With only a flat stage into Milan awaiting the peloton, the Giro seemed like it would end without surprises, Alberto Contador taking the maglia rosa and one of the few sprinters that finished the race taking the stage. But, race organizers made it a tricky stage for the sprinters' teams with seven circuits of a short, technical circuit in downtown Milan. The tight roads and constant corners made the 5 kilometer circuit feel almost like a criterium and prompted an attack some 30 kilometers from the finish by Etixx-Quickstep's Iljo Keisse and Orica-GreenEDGE's Luke Durbridge.
The duo could hardly be more suited for an escape on a circuit like this with Durbridge's substantial time trial pedigree and Keisse's background as a renown six day rider on the track giving him the ability to punch out of corner after corner. The duo rotated smoothly and quickly grew a gap as Saxo-Tinkoff declined to chase in earnest and the teams of the remaining sprinters - namely Giant-Alpecin, Lampre Merida, and Trek Factory Racing, bluffed, trying to get others to chase early. By the time the chase started in earnest, the duo had a significant advantage.
On a normal flat stage with a non-technical run to the finish on mostly wide roads, the 35 second gap that Durbridge and Keisse held with 6 kilometers to go would not be enough to hold off the charge from behind. But, the two bombed corners that disrupted the chase behind, losing little time and entering the final kilometer with almost 30 seconds in hand. Durbridge tried to make Keisse catch as much wind as possible in the final kilometer by swerving back and forth across the road, but he had little chance once they opened up their sprints inside the final 200 meters. Keisse came by quickly and was able to sit up and celebrate well before the line. But, there seemed to be little bad blood between the duo as they gave each other congratulatory hugs immediately after the finish.