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Sunday, May 28, 2023

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2022 Tour de France | 2022 Giro d'Italia

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Giro d'Italia stage twenty reports

We posted the report from Geraint Thomas' Team INEOS Grenadiers with the results.

Stage winner and new GC leader Primoz Roglic's Team Jumbo-Visma posted this report:

Primoz Roglic turned the Giro d'Italia on its head on the penultimate day of the Italian cycling race. The Slovenian crushed the competition in a climbing time trial on Monte Lussari to win the stage and take the pink leader's jersey from Geraint Thomas. Tomorrow, Roglic will win the final classification of a grand tour for the fourth time.

Primoz Roglic will take his pink jersey to Rome for the final stage. Sirotti photo

Roglic started his time trial relaxed. The leader of Team Jumbo-Visma then set the fastest time of all time trials on his way to victory. The Slovenian started the day 26 seconds behind but seemed to catch up on the climb. The crowd of primarily Slovenian cycling fans cheered in support of Roglic.

But fans briefly held their breath when he suffered a shifting issue and was forced off the bike. The delay seemed to shatter the 33-year-old rider's dream. However, Roglic did not despair and continued stoically on his way. At the finish line, the Slovenian appeared to be forty seconds ahead of Thomas. As a result, Roglic took the pink leader's jersey with a fourteen-second lead.

"I don't have words for it yet", Roglic stammered shortly after securing his eighth victory of the season. "This is what it's all about. Giving up is out of the question as long as there is a glimmer of hope. We saw that again today. Sometimes you lose, and sometimes you win. Today, we came out on top. I wanted to make the people here and all the fans around the world proud. That was my main goal today. Hopefully, I was able to do that. I am super proud and happy. We put all our energy into this fight and enjoyed every metre. It's special that it all came together in this beautiful place. It feels like home to me. I spent my whole childhood just a stone's throw from here."

Roglic claimed that amid his mechanical issues, not much crossed his mind. "I didn't think about giving up for a moment. These things happen in cycling. I kept my cool and put the chain back on. I regained my pace and went all out to the line. In the end, that was enough for this great result. A lot happened on the way to this victory. I never gave up and was surrounded by the right people; we achieved this wonderful result together. Today, I had the strength in my legs to finish it off. The fans were incredible. This is a day I will remember for the rest of my life", an emotional Roglic said.

"We have been working for this day in and day out for a very long time", a proud sports director Marc Reef said. "It was an incredible ride - a rollercoaster of emotions. Primoz was confident the whole day. During his race against the clock, we had little information about intermediate times. The finish was bizarrely exciting. We always believed in our abilities, but the competition was fierce. For Primoz to pull this off after all the setbacks is incredible. Congratulations to the whole team. Experiencing this success up close in these beautiful conditions with a sea of enthusiastic cycling fans is remarkable. The fans made a difference today. They gave Primoz such a boost that his feat could finally become a reality."

Roglic's time trial victory marks the 28th victory of the cycling season for Team Jumbo-Visma.

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Here's the report from third-place Joao Almeida's UAE Team Emirates:

In a thrilling display of individual prowess and determination, the Giro d’Italia stage 20 took the riders on a challenging time trial from Tarvisio to Monte Lussari (18.6km). The stage promised to be a true test of strength and strategy, as the riders battled against the clock and the unforgiving terrain.

Joao Almeida riding to third place. Sirotti photo

Joao Almeida, who had already showcased his exceptional climbing skills throughout the Giro d’Italia, was eager to prove his prowess against the clock and came home in third place with a time of 45’05’’.

With focused intensity, Almeida powered through the initial kilometers, setting a blistering pace. As the stage progressed, it became clear that Almeida was putting in a strong performance to build on the good early times set by Jay Vine and later Brandon McNulty who were 10th and 7th on the day respectively.

Crossing the finish line, Almeida’s face was etched with a mix of exhaustion and satisfaction. He had given his all in the time trial, leaving nothing behind on the road. As he caught his breath, the realization of his remarkable achievement sank in. Almeida had secured an impressive third place finish in the stage won by Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma), cementing his position among the Giro d’Italia’s elite riders.

With just one stage remaining in the Giro d’Italia, Almeida’s podium finish on stage 20 all but assured his step on the podium tomorrow in Rome and victory in the young riders classification.

Almeida: “I was feeling good, especially in the end. I was happy with my effort and with the result. The other two guys were stronger and Primoz deserved to win the race so congratulations to him. As a rider I keep improving a bit every year so I’m very satisfied with my Giro and the way things are going.”

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Here's the Giro report from Andreas Leknessund's Team DSM:

The penultimate stage of the Giro d’Italia saw the climbers and GC riders come to the fore with an 18 kilometre time trial that finished with the brutally steep Monte Lussari climb, which included an almost five kilometre section at an eye-watering 15 percent in gradient. Due to the logistical challenge of the narrow climb and lack of space at the finish, the riders set off in three waves. Alberto Dainese, Niklas Märkl, Jonas Iversby Hvideberg and Marius Mayrhofer all went off in either the first or second wave and finished their time trial efforts safely within the time limit.

Andreas Leknessund riding to ninth place. Sirotti photo

All eyes were on Andreas Leknessund who went into the day sitting ninth on GC, with Team DSM and the Norwegian looking to cement their place in the overall standings and potentially move even further up. Rolling down the start ramp and riding a good place on the flat section, Leknessund’s bike change went smoothly and he transitioned over to his road bike to take on the climb. Following a good pacing plan set by the team, he continued to stamp on the pedals on the steep ramps; crossing the line with a time of 46 minutes and 12 seconds. It was an effort that would see Leknessund take ninth place on the stage once the dust had settled, and move up in GC to eighth place for Team DSM, agonisingly just one second behind Dunbar who sits in seventh.

Tomorrow sees the peloton take on the processional entry into Rome before the sprinters come to the fore, where there is one more chance at stage glory on offer.

Speaking at the finish Leknessund said: “I came to the Giro with no expectations, I just wanted to race on the attack and get through the race in a good way. Then on stage four getting the pink jersey which was incredible, and since then turning that into riding for the GC, which wasn’t the original plan, and I for sure didn’t expect that it was possible. It’s been a tough three weeks but also really nice with the team here. To finish with a top ten, considering everything and my expectations before the Giro, it is hard to describe; I’m really happy.”

Team DSM coach Matt Winston added: “It was a really good for us. To come top ten on a stage like that is a credit to Andreas and the hard work he has put in, but also all our staff at the race and those back at HQ who have worked hard to make sure everything was prepared in a good way to achieve a result like this. Perfect equipment, perfect preparation and to come top ten in a stage like that is really nice, and to secure a top ten GC overall in a good way. I’m really happy. We go to Rome now, and we still have a job to do there tomorrow with our sprint guys.”

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And here's the Giro stage 20 report from Ilan Van Wilder's Team Soudal Quick-Step:

Saturday scheduled the penultimate stage of the race – incidentally, one of the toughest individual time trials in history, an 18.6km effort featuring the brutal climb of Monte Lussari. Five kilometers in length and boasting an insane 15.3% average gradient, this feared ascent ended up playing a decisive role in the outcome of the Giro d’Italia, as well as producing some significant chances in the upper echelon of the general classification.

One of these had in the spotlight Soudal Quick-Step’s Ilan Van Wilder, who turned out the time trial of his career so far. The Belgian had a fast start, which put him in the top five at the first checkpoint, and continued in the same vein, averaging a solid 24km/h and stopping the clock in 46:20. The result he scored at the end of the stage which was won by Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) elevated him one place in the standings, up to 12th, ahead of the final stage to Rome, one for the sprinters.

Ilan Van Wilder riding to 13th place. Sirotti photo

“It has been a very hard Giro d’Italia for us, we had a lot of bad luck and many setbacks after a great start, but we continued to fight and showed that we remain a Wolfpack even with two guys left in the race. I had pretty strong legs on this stage and did my best on a course that I didn’t really like, because the climb was too steep for me. To finish this time trial just outside the top 10 and gain a position in the GC made for quite a good day”, a smiling Ilan said.

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