch and with 76km of the stage remaining are currently seven minutes clear of the peloton, which contains race leader Vincenzo Nibali.

  55. 1336: 
    Race route

    Giro race director Michele Acquarone is adamant that today's race will reach its scheduled conclusion at an altitude of 2,304m above sea level - although the route to get there has been somewhat altered with three big ascents removed from the course. The 210km stage follows the road through the valley instead and climbs steadily upwards throughout the day.

  56. 1332: 
    The finish at Tre Cime de Lavaredo The finish line being built a little earlier today

    Ciao and welcome to live text commentary of stage 20 of the 2013 Giro d'Italia, where conditions are not much better at the finish of today's stage at Tre Cime de Lavaredo - intrepid BBC trio Simon Brotherton, Rob Hayles and producer Si Clancy have made it to the end of the race but conditions are horrific, as their photo shows.

  57. 1330: 
    Passo del Tonale

    I think that photo tells you all you need to know about why Friday's stage 19 was cancelled.

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