Nibali emerges out of the snow a Giro-winner

Fotoreporter Sirotti

The wintery conditions forced the Giro to reduce the grand Dolomite-stage to one decisive final climb to the iconic Tre Cime di Lavaredo. Vinceno Nibali seized the opportunity to establish himself as the race's supreme champion by attacking early on the brutally steep climb and taking the stage victory.

Behind the stand-out winner a couple of duels played out as the road got steeper and steeper and the snowfall heavier and heavier. Rigoberto Uran tried his best to keep Nibali in his sights and as he did so he slipped away from Cadel Evans and the chase then turned into an attack on the aussie's second place. Evans fought in his characteristic style but had to surrender in the end to the little Colombian who managed to hold the Sky-flag high after Wiggins' sad exit from the race. With him all the way up the climb was his compatriot Betancur who had also managed to escape his White Jersey competitor Rafal Majka. Betancur who had suffered mechanical problems earlier on the stage in the end proved to be the worthy winner of the jersey and one of the breakout performances of the race along with his fierce competitor Majka.

The finish to Tre Cime turned out every bit as spectacular as promised even if the stage was reduced by all but the final climb to avoid the snow, closed passes and dangerous descents of what was supposed to be the quintessential Dolomite stage. Fierce steep gradients saw the riders slowly crawl the final kilometers. As they closed in on on what was now the Cima Coppi, the highest point in the race, the snowfall turned worse and worse and the finishing images of Nibali winning in blizzard-like conditions will remain the ones we will remember from this Giro d'Italia. With his wins in both the decisive final stages there can be little doubt that the sicilian was the worthy winner of this edition.

The stage win also propelled Nibali into the lead in the MagliaRosso Passione points competition over Mark Cavendish. Cavendish should take the jersey again tomorrow with a"normal" performance in the final stage sprint. The motivation for Cav is there as it would mean he has won the points competition in all three Grand Tours. The clmbers jersey is secure on Bardiani's Stefano Pirazzi and Carlos Betancur has the young rider jersey locked up too.

Top 10 stage 20:

  1. Vincenzo Nibali 5:27:41
  2. Fabio Duarte + 17 sec
  3. Rigoberto Uran + 19
  4. Carlos Betancur + 21
  5. Fabio Aru + 44
  6. Franco Pellizotti + 48
  7. Domenico Pozzovivo + 54
  8. Damiano Caruso + 58
  9. Darwin Atapuma + 1 min
  10. Rafal Majka + 1:04
Top 10 GC
  1. Nibali
  2. Uran +4:43
  3. Evans + 5.52
  4. Scarponi + 6.48
  5. Betancur 7.28
  6. Niemec 7.43
  7. Majka 8.09
  8. Intxausti 10.26
  9. Santambrogio 10.32
  10. Pozzovivo 10.59
Points competition
  1. Nibali 128 p
  2. Cavendish 117 p
  3. Evans 111 p

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