Tao Geoghegan Hart claimed a remarkable victory at the Giro d'Italia on a sublime final Sunday for INEOS Grenadiers. 

Geoghegan Hart had been set to play a supporting role to Geraint Thomas in Italy until the 2018 Tour de France champion suffered a fractured pelvis early in the race. 

INEOS were without a number of their other big names amid a packed Grand Tour schedule due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

Last year's Tour de France winner Egan Bernal and defending Giro champ Richard Carapaz targeted the Paris event, while the departing Chris Froome - a seven-time winner across all three elite events - entered the Vuelta a Espana. 

That left Geoghegan Hart to take centre stage, but he thrived at the Giro to seize a share of the lead with Australia's Jai Hindley heading into the 21st and final stage. 

It was the first time in Giro history two riders had been tied heading into the time trial, a 15.7-kilometre ride in Milan. 

But Geoghegan Hart ultimately rode to a comfortable victory, finishing 39 seconds clear of his direct rival with a time of 18 minutes and 14 seconds.

"Not in my wildest dreams did I imagine this would be possible when we started out in Sicily almost a month ago," said Geoghegan Hart, who became the fifth British Grand Tour winner. 

"All my career I've dreamt of trying to be top 10, top five maybe, in a race of this stature, so this is something completely and utterly different to that. 

"I think it's going to take a long time for this to sink in." 

INEOS' success did not end there, though, as heavy favourite and time trial world champion Filippo Ganna won the stage in 17:16. 

Ganna, making his Grand Tour debut, claimed his fourth stage victory of the Giro after blowing away Victor Campenaerts' early benchmark of 17:48, which remained enough for second place. 


STAGE RESULT 

1. Filippo Ganna (INEOS Grenadiers) 17:16
2. Victor Campenaerts (NTT Pro Cycling) +00:32
3. Rohan Dennis (INEOS Grenadiers) +00:32
4. Joao Almeida (Deceuninck-Quick-Step) +00:41
5. Miles Scotson (Groupama-FDJ) +00:41

CLASSIFICATION STANDINGS

General Classification

1. Tao Geoghegan Hart (INEOS Grenadiers) 85:40:21
2. Jai Hindley (Team Sunweb) +00:39
3. Wilco Kelderman (Team Sunweb) +01:29

Points Classification

1. Arnaud Demare (Groupama-FDJ) 233
2. Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) 184
3. Joao Almeida (Deceuninck-Quick-Step) 108

King of the Mountains

1. Ruben Guerreiro (EF Pro Cycling) 234
2. Tao Geoghegan Hart (INEOS Grenadiers) 157
3. Thomas De Gendt (Lotto-Soudal) 122

Tao Geoghegan Hart and Jai Hindley will look to make every second count in Sunday's decisive individual time trial after a gripping penultimate stage of the Giro d'Italia. 

The battle for General Classification glory looks to have come down to a two-man test of speed and nerve over 15.7 kilometres on a flat road from Cernusco sul Naviglio to Milan, after previous leader Wilco Kelderman drifted off the pace on stage 20. 

At the end of Saturday's 190-kilometre ride from Alba, INEOS Grenadiers rider Geoghegan Hart and Team Sunweb's Hindley scaled the climb to Sestriere for a third time and finished almost neck and neck. 

Englishman Geoghegan Hart pulled narrowly clear over the final metres, but Australian rival Hindley will start in the maglia rosa on Sunday, albeit with both riders on the same cumulative time - 85 hours, 22 minutes and seven seconds. 

Kelderman, a team-mate of Hindley, finished a minute and 35 seconds off the pace set by the front two, who broke free on the final ascent. 

The stage concluded with the unusual triple climb to Sestriere after French authorities earlier in the week insisted the race should be rerouted to avoid entering the country, amid concerns over roadside gatherings during the coronavirus pandemic. 

It meant the daunting Colle dell'Agnello, with a peak of 2,744 metres, was removed from the equation, along with the Col d'Izoard. 

A 21-rider breakaway held a seven-minute lead over the peloton at the halfway mark, but they were reeled in, with Geoghegan Hart's team-mate Rohan Dennis leading the assault. 

Kelderman could not find a response and would need an extraordinary performance on Sunday to get back in contention. 

Neither Hindley nor Geoghegan Hart has won a Grand Tour before, and this is their big chance. 

STAGE RESULT 

1. Tao Geoghegan Hart (INEOS Grenadiers) 04:52:45
2. Jai Hindley (Team Sunweb) +00:00
3. Rohan Dennis (INEOS Grenadiers) +00:25
4. Joao Almeida (Deceuninck-Quick-Step) +01:01
5. Andrea Vendrame (AG2R La Mondiale) +01:34

CLASSIFICATION STANDINGS

General Classification

1. Jai Hindley (Team Sunweb) 85:22:07
2. Tao Geoghegan Hart (INEOS Grenadiers) +00:00
3. Wilco Kelderman (Team Sunweb) +01:32

Points Classification

1. Arnaud Demare (Groupama-FDJ) 233
2. Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) 184
3. Joao Almeida (Deceuninck-Quick-Step) 101

King of the Mountains

1. Ruben Guerreiro (EF Pro Cycling) 234
2. Tao Geoghegan Hart (INEOS Grenadiers) 157
3. Thomas De Gendt (Lotto-Soudal) 122

WHAT'S NEXT?

They think it's all over, and it will be after Sunday's pancake-flat time trial from Cernusco sul Naviglio to Milan, with all eyes on the clock.

Josef Cerny won stage 19 of the Giro d'Italia after Friday's leg was shortened by more than 50 per cent following a protest from the peloton. 

The riders were set to contest the longest stage of the race following back-to-back mountain sections but after health concerns were raised they were transported from Morbegno to Abbiategrasso on buses, reducing the distance from 258 kilometres to 124km. 

Asti was expected to host a sprint finish at the end of a flat stage but maglia ciclamino contender Peter Sagan called off the chase of a 14-man breakaway after no one appeared willing to share the workload at the front of the peloton with his Bora-Hansgrohe team-mates. 

Victor Campenaerts forced a split at the front but Cerny pushed again with around 22km remaining and quickly established a lead of around 40 seconds. 

Cerny, who finished fifth in the time trial last Saturday, was able to go solo to secure a first Grand Tour stage win, with Campenaerts unable to close the gap late on. 

"The stage was definitely not [what I expected]. We were standing at the start line and the organiser said we can rest a little bit, it's very nice of him because we had the last three days really heavy, and it was a really hard day also today with the rain," said Cerny. 

"But I'm really happy. I was lucky in the breakaway and we were working together. And then in the final it was just who had better legs. I'm very happy. I still cannot believe it because it was so quick. It was incredible. I cannot describe it." 

Wilco Kelderman retained his grip on the maglia rosa with none of the General Classification contenders able to make in-roads on the short, flat route. 

Tao Geoghegan Hart tried to gain some valuable seconds in the final kilometre but was unable to force a split at the front of the peloton and remains 15 seconds adrift in third.

 

STAGE RESULT 

1. Josef Cerny (CCC Team) 02:30:40
2. Victor Campenaerts (NTT Pro Cycling) +00:18
3. Jacopo Mosca (Trek-Segafredo) +00:26
4. Simon Clarke (EF Pro Cycling) +00:26
5. Iljo Keisse (Deceuninck-Quick-Step) +00:26 

CLASSIFICATION STANDINGS 

General Classification    

1. Wilco Kelderman (Team Sunweb) 80:29:19
2. Jai Hindley (Team Sunweb) +00:12
3. Tao Geoghegan Hart (INEOS Grenadiers) +00:15 

Points Classification    

1. Arnaud Demare (Groupama-FDJ) 221
2. Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) 184
3. Joao Almeida (Deceuninck-Quick-Step) 94 

King of the Mountains    

1. Ruben Guerreiro (EF Pro Cycling) 234
2. Thomas De Gendt (Lotto-Soudal) 122
3. Tao Geoghegan Hart (INEOS Grenadiers) 115 

WHAT'S NEXT? 

The penultimate stage is a 190km ride across the Alps including 3,500 metres of vertical altitude gain, meaning there could be plenty of drama in the GC. 

Wilco Kelderman seized the maglia rosa from Joao Almeida after a memorable 18th stage of the Giro d'Italia was won by Jai Hindley to blow the race wide open.

The 207-kilometre route from Pinzolo to Laghi di Cancano provided drama aplenty, ending with a new race leader and a stage win for Hindley, who sits second in the General Classification, 12 seconds back from fellow Team Sunweb rider Kelderman.

The daunting Passo dello Stelvio was where the cracks showed for Almeida, the 25km climb to an altitude of 2,758 metres all but ending his hopes of glory as his 17-second advantage gave way to a deficit of over two minutes.

Almeida had described the slog up to the Giro's highest point as "great" before Thursday's stage, but he may take a different view after he was dropped with just under 50km to go, losing the virtual lead to Kelderman.

But the Dutchman was facing a battle to keep up with a leading group featuring Tao Geoghegan Hart, himself now firmly in the shake-up at 15 seconds off the GC leader.

The INEOS Grenadiers rider was joined at the front by Hindley and team-mate Rohan Dennis, who was in eye-catching form as he ascended the Cima Coppi.

It was a blistering pace that put paid to any chance Vincenzo Nibali had of triumphing as the veteran fell out of contention, even before the 21 hairpins heading towards the finish line at Laghi di Cancano.

With Dennis' race run, Geoghegan Hart and Hindley contested the sprint on an uphill finish and it was the Australian who crossed the line first to earn a time bonus that put him ahead of his British rival in riveting race now led by Kelderman.

STAGE RESULT

1. Jai Hindley (Team Sunweb) 06:03:03
2. Tao Geoghegan Hart (INEOS Grenadiers) +00:00
3. Pello Bilbao (Bahrain-McLaren) +00:46
4. Jakob Fuglsang (Astana Pro Team) +01:25
5. Wilco Kelderman (Team Sunweb) +02:18

CLASSIFICATION STANDINGS

General Classification  
1. Wilco Kelderman (Team Sunweb) 77:46:56
2. Jai Hindley (Team Sunweb) +00:12
3. Tao Geoghegan Hart (INEOS Grenadiers) +00:15

Points Classification  
1. Arnaud Demare (Groupama-FDJ) 221
2. Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) 184
3. Joao Almeida (Deceuninck-Quick-Step) 94

King of the Mountains  
1. Ruben Guerreiro (EF Pro Cycling) 234
2. Thomas De Gendt (Lotto-Soudal) 122
3. Tao Geoghegan Hart (INEOS Grenadiers) 115

WHAT'S NEXT?

Stage 19 largely spares the riders any further punishment on the climbing front, but they must still cover 258km from Morbegno to Asti. With a flat final 5km, this is one for the sprinters.

Ben O’Connor made up for his near miss the previous day with victory on Stage 17 of the Giro d'Italia, while Joao Almeida maintained his lead in the General Classification. 

O'Connor had finished second on Tuesday, unable to haul in Jan Tratnik in the closing stages of the journey from Udine to San Daniele del Friuli. 

However, the Australian would not be denied 24 hours later, leaving the rest of the breakaway group behind with just eight kilometres to go and impressively staying clear through to the finish line. 

"Yesterday it was so close and to pull off today in the mountains, I dreamed about. It means a lot," O'Connor said after the biggest stage win of his career to date. 

On the timing of the attack, he added: "I could see everyone was struggling at the time, there was no real pace between the guys and everyone was looking at each other, I felt good again and I thought, 'Why not?'.  

"The aim was just to win and I can't believe I've done it."

Herman Pernsteiner claimed second place, 31 seconds back of the winner, while Thomas De Gendt held off the challenge of Ilnur Zakarin to take third. 

As for the maglia rosa, Almeida remains 17 seconds clear of nearest rival Wilco Kelderman after neutralising the solitary attack from Team Sunweb during the course of the 203km-ride from Bassano del Grappa to Madonna di Campiglio, a journey that included four categorised climbs.

"Today they tried, but my feeling was good," Almeida said. "I was feeling good again. But tomorrow is another day, I can have a bad one and lose everything."

 

STAGE RESULT

1. Ben O'Connor (NTT Pro Cycling) +00:07
2. Herman Pernsteiner (Bahrain-McLaren) +00:31
3. Thomas De Gendt (Lotto-Soudal) +01:10
4. Ilnur Zakarin (CCC Team) +01:13
5. Kilian Frankiny (Groupama-FDJ) +01:55

CLASSIFICATION STANDINGS

General Classification  
1. Joao Almeida (Deceuninck-Quick-Step) 71:41:18
2. Wilco Kelderman (Team Sunweb) +00:17
3. Jai Hindley (Team Sunweb) +02:58

Points Classification  
1. Arnaud Demare (Groupama-FDJ) 221
2. Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) 184
3. Joao Almeida (Deceuninck-Quick-Step) 90

King of the Mountains  
1. Ruben Guerreiro (EF Pro Cycling) 198
2. Giovanni Visconti (Vini Zabu-KTM) 148
3. Thomas De Gendt (Lotto-Soudal) 82

WHAT'S NEXT?

Stage 18 is the penultimate mountain day of this year's delayed Giro. The 207km from Pinzolo to Laghi di Cancano includes a trip up the daunting Passo dello Stelvio, while an uphill finish littered with hairpins could provide late drama.

Jan Tratnik won a gruelling stage 16 of the Giro d'Italia to taste victory on a Grand Tour for the first time.

Continuing a recent theme of Slovenian success, Tratnik showed his grit with a dogged ride on the punishing 229-kilometre route from Udine to San Daniele del Friuli.

The undulating course featured several sharp climbs, including a section towards the end with a 20 per cent gradient at Via Sottomonte.

But none of that could derail the Bahrain-McLaren rider, as Tratnik followed in the footsteps of compatriots Tadej Pogacar and Primoz Roglic in sealing a podium spot at one of the sport's three headline events.

"I was feeling good, sometimes the best defence is attacking," said Tratnik of his sprint for the line.

"When it's steep like this, sometimes everyone has spent energy, so it was good."

He is not in contention to be on the podium at the end of the race, now in its third week, with Deceuninck-Quick-Step Joao Almeida still leading the way in the General Classification.

Indeed, the Portuguese extended his advantage over Team Sunweb's Wilco Kelderman, who is now 17 seconds back.

Tratnik's joy followed a great deal of suffering as he joined the 28-man breakaway before going solo with around 40km remaining.

Despite the efforts of Ben O’Connor and Ben Swift to chase him down, the 30-year-old held firm to cross the line seven seconds clear of the former.

 

STAGE RESULT

1. Jan Tratnik (Bahrain-McLaren) 06:04:36
2. Ben O'Connor (NTT Pro Cycling) +00:07
3. Enrico Battaglin (Bahrain-McLaren) +01:14
4. Kamil Malecki (CCC Team) +01:14
5. Ben Swift (Team INEOS) +01:14

CLASSIFICATION STANDINGS

General Classification 
1. Joao Almeida (Deceuninck-Quick-Step) 65:45:08
2. Wilco Kelderman (Team Sunweb) +00:17
3. Jai Hindley (Team Sunweb) +02:58

Points Classification 
1. Arnaud Demare (Groupama-FDJ) 221
2. Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) 184
3. Joao Almeida (Deceuninck-Quick-Step) 90

King of the Mountains 
1. Giovanni Visconti (Vini Zabu-Brado-KTM) 148
2. Ruben Guerreiro (EF Pro Cycling) 118
3. Filippo Ganna (Team INEOS) 48

WHAT'S NEXT?

Stage 17 takes the riders on a 203km route from Bassano del Grappa to Madonna di Campiglio, with a summit finish in store to test tired legs.

Tao Geoghegan Hart claimed a first Grand Tour stage victory to propel himself into maglia rosa contention at the Giro d'Italia.

Geoghegan Hart is now fourth in the general classification standings after he stuck with Team Sunweb duo Wilco Kelderman and Jai Hindley inside the final 10 kilometres of the 185km stage 15 on Sunday.

The 25-year-old then put on the afterburners in the last kilometre, out-sprinting his rivals to clinch Team INEOS Grenadiers' fifth stage victory of this year's Giro, which is still led by Joao Almeida.

INEOS' former team director Nicolas Portal died in March this year and Geoghegan Hart dedicated the triumph to him.

"This one was for Nico Portal, we lost him this spring and I think it's been really difficult for the team," he said.

"This is something incredible for me. I don't know about [the GC], I haven't seen the results, but crossing the line first is something truly incredible.

"We've had some great highs this season but also some big lows in the Tour, for me personally and in this race."

Deceuninck – Quick-Step's Almeida finished fourth and still holds the overall lead, with a 15-second advantage over Kelderman.

Hindley is just under three minutes back, a second ahead of Geoghegan Hart.

Two-time Giro winner Vincenzo Nibali lost over two minutes on the final climb, with the Italian down at seventh in the GC, while Giovanni Visconti took the maglia azzurra off Ruben Guerreiro.

 

STAGE RESULT

1. Tao Geoghegan Hart (INEOS) 04:58:52
2. Wilco Kelderman (Team Sunweb) +00:02
3. Jai Hindley (Team Sunweb) + 00:04
4. Joao Almeida (Deceuninck – Quick-Step) +00:37
5. Rafal Majka (Bora-Hansgrohe) +01:22

CLASSIFICATION STANDINGS

General Classification 
1. Joao Almeida (Deceuninck-Quick-Step) 59:27:38
2. Wilco Kelderman (Team Sunweb) +00:15
3. Jai Hindley (Team Sunweb) +02:56

Points Classification 
1. Arnaud Demare (Groupama-FDJ) 221
2. Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) 184
3. Joao Almeida (Deceuninck-Quick-Step) 90

King of the Mountains 
1. Giovanni Visconti (Vini Zabu-Brado-KTM) 118
2. Ruben Guerreiro (EF Pro Cycling) 87
3. Filippo Ganna (Team INEOS) 48

WHAT'S NEXT?

A final rest day is coming up on Monday, with another climbing route from Udine to San Daniele del Fruili making up stage 16 on Tuesday.

Filippo Ganna claimed his third stage win at this year's Giro d'Italia as Joao Almeida extended his overall lead on Saturday. 

Italian Ganna excelled on stage 14 - an individual time trial spanning 34.1 kilometres - to continue an impressive campaign in his home race, crossing the line in 42 minutes and 40 seconds. 

Rohan Dennis was 26 seconds slower over the course to claim an INEOS 1-2, while the rest of the field were over a minute back on the world time-trial champion. 

"Every victory is important for me, we have a really strong team," Ganna - who was also victorious in the opening time trial, as well as stage five - said after his latest success. 

Almeida, meanwhile, claimed sixth place to tighten his grip on the pink jersey, albeit there is still plenty of racing to go before the finish in Milan. 

Still, the Portuguese rider extended his advantage for a second successive day; he now sits 56 seconds clear of nearest rival Wilco Kelderman, who was ninth on the stage. 

"I did better than I thought, I'm so happy with the result," Almeida - who has worn the maglia rosa since the third day - said. "In the end, it was a positive day." 

Pello Bilbao remains third in the standings but Brandon McNulty is now just behind him, the American moving up thanks to a third-place finish as he sits in front of Vincenzo Nibali, Rafal Majka and Domenico Pozzovivo, who are all within 30 seconds of the podium places.

STAGE RESULT

1. Filippo Ganna (INEOS) 42:40
2. Rohan Dennis (INEOS) +00:26
3. Brandon McNulty (UAE Team Emirates) + 01:09
4. Thomas De Gendt (Lotto-Soudal) +01:11
5. Josef Cerny (CCC) +01:16

CLASSIFICATION STANDINGS

General Classification
1. Joao Almeida (Deceuninck-Quick-Step) 54:28:09
2. Wilco Kelderman (Team Sunweb) +00:56
3. Pello Bilbao (Bahrain-McLaren) +02:11

Points Classification
1. Arnaud Demare (Groupama-FDJ) 221
2. Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) 184
3. Joao Almeida (Deceuninck-Quick-Step) 83

King of the Mountains
1. Ruben Guerreiro (EF Pro Cycling) 87
2. Giovanni Visconti (Vini Zabu-Brado-KTM) 76
3. Filippo Ganna (Team INEOS) 48

WHAT'S NEXT?

Stage 15 could see changes in the general classification as the race climbs into the mountains during the 185km-ride to Piancavallo. Those looking to make a move will know they have a rest day to follow on Monday, too.

Joao Almeida extended his lead in the Giro d'Italia as Diego Ulissi triumphed on stage 13.

Ulissi claimed the eighth Giro stage win of his career as he outsprinted Almeida at the end of a 192-kilometre ride from Cervia to Monselice.

Almeida's efforts saw him pick up six bonus seconds, stretching his General Classification advantage to 40 seconds over Wilco Kelderman.

Patrick Konrad (Bora-Hansgrohe) was third, while Arnaud Demare (Groupama-FDJ) saw his hopes vanish.

Demare, winner of four stages this year, could not keep pace after the peloton was split into three on a short final climb and eventually finished 41 seconds off the pace.

While Demare still holds a healthy lead in the battle for the Maglia Ciclamino, he is over two minutes behind Almeida in the GC standings with eight stages to go.

Speaking after his victory, Ulissi - who also won stage two - conceded another success in this Giro had not been in his thoughts.

"We did a great job on the last climb and the team set-up me up perfectly. We dropped the sprinters and reduced the peloton to a small group," said Ulissi. 

"I was tired after doing the climb so fast but [team-mate Brandon] McNulty was fantastic in the way he led it out. I saw I'd got my wheel ahead and won. I've been on form all season. I didn't expect to win another stage but it’s a great feeling."

 

STAGE RESULT

1. Diego Ulissi (UAE Team Emirates) 04:22:18
2. Joao Almeida (Deceuninck-Quick-Step) +00:00
3. Patrick Konrad (Bora-Hansgrohe) +00:00
4. Tao Geoghegan Hart (INEOS) +00:00
5. Mikkel Frolich Honore (Deceuninck-Quick-Step) +00:00

CLASSIFICATION STANDINGS

General Classification
1. Joao Almeida (Deceuninck-Quick-Step) 53:43:58
2. Wilco Kelderman (Team Sunweb) +00:40
3. Pello Bilbao (Bahrain-McLaren) +00:49

Points Classification
1. Arnaud Demare (Groupama-FDJ) 221
2. Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) 184
3. Joao Almeida (Deceuninck-Quick-Step) 78

King of the Mountains
1. Ruben Guerreiro (EF Pro Cycling) 87
2. Giovanni Visconti (Vini Zabu-Brado-KTM) 76
3. Filippo Ganna (Team INEOS) 45

WHAT'S NEXT?

Saturday sees the riders tackle a challenging 34.1km time trial from Conegliano to Valdobbiadene, which features one categorised climb and a maximum gradient of 19 per cent on the Muro di Ca' del Poggio.

Jhonatan Narvaez triumphed in difficult conditions on stage 12 of the Giro d'Italia to seal a third victory of the race for Team INEOS.

Time-trial specialist Filippo Ganna has claimed two stage wins for the team and Narvaez completed the hat-trick on Thursday by attacking on the final climbs.

The Ecuadorian broke clear of the chasing pack along with Mark Padun but the Bahrain-McLaren rider had a mechanical issue with around 23 kilometres to go and needed to change bike.

Narvaez rallied for his maiden Grand Tour stage victory as he finished clear of Padun in Cesenatico, where rain fell during the majority of the 204km leg.

"This feels so good because it was a really hard stage with the cold and the rain," Narvaez said post-race.

"I'm happy because we've been working really hard before the Giro, then to try to get into the breakaway and to stay well and recover every day.

"Padun had a flat tyre and my sports director said to wait for him a little. But the race was fast and so I kept the pace. I knew the gap and kept going to the end.

"It means a lot for any professional rider to win here at the Giro d'Italia and especially so for me."

EF Pro Cycling's Simon Clarke took third place, while Joseph Rosskopf (CCC Team) and Simon Pellaud (Androni Giocattoli–Sidermec) completed the top five.

There was no change at the top of the general classification as Joao Almeida kept hold of the maglia rosa.

Despite being put under pressure, the Deceuninck-Quick-Step rider retained his 34-second lead over Wilco Kelderman (Team Sunweb).

STAGE RESULT

1. Jhonatan Narvaez (Team INEOS) 05:31:24
2. Mark Padun (Bahrain-McLaren) +01:08
3. Simon Clarke (EF Pro Cycling) +06:50
4. Joseph Rosskopf (CCC Team) +07:30
5. Simon Pellaud (Androni Giocattoli–Sidermec) +07.43

CLASSIFICATION STANDINGS

General Classification
1. Joao Almeida (Deceuninck-Quick-Step) 49:21:46
2. Wilco Kelderman (Team Sunweb) +00:34
3. Pello Bilbao (Bahrain-McLaren) +00:43

Points Classification
1. Arnaud Demare (Groupama-FDJ) 220
2. Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) 184
3. Filippo Ganna (Team INEOS) 51

King of the Mountains
1. Ruben Guerreiro (EF Pro Cycling) 84
2. Giovanni Visconti (Vini Zabu-Brado-KTM) 76
3. Filippo Ganna (Team INEOS) 45

WHAT'S NEXT?

Friday's stage 13 will be contested over 192km and is a sprinter's run from Cervia to Monselice, featuring some testing hurdles across a 40km stretch to the finish line.

Arnaud Demare clinched his fourth stage win of the 2020 Giro d'Italia to increase his points classification lead as he pipped Peter Sagan in a tense finish in Rimini on Wednesday.

On the unusually flat stage 11 along the Adriatic coast, Demare (Groupama-FDJ) produced a consistent performance that allowed for him to enjoy a late burst to add to his wins on stages four, six and seven.

Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) had looked to be on course for a second successive stage win after his first ever in the Giro on Tuesday, but his decision making in the final stages ultimately cost him.

While he initially opted to focus on following Fernando Gaviria (UAE Team Emirates) with less than 300 metres to go, Demare squeezed ahead and crossed the line a full length clear of Sagan.

Demare keeps hold of the Maglia Ciclamino, while Joao Almedia remains in control in the general classification battle with a 34-second lead, as the top three stayed out of trouble on a 182-kilometre route that was set up for the sprinters.

Frenchman Demare paid tribute to his team-mates, saying: "Impressive, really impressive. They had to bring the breakaway back and set a really high pace.

"It feels amazing. Of course, I didn't think I could get four stages here. I was looking for a stage win and I'm so happy.

"I really want to congratulate the whole team because it's their victory as well. They believed in me, everyone has worked really hard and the work is paying off."

Following Tuesday's spate of coronavirus-enforced withdrawals, there was an air of uncertainty heading into stage 11, but it was business as usual once the action started.

UAE Team Emirates and Cofidis looked dangerous in the mid-section but the latter were hamstrung shortly after the breakaway split with around 36km to go – Elia Viviani sent tumbling as a motorbike clipped him from behind.

In the latter stages Deceuninck-Quick-Step, UAE Team Emirates and INEOS Grenadiers riders came to the fore as Sander Armee (Lotto Soudal) began to flag at the front.

Demare and company arrived at the scene late on, and although they briefly lost the lead with under 2km to go, Miles Scotson and Jacopo Guarnieri expertly launched their team-mate to seal a dramatic win.

 

STAGE RESULT

1. Arnaud Demare (Groupama-FDJ) 04:03:52
2. Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) +00:00
3. Alvaro Hodeg (Deceuninck-Quick-Step) +00:00
4. Simone Consonni (Cofidis) +00:00
5. Rick Zabel (Israel Start-Up Nation) +00:00

CLASSIFICATION STANDING

General Classification 
1. Joao Almeida (Deceuninck-Quick-Step) 43:41:57
2. Wilco Kelderman (Team Sunweb) +00:34
3. Pello Bilbao (Bahrain-McLaren) +00:43

Points Classification 
1. Arnaud Demare (Groupama-FDJ) 220
2. Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) 184
3. Filippo Ganna (INEOS Grenadiers) 51

King of the Mountains 
1. Ruben Guerreiro (EF Pro Cycling) 84
2. Giovanni Visconti (Vini Zabu-Brado-KTM) 76
3. Jonathan Castroviejo (INEOS Grenadiers), Filippo Ganna (INEOS Grenadiers) 45

WHAT'S NEXT?

Stage 12 sees the riders start and finish in the port town of Cesenatico, with the 204km route seeing them head into the mountainous hinterlands.

Peter Sagan produced a stunning solo display to win a chaotic 10th stage of the Giro d'Italia.

The Bora-Hansgrohe rider earned the first Giro stage victory of his decorated career with a daring effort on the 177-kilometre route from Lanciano to Tortoreto.

Deceuninck-Quick-Step's Joao Almeida extended his lead at the top of the general classification to 34 seconds on a day that started with a spate of coronavirus-enforced withdrawals.

It was not a happy outing for Jakob Fuglsang as he lost over a minute to Almeida, the Astana rider suffering a mechanical to fall well off the pace.

Despite Sagan's triumph, which means he has now taken stage honours at each of the Grand Tours, Arnaud Demare still has hold of the Maglia Ciclamino.

"I'm very happy, finally," said Sagan. "I've been trying since when we started the season again with Strade Bianche, San Remo, the Tour de France – I was a lot of time on the podium or top five but my last victory was last year in the Tour de France, already a long time ago.

"For sure I did not have the plan [to go solo]. When I already accepted second, third, fourth place, and I let it go and I don't try anymore – and now the victory comes. I'm very happy for that.

"Finally, I won in my style, I do the race, do some show, take the victory – it's something special."

Sagan was aggressive from the outset, leading a breakaway that was at one point five minutes ahead of the peloton.

Rain and a devilish course made for drama aplenty, but Almeida kept himself out of trouble to maintain a firm grip on his Maglia Rosa amid a chasing pack that was disrupted by sporadic breaks.

INEOS Grenadiers rider Ben Swift had been the only man to keep pace with Sagan heading into the last 20km, but the Slovakian proved too strong for the Briton.

The three-time world champion negotiated some horrendously steep climbs and a nerve-wracking descent in the wet to cross the line 19 seconds ahead of nearest rival Brandon McNulty.

 

STAGE RESULT

1. Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) 04:01:56
2. Brandon McNulty (UAE Team Emirates) +00:19
3. Joao Almeida (Deceuninck-Quick-Step) +00:23
4. Ben Swift (INEOS Grenadiers) +00:23
5. Jai Hindley (Team Sunweb) +00:23

CLASSIFICATION STANDING

General Classification 
1. Joao Almeida (Deceuninck-Quick-Step) 39:38:05
2. Wilco Kelderman (Team Sunweb) +00:34
3. Pello Bilbao (Bahrain-McLaren) +00:43

Points Classification 
1. Arnaud Demare (Groupama-FDJ) 167
2. Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) 147
3. Filippo Ganna (INEOS Grenadiers) 51

King of the Mountains 
1. Ruben Guerreiro (EF Pro Cycling) 84
2. Giovanni Visconti (Vini Zabu-Brado-KTM) 76
3. Jonathan Castroviejo (INEOS Grenadiers), Filippo Ganna (INEOS Grenadiers) 45

WHAT'S NEXT?

Stage 11 sees the riders continue up the Adriatic coast on a relatively flat 182km route from Porto Sant'Elpidio to Rimini.

The Giro d'Italia has been hit by a spate of coronavirus-enforced withdrawals after the Mitchelton-Scott team, Steven Kruijswijk and Michael Matthews all pulled out.

Mitchelton-Scott, who saw Adam Yates test positive before stage eight, took the decision to abandon the race after four members of staff contracted the virus.

"As a social responsibility we've made the decision to withdraw," said Mitchelton-Scott boss Brent Copeland.

It comes after 571 tests conducted over October 11-12 also showed title contender Kruijswijk had caught COVID-19, with the Jumbo-Visma rider having sat 11th, one minute and 24 seconds off the pace set by Joao Almeida.

In addition, Team Sunweb's Matthews tested positive ahead of stage 10, along with staff members at Team AG2R-La Mondiale and Team INEOS.

Ruben Guerreiro won stage nine of the Giro d'Italia in miserable conditions and Joao Almeida kept the maglia rosa on a memorable day for Portuguese cycling.

Guerreiro had enough in the tank at the end of a 208-kilometre route from San Salvo to Roccaraso to sprint away from Jonathan Castroviejo for a maiden Grand Tour stage victory.

The 26-year-old takes over as the leader of the king of the mountains battle and is only the second rider from Portugal to win a Giro stage, Acacio Da Silva having crossed the line first five times in the 1980s.

Guerreiro secured EF Pro Cycling's second stage win of the 2020 edition of the race, having been among five breakaway riders in the rain on Sunday.

He reacted when Castroviejo went on the attack and had the pace to go clear of the INEOS Grenadiers rider in an uphill finish after a tough final climb of almost 10km and won by a margin of eight seconds.

Mikkel Bjerg was third, finishing 58 seconds after Guerreiro, with Kilian Frankiny and Larry Warbasse completing the top five.

Guerreiro's compatriot Almeida continues to lead the race, but his advantage was reduced to 30 seconds.

Wilco Kelderman is up to second behind Deceuninck-Quick-Step's Almeida, who started the day with an advantage of 43 seconds over Pello Bilbao (Bahrain-McLaren).

Bilbao gained four seconds on Almeida, who will no doubt be ready for a day off on Monday, the first rest day.

 

STAGE RESULT

1. Ruben Guerreiro (EF Pro Cycling) 05:41:20
2. Jonathan Castroviejo (INEOS Grenadiers) +00:08
3. Mikkel Bjerg (UAE Team Emirates) +00:58
4. Kilian Frankiny (Groupama–FDJ) 01:16
5. Larry Warbasse (AG2R La Mondiale) 01:16

CLASSIFICATION STANDING

General Classification 
1. Joao Almeida (Deceuninck-Quick-Step) 35:35:50
2. Wilco Kelderman (Team Sunweb) +00:30
3. Pello Bilbao (Bahrain-McLaren) +00:39

Points Classification 
1. Arnaud Demare (Groupama-FDJ) 167
2. Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) 110
3. Michael Matthews (Team Sunweb) 87

King of the Mountains 
1. Ruben Guerreiro (EF Pro Cycling) 84
2. Giovanni Visconti (Vini Zabu-Brado-KTM) 76
3.Jonathan Castroviejo (INEOS Grenadiers) 45

WHAT'S NEXT?

A rest day awaits the riders on Monday before they take on a 177km 10th stage from Lanciano to Tortoreto, with five sharp ascents to come in the final 65km.

Alex Dowsett secured Israel Start-Up Nation their first stage win at the Giro d'Italia with a sensational ride to Vieste on Saturday.

The Englishman pulled clear of the breakaway group and called upon his time-trial experience to sustain a clear lead to the finish line.

Dowsett, who broke track cycling's world hour record back in 2015, had endured a "nightmare" start to the day when he tweeted his disgust at having mistakenly brushed his teeth before remembering he had not finished his morning coffee, adding: "I really hope the day picks up."

His timing could not have been better out on the 200-kilometre ride from Giovinazzo to Vieste, as he attacked the front after a six-rider breakaway with around 16km to go.

Dowsett stretched his lead to close to 30 seconds at the bell and the gap was at a massive 75 seconds by the time he crossed the line for his second Giro stage win and the first for his team.

Salvatore Puccio took second ahead of Matthew Holmes and Joseph Rosskopf after a short sprint for the line.

The peloton had long since turned attention towards Sunday's stage, with the general classification standings largely unaffected by what was going on further ahead.

Joao Almeida, who finished 17th, retains a 43-second lead at the top of the GC over Pello Bilbao.

STAGE RESULT

1. Alex Dowsett (Israel Start-Up Nation) 04:50:09
2. Salvatore Puccio (Team INEOS) +01:15
3. Matthew Holmes (Lotto Soudal) same time
4. Joseph Rosskopf (CCC Team) same time
5. Mathias Brandle (Israel Cycling Academy) + 02:10

CLASSIFICATION STANDINGS

General Classification 
1. Joao Almeida (Deceuninck-Quick-Step) 29:52:34
2. Pello Bilbao (Bahrain-McLaren) +00:43
3. Wilco Kelderman (Team Sunweb) +00:48

Points Classification 
1. Arnaud Demare (Groupama-FDJ) 163
2. Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) 107
3. Michael Matthews (Team Sunweb) 87

King of the Mountains 
1. Filippo Ganna (Team INEOS) 41
2. Jonathan Caicedo (EF Pro Cycling) 40
3. Matthew Holmes (Lotto Soudal) 20

WHAT'S NEXT?

Sunday's stage nine is a more arduous 208km from San Salvo to Roccaraso, which includes the steep climb to Passo Lanciano before the long ascent to the finish, as the riders move away from the coast and into the Apennine mountains.

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