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Giro d'Italia Stage 20: Michael Rogers wins stage, Nairo Quintana poised to win overall

Tinkoff-Saxo rider takes second stage of this year's race on the Zoncolan...

Michael Rogers of Tinkoff-Saxo has won his second stage of the 2014 Giro d'Italia and becomes the first breakaway rider to win on one of the most feared mountains in cycling, the Zoncolan. Nearly 5 minutes later, Nairo Quintana led second placed Rigoberto Uran of Omega Pharma-Quick Step  across the line, and barring mishap the 24-year-old Movistar rider will become the first Colombian to win the race tomorrow. Astana's Fabio Aru will complete the podium.

Rogers had attacked off the front of the break on the final climb in front of huge crowds together with Bardiani-CSF's Francesco Bongiorno, who was seeking the fourth stage win of the race for the Italian UCI Professional Continental team.

That he didn't achieve that was due in part to the actions of an over enthusiastic fan 3km from the finish, who gave Bongiorno a helpful push that turned out to be anything but that as the shove led to the Italian touching wheels with Rogers, almost coming off his bike and losing contact with the Australian.

Bongiorno would never get back across to the Tinkoff-Saxo rider and finished third on the stage, having been overhauled by Androni-Giocattoli's Franco Pellizotti ahead of the line, although it's impossible to say how much of the Baridiani-CSF rider fading away in the latter part of the climb was due to mental or physical factors.

Team Sky’s Dario Cataldo was one of the riders in today's break and although he had no chance of overhauling Trek Factory Racing’s Julian Arredondo at the top of the mountains classification, he did consolidate his second place on it by leading the break over the day’s first two climbs, the Passo del Pura and the Sella di Razzo.

An escape group got away early on during today’s 167km stage from Maniago, and heading onto the final 10km climb of the Zoncolan, with ramps up to 22 per cent in places, it had a lead of around seven and a half minutes on the group containing race leader Quintana.

Behind them a number of the riders towards the top of the general classification struggled on the climb, the first big name to crack being BMC Racing’s Cadel Evans.

By the halfway point of the ascent, three riders were out alone in front from that group – winner-in-waiting Quintana, his closest challenger Uran, and the latter’s Omega Pharma-Quick Step team mate, Wout Poels.

Team Sky’s Dario Cataldo was one of the riders in today's break and although he had no chance of overhauling Trek Factory Racing’s Julian Arredondo at the top of the mountains classification, he did consolidate his second place on it by leading the break over the day’s first two climbs, the Passo del Pura and the Sella di Razzo.

Rogers, also winner of Stage 11 of the race in Savona, said after today's victory: “At the meeting this morning, Bjarne Riis said he wanted 2 riders in the breakaway. I was the last to get in. Nico Roche did great work and we found ourselves at the foot of the Zoncolan with a good advantage, and I managed the situation from there.”

Referring to his attack on the Zoncolan, he went on: “I didn’t know anything about the time gaps. I had no information from the car, and they probably had limited information from race radio. It was a time trial to the top. It’s the first time I’ve ridden up the Zoncolan, so I didn’t know it. I tried to get everything out, riding out of the seat sometimes, which isn’t easy for me. In the last 100m I knew I had it, but not before.

“At the end of the day, winning is why we do it. You always aim to be the best that you can, and winning for me is still thrill. I enjoy also the working part, being part of a team, and with the experience I have I enjoy teaching a team that’s full of energy, that I’ve found here.

"But at the end of the day the thrill is still winning. From the moment you know you’re going to win to the moment you cross the finish line, that’s the pinnacle of the sport, whether it’s 5 km or 5 metres.

“Every win is beautiful, but today, with the climb of the Zoncolan, the stage enters the history of cycling and of the Giro d’Italia. These are the climbs - the Stelvio, the Gavia, the Zoncolan: the famous ones. I think every cyclist dreams of winning on these climbs.” 

Quintana and Uran (picture credit LaPresse)

Meanwhile, Quintana, who just needs to complete tomorrow's final stage safely to win the maglia rosa, said that choosing him to lead Movistar in the Giro "Iwas perhaps the best decision we could have taken. I’ve learned a great deal here: how to ride in different conditions, when I was ill, when I was wearing the maglia rosa… how to lead a team in  a 3 week tour. I’m very grateful to the Giro d’Italia.

“Today, it was a spectacular stage that added to my lead,in the maglia rosa which I won in a very difficult day when many didn’t want to see the beauty of the stage. This motivated me for the mountain time trial, when I demonstrated who I really am as a cyclist.

“Even today, I was a bit ill. during the stage, the mucus made be feel ill, the effort too. I suffer as much as the rest because I’m a human being like everyone else. My legs hurt, but I managed it well, and looked tranquil, but inside I felt the pain.”

Simon joined as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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jasecd | 10 years ago

I enjoyed watching Wout Poels pull the sunglasses off of the face of a fan and hurl them into the hedgerow but it's a shame that so many riders had to take issue with the fans encroaching - if you've got any knowledge or love for the sport then you just wouldn't get in the way like that.

I guess the Zoncalon is an extreme case due to the gradients slowing the riders so much but it was really too much at times. Hope the idiot who ruined Bongiorno's race got the justice of the crowd.

MartyMcCann | 10 years ago

Suggestion for GT organisers- a 5 second bonus for any rider who manages to lamp any of the idiots who run alongside them on climbs - and 7 sec if the fan is in fancy dress!

Hoester | 10 years ago

Who knows what would have happened. Not only did it ruin Bongiornos opportunity, even if he was fading, it took some of the shine off Mick Rogers' victory at the very least. Such a shame that stupidity of spectators is sharing top bill with the monumental efforts of various riders. Actions like this merely further jeopardise the intimacy that cycle sport has with its fans.

Beaufort | 10 years ago

Over-enthusiastic tool costs us the chance to see a big battle for the win. His face will be plastered all over the Gazzetta tomorrow..

CXR94Di2 replied to Beaufort | 10 years ago

Shame really, but seeing how he crumbled nearer to the finish, I think Rogers would of still won.

Quintana for the Giro barring accidents, the Colombians have had a cracking Giro.

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