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Giro d'Italia: Alberto Contador to win overall as Fabio Aru takes stage 20

Spaniard survives drastic loss of form on last mountain stage

Alberto Contador, Giro d'Italia 2015, stage 20
Image: Alberto Contador survived a difficult day to effectively seal a second Giro victory

Alberto Contador will be crowned winner of the 2015 Giro d’Italia in Milan on Sunday, but only after surviving a drastic loss of form on a mountainous 20th stage won by Fabio Aru.

Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) was dropped by all of his closest rivals on the penultimate climb of the day and crossed the line at the summit finish in Sestriere 2min 25sec down.

However, he had a 4min 37sec cushion over second-placed Aru (Astana) going into the stage and will consequently seal a 2min 2sec overall victory over the Italian as long as he avoids crashing on a flat and largely processional final stage.

It will be the second Giro victory of the 32-year-old Spaniard’s career, following a first triumph in 2008, and he will also become only the second rider in history, after France’s Bernard Hinault, to have won all three grand tours more than once.

Alberto Contador on stage 20 of the 2015 Giro d'Italia
Image: Contador was dropped by his rivals on the gravelled Colle delle Finestre climb

Mikel Landa (Astana) will have to settle for third place, 3min 14sec down on Contador, after selflessly abandoning a solo attack on stage 20 in order to help Aru’s ill-fated attempt to snatch the pink jersey.

Aru, who also won stage 19, said: “It’s incredible. I can’t believe it still. I have had a few bad days and I have suffered, but today, managing to win again is wonderful, and getting that second place, I’m really happy.

“We tried to go really quickly all the way to the finish. Landa was exceptional, as usual. He is a really strong guy.”

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Despite dislocating his shoulder in a crash on stage six, Contador had looked unmovable for most of the Giro until Landa attacked half way up the gravel roads of the Colle delle Finestre and the race leader failed to follow.

Fabio Aru, Giro d'Italia, stage 20
Image: Fabio Aru won for the second day in succession but was unable to take the pink jersey

It looked like Landa was merely the stronger climber of the two on the day, but then Ryder Hesjedal (Cannondale-Garmin) counter-attacked 3km later and all of the general classification contenders went with him except for a clearly struggling Contador.

By the summit his deficit was a 1min 30sec to Landa and one minute to the Hesjedal group, which also contained Aru, but, helped by Landa slowing to wait for Aru, he reduced that to 50 seconds from the front of the race on the shallow lower slopes of the final climb to Sestriere.

Once caught, Landa accelerated again at the head of the lead quintet to stretch the advantage back out to 1min 45sec, but the Astana pair were running out of road and when Aru attacked 1.6km from the finish, he did so knowing only the stage win was still on offer.

Stage 20 result

1 Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana, 5:12:25
2 Ryder Hesjedal (Can) Cannondale-Garmin, +18secs
3 Rigoberto Uran (Col) Etixx – Quick-Step, +24
4 Mikel Landa (Esp) Astana, same time
5 Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) LottoNL-Jumbo, +34
6 Alberto Contador (Esp) Tinkoff-Saxo, +2:25
7 Tanel Kangert (Est) Astana, +2:28
8 Franco Pellizotti (Ita) Bardiani-CSF, st
9 Leopold Konig (Cze) Team Sky, st
10 Diego Rosa (Ita) Astana, st

General classification

1 Alberto Contador (Esp) Tinkoff-Saxo, 84:03:30
2 Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana, +2:02
3 Mikel Landa (Esp) Astana, +3:14
4 Andrey Amador (Cos) Movistar, +8:19
5 Ryder Hesjedal (Can) Cannondale-Garmin, +9:52
6 Leopold Konig (Cze) Team Sky, +10:50
7 Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) LottoNL-Jumbo, +11:02
8 Damiano Caruso (Ita) BMC Racing, +12:17
9 Alexandre Geniez (Fra), +16:00
10 Yuri Trofimov (Rus) Katusha, +16:23

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