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Ivan Basso holds aloft
Ivan Basso (CSC) has given the rest of the riders in the Giro d'Italia another schooling with a...
Ivan Basso (CSC) has given the rest of the riders in the Giro d'Italia another schooling with a powerful exhibition of climbing to win the 20th and final hard stage in Aprica. Attacking with Gilberto Simoni (Saunier Duval) on the Mortirolo, Basso rode clear of everyone close to him on GC, then upped the tempo with 3 km to go on the final climb to finish alone ahead of a disappointed Gibo. In third place, already 2'51 behind, was Damiano Cunego, who crossed together with José E. Gutierrez Cataluna (Phonak). Savoldelli and Piepoli were fifth and sixth at 6'03, meaning Savoldelli lost fourth on GC to Cunego.
In the overall classification, there were some changes to the top 10, but not to the podium. Simoni needed another climb and better to jump past Gutierrez for second, while Basso extended his advantage over Gutierrez to an impressive 9'18.
The 20th stage was unusual in that it didn't see a big breakaway get clear. Instead, CSC and Saunier Duval kept a tight control over the race and prevented anyone from getting more than a minute. Juan Manuel Garate was first to the top of the 'Cima Coppi', the Passo di Gavia, followed by Serpa (Selle Italia), Lopez (Euskaltel) and Vila (Lampre), but all were caught on the descent and it was a small peloton that reached the foot of the Mortirolo with 45 km to go. Volodomir Gustov set a hard tempo to blow the group apart, until only Basso and Simoni were left. The two had over a minute on Cunego and Gutierrez at the summit, and although they pegged it back to 45 seconds on the descent, the final 15 km up to Aprica saw the gaps increase. Any chance of a gift stage win from Basso to Simoni disappeared when Basso showed his strength in the final kilometres.
See also: Stage 20 full results, report & photos and .