Nieve 7th on stage and Yates remains 8th overall after penultimate stage of Giro d’Italia

Sat 1 Jun 2019

After spending the whole day in the breakaway, Mikel Nieve finished seventh in the final sprint to the line on the penultimate and Queen stage of the Giro d’Italia

Mitchelton-SCOTT teammate and leader Simon Yatesfinishes at 48seconds down to retain eighth overall after another superb performance by Grand Tour debutant Lucas Hamilton to chaperone him through the difficult day. 

On from the gun:|The first climb set the scene from the formation of a strong breakaway, with Nieve riding himself into a group of 12.

It was no easy feat behind, with the bunch also under pressure, reducing to 40 riders, including Simon Yates, Lucas Hamilton, Esteban Chaves, Luke Durbridge and Jack Bauer representing Mitchelton-SCOTT.

The second and hardest climb:
The second and hardest climb of the day was expected to set off more fireworks, and Astana didn’t let the opportunity pass. 

Their pressure and subsequent attack from Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana Pro Team) split the general classification favourites, with Yates losing touch and being paced behind by Hamilton.

By the top of the climb Lopez, Richard Carapaz and Mikel Landa (Movistar Team) reached the majority of the Nieve breakaway group. 

Re-set and re-attack:
The descent of the climb saw a re-grouping on the main favourites bunch.  Yates and Hamilton joined the pink jersey group and Nieve re-attacked to force a new group of five leaders.

With still 85km to race, the Nieve group’s advantage had extended to two-minutes, with an additional trio in between. The front groups again re-grouped to make eight at the front.

The final climb:
As the kilometres ticked down no one could shake Carapaz, and eventually, on the final climb, the remaining GC group caught the Nieve escape. 

Nieve managed to tuck onto the back of the group, hold on until the final sprint to the line before he settled for seventh place behind stage winner Pello Bilbao (Astana Pro Team).

Mikel Nieve:
“It’s been a really big day, attacking from the start, in the breakaway giving all that I had and finally I was close. It’s difficult to win when the favourites are playing for the victory but it’s been a good day and you can’t always win, so I am happy to finish off like this.”

Simon Yates:
“That was about as filthy as you can get. Lucas saved my butt once again, like he has many time this Grand Tour, and Nieve was up the front there, I think it just got pipped in the sprint but after all day in the break, that’s pretty normal to be tired there.” 

Matt White – Head Sport Director:
“A very tough, epic mountain stage today.

“There’s still a lot for everyone to play for tomorrow. We’ve got 30seconds for chase Rafael Majka for seventh place and 43seconds chasing Lopez so if things go well tomorrow, we will try to move up a couple of spots.”

Giro d’Italia – Stage 20 Results:
1. Pello Bilbao (Astana Pro Team) 5:46:02
2. Mikel Landa (Movistar Team) ST
3. Giulio Ciccone (Trek-Segafredo) +0:02
7. Mikel Nieve (Mitchelton-SCOTT) +0:15

Giro d’Italia – General Classification after Stage 20:
1. Richard Carapaz (Movistar Team) 89:38:28
2. Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida) +1:54
3. Mikel Landa (Movistar Team) +2:53
8. Simon Yates (Mitchelton-SCOTT) +8:01

Photo courtesy of Getty Images.