Croce d’Aune (Italy) (AFP) – Ecuador’s Richard Carapaz of Movistar closed in on overall victory by holding the Giro d’Italia leader’s pink jersey after the 20th and penultimate stage won by Spaniard Pello Bilbao on Saturday.
Carapaz gave nothing to his rivals on the final summit finish at Monte Avena after a challenging 193km ride through the northern Dolomites mountains where Astana rider Bilbao snatched victory.
The Ecuadorian even helped team-mate Mikel Landa in the final climb before the Spaniard lost out to compatriot Bilbao, but moved third overall at the expense of Slovenian Primoz Roglic.
Carapaz leads former two-time winner Vincenzo Nibali of Italy by 1min 54sec in the overall standings with Landa 2min 53sec adrift, and Roglic at 3min 06sec.
The three-week race finishes on Sunday with a time-trial in Verona.
Bilbao’s success was a boost for his Astana outfit after Colombian team leader Miguel Angel Lopez‘s mishap, colliding with a spectator before getting back on his bike.
Carapaz, Landa and Lopez were the strongest in the main climb of the day, the Manghen Pass, where they gained up to 15 seconds on their rivals Nibali and Roglic.
A breakaway group of seven riders formed in the final two climbs with French rider Valentin Madouas attacking with 16km to go before being reeled in at the Croce d’Aune.