Preview. With the battle for the overall classification once again being conservative in the queen stage, the fight for the pink jersey is left for the final time-trial of the Giro d'Italia, stage 20 ends at the brutal Monte Lussari.
Stage 20 of the Giro d'Italia will be the final day for the overall classification contenders. It is likely to be within the distance of 11 kilometers with a flat first half, and a brutal second half. In total there are 18.6 kilometers, but don't be mistaken all riders will take it conservatively early on, and with a bike chance expected at the base of the final climb.
Estimated start and finish times for Giro d'Italia stage 20: 11:30-18:30CET
And the ascent is quite simply put: grizzly. It's brutal in every way. In total it is 7.6 kilometers at 11.3% but this is actually modest in comparison to the climb's true difficulty. It features it's first 4.7 kilometers at 15% average, just a constant grind at this insane gradient which will make for an horrific effort. Afterwards the grades do come down into what can be considered a normal climb.
However it is by no means easy, riders will already be at their limit at this point even with tiny chainrings, but there are still some very nasty ramps of over 15% in the closing three kilometers of the ascent. It's a very scenic finale but riders will need to pull off something special to get to the top.
Some northeastern wind, a tailwind in the first kilometers of the time-trial, but in the climb it won't make a difference, it'll be too covered from the elements.
Geraint Thomas - Consistent and strong in all terrains. Thomas has gotten himself in position to win the Giro and he will no longer be attacked. In all honesty he doesn't have to pull of something special, the Welshman has to do what he's done since stage 8. If nothing goes wrong, Thomas finally takes the Giro win that he's looked for in past years.
Primoz Roglic - All year long I had a feeling over this time-trial, it remains the same. On paper Roglic in his best years could decimate a day like this, but on several occasions he has struggled on time-trials in the final week of a Grand Tour. His form is very good and partly because of his preparation, the climb will also suit him. Giro win is possible, I don't think he will crack as it's happened in the past but to remove the 26 seconds he has on Thomas will be very hard.
João Almeida - 59 seconds now is a lot. Against a Thomas who has shown no fragility the pink dream has faded for Almeida. The podium is secure, the stage win is possible, but he looks a tad below the two above when it comes to climbing speed currently and the brutally steep climb also won't be a preference.
Will the win come outside of those three riders? No. I had the belief Jay Vine could match them, but today he was nowhere to be seen and most likely will not have the legs. Behind only the battle for minor places will matter.
Thymen Arensman and Damiano Caruso both looked quite good today and having performed strongly in the past time-trials, the Dutchman is narrowly behind Eddie Dunbar and Thibaut Pinot and could rise to fifth. Then the battle for 8th place we have Lennard Kämna and Andreas Leknessund separated by 14 seconds. Lastly the fight for the final spot in the Top10 sees Laurens de Plus 10 seconds ahead of Einer Rubio, the Belgian is likely to gain time early on but the climb will balance it out.
Prediction Giro d'Italia 2023 stage 20:
*** Geraint Thomas, Primoz Roglic
** João Almeida
* Thymen Arensman, Damiano Caruso, Eddie Dunbar, Lennard Kämna
Pick: Geraint Thomas