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As it happened: Giro d'Italia stage 20 - dramatic last-minute triumph nets Roglic likely overall win


Hello and welcome to our live coverage of stage 20 of the Giro d'Italia!

This is the crunch stage of the 2023 Giro d'Italia. Come this evening, we'll know who's going to win overall and the shape of the GC will be decided. 

The current rankings of the overall classification looks like this:

GC Giro d'Italia pre stage 20

(Image credit: First Cycling)

First man off in roughly 10 minutes time will be Nicolas Dalla Valle (Corratec - Selle Italia). The race leader Geraint Thomas (Ineos Grenadiers) rolls down the start ramp at 1714 local time.

Given the logistical challenges of this particular time trial, which basically goes up the side of a house cunningly disguised as an Italian mountain, the TT has been split into three blocks, which that way will (hopefully) give the teams enough time to organise themselves.
The first 45 riders start at 11.30 local time, then block 2 starts at 1350 and block 3, which is the one that logically contains the most interest GC-wise, at 1605. Gaps between all riders are a minute, barring the top 15 on GC, who have three minute gaps. 

Countdown chants from the crowd, then Dalla Valle rolls down the start ramp. Stage 20 is officially underway.

For those looking for an excellent in-depth preview of the whole day of racing and its implications for the Giro d'Italia, you need look no further than my colleague Barry Ryan's article here: Giro d'Italia goes down to the wire at Monte Lussari - stage 20 preview

Much discussion too about exactly how the riders will tackle an 18 kilometre time trial which is so much a day of two parts, the pan flat approach to Monte Lussari and the jaw-droppingly difficult ascent that then follows.
The riders will almost certainly all use a TT bike in the first half, then move onto a regular bike for the rest of the stage. Many of these regular bikes will have adapted for the forbidding uphill slopes of the Monte Lussari. The usual zone for riders to change their bikes at the foot of the climb is in place.

This is what the riders face in the second half of the time trial. It kind of goes without saying that calculating your effort will be key.

Profile of the Monte Lussari climb for stage 20 of the 2023 Giro d'Italia

Profile of the Monte Lussari climb for stage 20 of the 2023 Giro d'Italia (Image credit: RCS Sport)

Checkpoints on the time trial are at kilometres 10.8km, 14.3 and 17.8. 

The weather is sunny for now, by the way, but as the riders know to their cost, in this year's Giro, that's no guarantee it will continue that way throughout.

No following cars are allowed on the climb, instead they can only go as far as the bike swapover zone at the foot of the Lussari, after which riders will be followed by a mechanic on a motorbike with spare wheels.   

It goes without saying that other major news is happening in the world of cycling right now outside the Giro, and here's our latest update on one of the biggest, courtesy of my colleague Kirsten Frattini, who spoke to the UCI president about their upcoming discussions on a key transgender policy.
UCI to weigh if transgender policy guarantees fair competition

Back in the Giro, the key battle today will be for the GC and in particular the top three. Geraint Thomas (Ineos Grenadiers) commands the overall ranking with a 26 -second advantage on closest pursuer Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) and 59 seconds on Joao Almeida (UAE Team Emirates). The next closest rider, Damiano Caruso (Bahrain Victorious) is at 4:11, so the overall victory will almost certainly decided between Thomas, Roglic and Almeida.
The million-dollar question is how much time can be won and lost on a course as challenging and unusual as this one, particularly when all three are such skilled time triallists. 

Much has been made pre-stage of how this particular TT will, or will not, lay the ghosts to rest of Roglic's 2020 defeat on a very similar course in the second last day of the Tour de France at La Planche des Belles Filles. The last rider to start as race leader, Roglic ended up losing the overall to compatriot Tadej Pogačar in one of the most memorable upsets in Grand Tours of recent years.
Roglic was spotted on the course this morning, incidentally, doing a recon of the time trial which will decide if he can finally secure his fourth Grand Tour win of his career and first in a Giro d'Italia.

Here's a Tweet courtesy of the race organisation of an early starter doing a bike change prior to going up the Lussari.

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While the first part of the Lussari course is very smooth and well surfaced, but early  shots of the first riders on the second half, the climb itself, show a course widely described as a goat-track. However, 'large bovine-track', if such a term existed, would probably be more accurate: it's narrow for the most part, but certainly not overly so, and the surface looks mainly to be some kind of rough, often ridged, cement. Mainly densely wooded terrain, it's not packed with fans throughout, but a lot of those present are from Slovenia, which is only a few kilometre away as the crow flies. No prizes for guessing which GC rider they'll be rooting for today.

Our colleagues at  report that the intermediate time split at km 14.3 has been shifted a kilometre up the mountain to km 15.3, due to internet coverage issues. The fastest rider there is Alberto Torres (Movistar) with a time of 41:09.

And the first riders have finally reached the top, with Nicolas Dalla Valle clocking a fastest time of 55:03. 

But Dalla Valle's time does not stand for long: Filippo Fiorelli (Green Project-Bardiani CSF-Faizanè) blasts through the finish in 50:35, nearly five minutes faster.

Points leader Jonathan Milan (Bahrain Victorious) finishes in a time of 55:39, waving one arm to boost the crowds' applause. Well out of the running today, along with most of the sprinters who have finished in this first block of 45 riders, his last chance will come tomorrow in Rome.

We have a new race leader for stage 20: Alex Kirsch (Trek-Segafredo) clocks a time of 50:33, two seconds better than Filippo Fiorelli (Green Project-Bardiani CSF-Faizanè).

However that next best time for Kirsch goes up in smoke in no time at all, twice! First Steve Williams (Bahrain Victorious) goes 17 seconds faster and then just a few minutes later, Arkea-Samsic racer Thibaut Guernalec roars home with the first time under 50 minutes: 48:35.

Pascal Ackermann (UAE Team Emirates) crosses the line, the last of the first block of riders is now done and dusted. Big grins from German sprinter, high-fives with the crowd and smiles as he crosses the line, already victorious in one bunch sprint and looking for another tomorrow.

There's now a break in proceedings until the next block of riders starts off at 1350. So hopefully Arkea-Samsic racer Thibaut Guernalec, currently in the hot seat having clocked a time of 48:35, has brought a book or something to while away the time - he's going to have a long old wait until the next rider reaches the finish.

Here's how things currently stand in the top five of the stage 20 rankings. But we have a long, long way to go yet:
1. Thibault Guernalec (Arkea-Samsic) 48:35
2. Steve Williams (Bahrain Victorious) at 1:41
3. Alex Kirsch (Trek-Segafredo) at 1:58
4. Filippo Fiorelli (Green Project-Bardiani) at 2:00
5. Jake Stewart (Groupama-FDJ) at 2:06

Less than ten minutes to go before wave 2 of today's participants in today's 18.6 kilometre TT sets off.

Despite there being an altitude gain of over 1,000 metres on the Lussari there's surprisingly little difference in temperature forecast between the foot of the climb and its summit. Organisers RCS said it would be sunny and 17°C at the start in Tarvisio, with cloud cover and 14°C at the summit. Wind just 13km in the valley and 11 kmh at the summit, but on a day like today, with most of the course in dense cloud cover, unless it was blowing a full gale or more, it was never likely to make a huge difference.

Racing resumes in stage 20 of the 2023 Giro d'Italia. Jose Joaquin Rojas (Movistar) is the first rider of wave 2 down the start ramp.

An atmospheric shot of fans packing the  uphill segment of the stage 20 course

Fans watch stage 20 of the 2023 Giro d'italia

(Image credit: Getty)

Another great image of the time trial's uphill section

Stage 20 of the 2023 Giro d'Italia

Stage 20 of the 2023 Giro d'Italia (Image credit: Getty)

A wave at the crowd from Michael Matthews (Jayco-AIUIa) before the Australian sets off. He's had a great Giro, claiming a stage victory in the first week.

Another 2023 Giro d'Italia stage winner, Magnus Cort Nielsen (EF Education-EasyPost) heads down the start ramp and away.

Jasha Sutterlin (Bahrain Victorious) has clocked the new fastest time for the first, flat, part of the course, 33 seconds ahead of Sebastian Berwick (Israel-Premier Tech).

American Will Barta rolls down the start ramp. Barta came within a whisker of winning a severely difficult uphill TT in the Vuelta a España back in 2020 behind a certain Primoz Roglic, and it'll be interesting to see how the Movistar man fares today.

A spectacular picture of the atmosphere close to the summit of Monte Lussari during today's stage 20.

Stage 20 of the Giro d'Italia at Monte Lussari

(Image credit: Getty )

Dutch National TT champion Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo) rolls down the start ramp.

Irish National TT Champion Ben Healy (EF Education-EF EasyPost) clocks the new fastest time for the first segment of the time trial, 13 seconds faster than Jasha Sutterlin (Bahrain Victorious).

And now Will Barta has clocked the best time for the first segment, 22 seconds faster than Healy.

And here's a picture of one of the support motorbikes on the climb. Team cars, don't forget, are not allowed on the climb, meaning sports directors and mechanics are climbing on the back of organisation motorbikes to follow their riders.

Motorbike support for riders on stage 20's uphill time trial of the 2023 Giro d'Italia

(Image credit: Getty)

Tom Gloag (Jumbo-Visma) all but completes a spectacular Giro d'Italia for a rider who began the race in the most unexpected of circumstances, being parachuted in at the last minute after teammate Jan Tratnik crashed out injured the day before the race. Whipping up applause from the fans at the summit and, despite his celebrations, Gloag crosses the line just 13 seconds slower than the current best time for the TT of 48:35 for Thibault Guernalec (Arkea-Samsic), in second place. Gloag's compatriot  Steve Williams (Bahrain-Victorious) still in third at 50:16.

Thibault Guernalec's long spell in the hot seat is over as Thomas Champion (Cofidis) takes over from his compatriot as the new best time, clocking a 19 second advantage over the Arkea-Samsic man. 

Amazing images today of the crowds and here's another one of Pascal Ackermann (UAE Team Emirates) as he reaches the stage 20 finish. 

Pascal Ackermann completes stage 20 of the 2023 Giro d'Italia

Pascal Ackermann completes stage 20 of the 2023 Giro d'Italia (Image credit: Getty)

The shocked look on Thomas Champion's face says it all as he watches Matthew Riccitello (Israel-Premier Tech) annihilate his time, 1:57 better than the Frenchman for the stage. New best time: 46:19.

Ben Healy comes home with a fine time of 48:25, but despite putting him inside the provisional top five, it's nowhere near Riccitello's current best.

Another great view of the race

A sweeping view of the route of the stage 20 time trial of the 2023 Giro d'Italia

A magnificent view of the stage 20 time trial of the 2023 Giro d'Italia (Image credit: Getty)

The last three riders of wave 2, Larry Warbasse (AG2R-Citroën), Alessandro Tonelli  (Green Project-Bardiani CSF Faizané), Edoardo Zambanini (Bahrain Victorious) complete the course. None of them have come near Riccitello's best time.

We now have another short break until Bob Jungels (Bora-Hansgrohe) kicks off the third and final wave at 1605.

What goes up...EF Education-Easy Post riders Ben Healy and Magnus Cort on their way off the mountain

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The stage 20 start times of the top 10 riders in the current 2023 Giro d'Italia GC

Stage 20 start times for the top 10 on GC in the 2023 Giro

(Image credit: Cyclingnews)

Ok, here we go. 40 riders left to go on this crucial stage 20 and Bob Jungels (Bora-Hansgrohe) is the first down the start ramp in the third and final wave of riders.

Now it's Rohan Dennis (Jumbo-Visma) turn to get underway. As a former World TT Champion his performance is always bound to generate interest.

Dennis' compatriot and current Australian National TT Champion Jay Vine (UAE Team Emirates) is the next to start.

Riders are starting every minute, until the top 15, who leave at every three. Sepp Kuss (Jumbo-Visma) will be the first to leave with a three-minute gap, following former Giro d'Italia leader Bruno Armirail (Groupama-FDJ).

Joe Dombroski (Astana Qazaqstan) during the stage 20 time trial

Joe Dombrowski during the stage 20 time trial

(Image credit: Getty)

Jay Vine (UAE Team Emirates) knocks nine seconds off Will Barta's fastest time on the opening segment of the course.

Meanwhile elsewhere on Planet Cycling:

RideLondon Classique: Chloé Dygert wins stage 2 as Charlotte Kool crashes in final kilometre

Another national TT champion, Bruno Armirail (Groupama-FDJ) has started his race.

Ilan Van Wilder (Soudal-QuickStep), one of two riders left in the team, begins stage 20. The enforced absence of Remco Evenepoel after he went down with COVID-19 leaves all sorts of questionmarks as to what he could have achieved had he been able to stay here, and probably one of the biggest is what a time trialling expert like Evenepoel would have done on today's course.

Yesterday's stage winner Santiago Buitrago (Bahrain Victorious) hits the road. There will be no pressure whatsoever on the Colombian after his stunning win at Tre Cime di Lavaredo, but seeing how he fares on such a climb-heavy course will be intriguing.

And the first thing to happen to Buitrago on stage 20 is far from ideal. A dropped chain sees him forced to stop briefly, but then he's off and running again.

Jay Vine continues to pick up another best time out on the course. At checkpoint two,  he's still 10 seconds faster than everybody else, including the man currently in the hotseat, Matthew Riccitello (Israel-Premier Tech).

Ten riders left to go now on in the time trial. Laurens De Plus (Ineos Grenadiers), a key domestique on the 2023 Giro climbs for Geraint Thomas, rolls down the start ramp.

Brandon McNulty (UAE Team Emirates) smashes through team-mate Vine's best time at checkpoint 2, 24 seconds better.

Bauke Mollema on the final part of the climb

Bauke Mollema during stage 20 of the 2023 Giro d'Italia

Bauke Mollema during stage 20 of the 2023 Giro d'Italia (Image credit: Getty)

A quick reminder of the top 10 overall and the time gaps. The key changes are at the top but there could be plenty more in this year's race.

GC Giro d'Italia pre stage 20

(Image credit: First Cycling)

Jay Vine (UAE Team Emirates) snatches the stage lead by three seconds over Matthew Riccitello (Israel-Premier Tech).

Thymen Arensman, Ineos Grenadiers second of three riders in the top 10, rolls down the start ramp. The 2023 Giro d'Italia been an exceptionally promising performance by the young Dutchman and who knows, given his time trialling capabilities and being free of domestique duties, what he could achieve today.

Vine's time at the top of the standings is so brief it's over almost before it's begun: Brandon McNulty (UAE Team Emirates) knocks a massive 46 seconds off his teammate's time to take command of the provisional rankings.

Eddie Dunbar (Jayco-AIUIa) rolls down the ramp. Regardless of what he achieves today, the 2023 Giro d'Italia represents a massive breakthrough for the Irishman.

And we're into the final three now. Joao Almeida (UAE Team Emirates) is now en route.

A friendly fist bump between Primoz Roglic and Geraint Thomas as they wait their turn at the start. 

Roglic is off. 26 seconds between himself and Thomas on GC and everything to play for...

The last man to start, Geraint Thomas (Ineos Grenadiers) is on the ramp and ready to go. Could he be less than an hour from winning the Giro d'Italia?

Thomas powers smoothly through the first corners, looking very comfortable. But he's still got all the challenges to come.

Wow. Is Sepp Kuss en route to his first ever Giro stage win? Kuss has just flashed across the line two seconds quicker than his compatriot Brandon McNulty.

That's three US riders in the top four right now - Kuss, McNulty and Riccitello.

Whisper it, but we've haven't seen a drop of rain yet today. Fingers crossed.

Fastest time at the first checkpoint for Almeida. Three seconds faster than Damiano Caruso.

A smooth bike change for Primoz Roglic,  and he's off again.

And now Roglic is four seconds faster than Almeida at checkpoint one. 

A calm change of both helmet and bike for Geraint Thomas. 

Roglic is getting massive support from the Slovenian crowds on the climb. The noise is deafening.

Thomas is two seconds slower than Roglic at checkpoint one and two seconds faster than Almeida. The Giro is still hanging in the balance.

There's an unofficial gap of four seconds in favour of Roglic for now.

Laurens De Plus (Ineos Grenadiers) comes home with a fine time of 46:27, in fifth place on the stage for now.

Roglic is keeping a steady pace, pushing hard on the pedals for now. But it's the final kilometres that will count.

Andres Leknessund (DSM), former Giro d'Italia leader, takes an excellent third place, just 44 seconds down on current stage leader Sepp Kuss (Jumbo-Visma).

Arensman heads over the finish for a superb time of 45:41, just 13 seconds slower than stage winner Sepp Kuss.

Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ) has delivered a massive surprise, beating Kuss' time by six seconds!

Roglic smashes Kuss best time at checkpoint two by 32 seconds. The gap is stretching: Thomas is now 13-15 seconds behind according to unofficial estimates. This is turning into a nailbiter.

Roglic has just had to have a bike change!!

Roglic's chain has come off and he's lost time before getting the bike change. A big blow to morale but he's battling back.

The crunch question number one now is how much time did Roglic lose, and  crunch question number two, how big a blow was it to his morale?

Damiano Caruso has just bettered Pinot's time by four seconds.

Now it's Almeida's turn to finish, and he's going to smash 13 seconds off Caruso's time. His podium place is safe. Just two riders to go. 

Roglic is 15 seconds ahead of Thomas.

Roglic is flying down the last short descent and is heading towards a stage win.

He's 42 seconds faster than Almeida and the stage winner in all but name.

Thomas is now into the last kilometre.

Thomas is apparently 34 seconds down on Roglic.

Thomas is digging very deep now.

He's 40 seconds down at the line. Primoz Roglic is the stage winner and poised to win the Giro d'Italia! 

Primoz Roglic wins stage 20 of the Giro d'Italia, despite the mechanical.

A huge hug between Primoz Roglic and his teammates. He's en route to his fourth Grand Tour victory.

Here's the stage result that tell you everything you need to know, as Roglic puts the ghosts of the 2020 Tour final time trial to rest with a vengeance.

2023 Giro d'Italia stage 20 top 10

(Image credit: First Cycling)

And the overall now looks like this, in one of the most dramatic last-minute turnarounds we've seen in recent Grand Tour history.

GC Giro d'Italia after stage 20 of the 2023 race

(Image credit: First Cycling)

Some words from Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma), barring absolute disaster, now 24 hours away from claiming his first Giro d'Italia by just 14 seconds over Geraint Thomas.
"Amazing, eh? It's not at the end about the win itself, it's about the people, the energy, incredible, moments to live and to remember."
As for what happened on the climb, with that mechanical, Roglic said "I dropped the chain, that's part of it. But I got started again and I just went."
"For sure you don't want these things to happen, but I could put the chain back on and restart. I mean, I had the legs, the people gave me extra Watts, so we're just trying, we're enjoying."
As for the final stage, perhaps understandably given his rollercoaster track record in Grand Tours, Roglic is playing it cautiously. "One more day to go, one more focus, because I think the lap is quite technical. So it's not over til it's finished. But yeah, it looks good."

The photo that says it all as Primoz Roglic powers to victory on stage 20 of the 2023 Giro d'Italia. It's his fourth stage in the Giro of his career, curiously enough all in time trials, but it's surely the most important by a long way.

Primoz Roglic powers to victory on stage 20 of 2023 Giro d'Italia

Primoz Roglic powers to victory on stage 20 of 2023 Giro d'Italia (Image credit: Getty)

The other side of the coin as Geraint Thomas sees his dreams of a second Grand Tour victory fade at the last possible moment. By just 14 seconds.

Geraint Thomas after stage 20 of the 2023 Giro d'Italia

Geraint Thomas after stage 20 of the 2023 Giro d'Italia (Image credit: Getty )

Our report on stage 20, complete with a gallery of pictures on one of the most memorable days in recent Grand Tour cycling history, can be found here:

Giro d'Italia: Primoz Roglic poised for overall victory with stage 20 mountain time trial win

And here's the photo of Roglic, back in the maglia rosa for the first time since 2019. Third overall four years ago, and that was before he'd won any Grand Tours at all, he'll more than likely go two better on Sunday in Rome.

Primoz Roglic in pink after winning stage 20 of the 2023 Giro d'Italia

Primoz Roglic in pink after winning stage 20 of the 2023 Giro d'Italia (Image credit: Getty )

Some very sporting words from Geraint Thomas to our colleagues at Eurosport, all but certain to finish second overall after coming so close to a second Grand Tour victory and becoming, at 37 the Giro's oldest-ever winner.
"I could feel my legs going at a k and a half, from the top of that climb, and I guess it's nice to lose by that much, it would have been worse to lose by a second or two. At least he smashed me."
"To be honest, Primoz deserved it. He had a mechanical, but he put 40 seconds into me, so chapeau to him."
"If you had told me this back in March, I would have bit your hand off, but now I'm devastated. But with the season I've had up to now, I can be proud of that."
"I'm gutted for the boys, they've worked so hard, so it's another second place in the Giro for me."

A closer look at how the Giro's GC standings changed so dramatically in the last possible day of racing can found here:
Giro d'Italia stage 20 GC standings: Primoz Roglic takes the maglia rosa

The riders now have to face one more stage, the 126-kilometre, largely ceremonial stage starting and finishing in Rome, prior to the end of the Giro d’Italia. Totally flat, it is seemingly nailed on for a bunch sprint.

That wraps it up for live today from the Giro d'Italia, after one of its most dramatic days in recent race history. We'll be back on Sunday with one final live report from the 2023 edition.

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