The GC after Stage 20:
1 Joaquim Rodriguez Oliver (Spa) Katusha Team 91:04:16
2 Ryder Hesjedal (Can) Garmin - Barracuda 0:00:31 (lost 14 seconds today to Rodriguez)
3 Michele Scarponi (Ita) Lampre - ISD 0:01:51 (lost 12 seconds today to Rodriguez)
4 Thomas De Gendt (Bel) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team 0:02:18 (moved from 8th to 4th place)
5 Ivan Basso (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale 0:03:18 (lost 1'33" today to Rodriguez, 5th from 4th place)
6 Damiano Cunego (Ita) Lampre - ISD 0:03:43
7 Rigoberto Uran Uran (Col) Sky Procycling 0:04:52
8 Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) Colnago - CSF Inox 0:05:47
9 Mikel Nieve Ituralde (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi 0:05:56
10 John Gadret (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 0:06:43
"I am really very happy to be able to win on a legendary mountain such as the Passo dello Stelvio," said De Gendt. "All the strongest riders in the history of cycling have won here. I hope it's a good sign for me because I believe I have a future in stage races."
De Gendt continued, "When I went on the attack on the Mortirolo my only thought was to start the final climb with enough of an advantage to keep my eighth place overall. Then when I was three minutes ahead (of the GC leaders)on the Stelvio, and Cunego was more than a minute behind me, I started thinking about the stage victory. I know the Stelvio very well, I have trained there for six years. I've climbed it 20 or 30 times, it's practically home. To be honest, I never thought of being able to win the Maglia Rosa at the end because I knew that my time advantaged would be decreased. I am very happy with fourth in the standings and that tomorrow could afford me an opportunity to get on the podium. I think Hesjedal will win the Giro d'Italia because he is only 31 seconds behind Rodriguez and he is much stronger in the time trial than Rodriguez."
It should be noted that De Gent is also an excellent time trialist. In Stage 20, 42.5 km, of the 2011 Tour de France De Gent was 4th:
1. Tony Martin (Ger - HTC-Highroad) 55 minutes 33 seconds
2. Cadel Evans (Aus - BMC Racing) at 7secs
3. Alberto Contador (Spa - Saxo Bank-SunGard) at 1min 5secs
4. Thomas de Gendt (Bel - Vacansoleil-DCM) 1min 28secs
Rodriguez: "Today we did not work because I wanted to put Hesjedal's team under stress. I think he struggled a lot but nevertheless he had a good stage. I have 2 minutes and 10 seconds on De Gendt in the overall standings but he did a lot of hard work today. Tomorrow I have to go to war with myself and lose the least time possible and hope for a miracle to be able to win this Giro d'Italia. The last time trial of the Giro is not like the first; Sebastian Webber, my trainer, has studied the route and told me that with all the turns that it is suitable for my characteristics."
Hesjedal: "I'm gonna give everything tomorrow."
Basso: "A bad day, to add to yesterday. No, it didn't go at all as I expected, and on Mortirolo I already realized how it would finish. I can only give my compliments to those who raced better than me".
Highlights of Stage 20:
Maglia Rosa – GC: Joaquin Rodriguez (Katusha)
Maglia Rossa – Points Classification: Joaquin Rodriguez (Katusha)
Maglia Bianca – Best Young Rider Classification: Rigoberto Uran Uran (Sky Procycling)
Maglia Azzurra – KoM: Matteo Rabottini (Farnese Vini Selle Italia)
Tomorrow, the last stage: details previously published here. Who will win? A must watch!
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