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Giro d'Italia 2014: Stage 21

Welcome to live coverage of the final stage of the Giro d'Italia from Gemona del Friuli to Trieste

The final stage of the Giro d'Italia is upon us. The riders have completed 3,283.5 kilometres since they began in Belfast. It's been hard going and we've lost a few riders along the way. Only 172 kilometres separate the remaining 156 riders from the finish line in Trieste.

Yesterday saw Nairo Quintana wrap up is first Grand Tour title. It didn't start well, losing time in the first week, but he fought back and ended up winning by a decisive 3:07 ahead of Rigoberto Uran. The Colombian has been in his all pink outfit since he won at Val Martello on Tuesday, but finally he has got himself a pink bike. Who needs lights when you've got this look?

 

 

 

There were a few changes in the GC after yesterday's epic finish on Monte Zoncolan. Here is what the final top 10 looks like, with only a sprint stage to go.

 

1 Nairo Alexander Quintana Rojas (Col) Movistar Team 83:50:25
2 Rigoberto Uran Uran (Col) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team 0:03:07
3 Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana Pro Team 0:04:04
4 Pierre Rolland (Fra) Team Europcar 0:05:46
5 Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) AG2R La Mondiale 0:06:41
6 Rafal Majka (Pol) Tinkoff-Saxo 0:07:13
7 Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling Team 0:11:09
8 Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC Racing Team 0:12:00
9 Ryder Hesjedal (Can) Garmin Sharp 0:13:35
10 Robert Kiserlovski (Cro) Trek Factory Racing 0:15:49

Quintana wrapped up the young rider's classification on the Monte Zoncolan too. It's a reminder that he is still only 24, a worrying thought for his rivals. Here is how the white jersey competition finished.

 

1 Nairo Alexander Quintana Rojas (Col) Movistar Team 83:50:25
2 Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana Pro Team 0:04:04
3 Rafal Majka (Pol) Tinkoff-Saxo 0:07:13
4 Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling Team 0:11:09
5 Sebastian Henao Gomez (Col) Team Sky 0:56:24
6 Georg Preidler (Aut) Team Giant-Shimano 1:05:12
7 Mikel Landa Meana (Spa) Astana Pro Team 1:23:06
8 Marc Goos (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling Team 1:30:43
9 Jan Polanc (Slo) Lampre-Merida 1:45:31
10 Pawel Poljanski (Pol) Tinkoff-Saxo 2:04:10

We're a couple of minutes away from the start of the final stage, so let's finish our round-up of the jersey competitions. Dario Cataldo closed the gap a bit to Julian Arredondo in the mountains classification yesterday, but the Colombian was safe. Arredondo's victory in the competition means Colombian have three of the four available jerseys. Here is how it finished yesterday.

 

1 Julian David Arredondo Moreno (Col) Trek Factory Racing 173 pts
2 Dario Cataldo (Ita) Team Sky 132
3 Nairo Alexander Quintana Rojas (Col) Movistar Team 88
4 Tim Wellens (Bel) Lotto Belisol 79
5 Robinson Eduardo Chalapud Gomez (Col) Colombia 73
6 Jonathan Monsalve (Ven) Neri Sottoli - Yellow Fluo 68
7 Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana Pro Team 57
8 Pierre Rolland (Fra) Team Europcar 46
9 Jarlinson Pantano (Col) Colombia 43
10 Franco Pellizotti (Ita) Androni Giocattoli 42

To go with his kit and newly painted bike, here is the throne that Nairo Quintana will sit on when he finally arrives in Trieste this afternoon.

 

And we're off, for the final stage of the 2014 Giro d'Italia.

Today is a day for the sprinters. It has been a while and we've had some big mountains since the last time we say them strut their stuff. Nacer Bouhanni is the big favourite for victory today. Here is what he and the other sprinters can expect today.

 

Bouhanni is in the red jersey today, but it is still all to play for. There are 50 points available at the finish and Giacomo Nizzolo could still nick it from him. Here is how the standings look at the moment.

 

1 Nacer Bouhanni (Fra) FDJ.fr 251 pts
2 Giacomo Nizzolo (Ita) Trek Factory Racing 225
3 Elia Viviani (Ita) Cannondale 173
4 Roberto Ferrari (Ita) Lampre-Merida 161
5 Ben Swift (GBr) Team Sky 130
6 Enrico Battaglin (Ita) Bardiani-CSF 96
7 Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC Racing Team 96
8 Tim Wellens (Bel) Lotto Belisol 94
9 Rigoberto Uran Uran (Col) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team 82
10 Marco Canola (Ita) Bardiani-CSF 82

After beginning under rain clouds and battling through the snow,  the riders will finish in the sunshine. It is a beautiful day in Trieste and the atmosphere is already buzzing, despite the riders being several hours away.

162km remaining from 172km

The riders are understandibly taking things easy today, as the jersey wearers pose for the cameras. The peloton is all together after 10 km.

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There is no doubt that yesterday's finish was something to remember and the huge crowds on the climb made for an incredible atmosphere. However, a few fans took things a little too far and Francesco Bongiorno saw his chances for victory dashed by one over-excited road-side fan. Despite the disappointment, the Italian was pragmatic about it. You can read what he said here.

150km remaining from 172km

It's still all together for the 156 riders remaining in this race. The atmosphere in the peloton is a jovial one and most are just happy to have made it to this stage. We may be waiting a little while for the first escape to form.

One rider who will be doubly pleased about making it to the final stage is Nacer Bouhanni. Not only is he in with a chance of winning the points jersey, but this will be the first time he's finished a Grand Tour. Bouhanni has ridden three in the past, but has abandoned all three.

 

 

Orica-GreenEdge will also be happy to see the finish line. After such a great start to the race with three stage wins and keeping hold of the pink jersey for a week, the team only finish with two riders. Michael Hepburn and Svein Tuft are the two that managed to make it the whole way, with illness and injury taking it's toll on their teammates.

Fabio Aru was one of the revelations of the Giro d'Italia, with a stage victory, a hugely impressive mountain time trial and third in the general classification. Aru says that his results won't change anything.

139km remaining from 172km

We've finally got our first attack of the day, Martin Tjallingii and Svein Tuft have 1:03 on the peloton at the moment.

Tjallingii was in the break yesterday, but fell away on the Sella Razzo. His Giro d'Italia has been bookended by attacks. The Dutch rider went on the attack while the race was in Northern Ireland, earning himself some time in the mountains classification jersey.

Today is the first time in a long time that we've seen a Orica-GreenEdge rider in the break. After losing almost their entire team over the last week, the Australian team have been uncharacteritically quiet, obviously trying to conserve energy and make it to the finish.

For the general classification riders, yesterday was about making it to the finish ahead of their rivals. For most other riders it was just about making it to the finish. Garmin-Sharp rider Nathan Haas decided to have a little fun as he made his way up the Monte Zoncolan. The Australian channelled his inner Robbie McEwen and performed a wheelie on the tough climb.

 

Neither of the two riders are a threat in any of the competitions. Tjallingii is the best placed rider in the general classification of the two, but he is still a massive 3 hours 15 behind Nairo Quintana. Tuft is second to last in the GC and more than 5 hours behind the maglia rosa. A stark contrast to the opening weekend, where he took the leader's jersey after the time trial, on his birthday.

Along with Colombia, this Giro d'Italia has been a hugely sucessful one for the Australians. They have won three stages - four if you include the team time trial - and spent 10 days in the maglia rosa. Michael Rogers took two of those stage wins, taking his second yesterday on the Monte Zoncolan. Prior to the race, he had never won a grand tour stage. You can read his reaction to yesterday's stage here.

The relaxed nature of today's stage start shows in the average speed, which is only 32kph over the first hour.

Here is a closer look at Nairo Quintana's special pink bike that he has just for today's stage. On eiter side of the top tube it has "Nairo Quintana, maglia rosa Giro d'Italia 2014" and "Il Giro 2014, Belfast - Trieste, 3449.9km." The Giro was actually a little longer, after 10km was added to stage 6.

 

110km remaining from 172km

Tuft and Tjallingii have been brought back in and it is gruppo compatto again.

104km remaining from 172km

The riders are still making their way the province of Gorizia. They will hit the finishing circuit in Trieste in around 54 kilometres, which is when we will see the pace drastically increase.

This year saw the 11th foreign start for the Giro d'Italia, beginning in Belfast three weeks ago. There are rumours that the 2016 start will be in the Netherlands, but race organiser Mauro Vegni told reporters yesterday that next year's race would be entirely in Italy.

Cadel Evans will finish this year's race in eigth place. He came with the intentions to take the podium, but struggled in the final week. Here is what he said at the start today.

"Eight was below out expectations and our intentions when we came here. I've had the whip on myself since August for this race and I'm not going to whip myself any more.

"In the end we rode exceptionally well as a team, but i lacked it in the mountains. We will have to look at that, but I don't have any regrets."

Nairo Quintana was all smiles at the start this morning. Here is what he said at the start.

"It’s hard to sign a pink jersey, but it is a skill that I will have to learn now," he joked.

"It couldn’t have gone better for me. It was a marvellous Giro and it suited me and my team very well. My next goal will be to win the Tour de France one day."
 

96km remaining from 172km

Movistar are controlling the front of the peloton, which is now strung out in a long line. They and Trek are the only team with all of their riders still here, something that no doubt helped Quitntana in his pursuit for the maglia rosa.

After a very slow first hour of racing, the average speed has gone up a little. The riders are now moving at an average of 37kph.

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We've spent a lot of time talking about the winners in this year's Giro d'Italia. Let's take a moment to talk about the man who finished in last place or the maglia nera, Jetse Bol. The Belkin rider was one of the ones to come down in the crash on stage four in Bari. After being seen by the mobile hospital he continued the race, but was suffering with neck pain. This year's Giro was the first Grand Tour for the 24-year-old.

86km remaining from 172km

The peloton continue to roll on at an easy pace, lead by Movistar. No riders willing to make an attack after Tuft and Tjallingii were brought back into the fold about 30 kilometres ago. We can probably expect things to stay this way until we get close to the circuits in Trieste in another 35 kilometres.

Now that the general classification has been decided, Rigoberto Uran is content with sitting on the back of the peloton and taking it easy. At one stage he looked like he could win the Giro, but finished second in the end. The Colombian said that he was still happy with his result and commended the work of his teammates.

The intermediate sprint comes quite late today, on the fifth passage of the finish line in Trieste. With so much at stake in the points compeition, we can expect this to be highly contested. While Bouhanni leads the competition, Nizzolo is still in contention. Unfortunately for Elia Viviani, he is out of contention, he is 77 points behind Bouhanni.

The Giro d'Italia doesn't shy away from giving out awards, with more competitions than you can wrap your head around. Lotto-Belisol took the 'green' award today. During sign-on, Lotto-Belisol were given a prize for depositing the mode bidons in the green zone.

Today is the 21st time that Trieste will host a stage finish and it is the third time that the race will come to a close in the town. In 1966 Mino Bariviera won the stage, while Gianni Motta won the overall classification and in 1973 it was Marino Basso (no relation to Ivan) who took stage honours and Eddy Merckx took the maglia rosa.

Trieste has also hosted a grande partenza back in 1981. Knut Knudsen won the prologue around the town, beating Francesco Moser. The Norwegian would go onto win two more stages during that Giro d'Italia. The second stage began in Trieste and went 100km down the road to Bibone. That was won by Guido Bontempi, ahead of Giovanni Mantovani.

The camera men are getting in on the action during this moment of calm. One of them takes a moment to congratulate Fabio Aru, who is looking after the white jersey for Nairo Quintana.

Away from the Giro d'Italia, Sam Bennett of NetApp-Endura has won the final stage of the Bayern Rundfahrt, as Geraint Thomas (Team Sky) takes the overall classification.

67km remaining from 172km

It is still gruppo compatto for now, but we are 17km away from Trieste and the action should be getting under way very soon. The crowds at the finish are getting their own entertainment at the moment with the Italian Airforce flying overhead.

Over in Belgium, Paul Martens takes stage victory. However, his teammate Sep Vanmarcke has gone down in a crash.Not a good couple of days for Vanmarcke, who was punched by Sergey Lagutin yesterday.

Ryder Hesjedal has got himself a selection of energy gels to chose from. He's got plenty of time to pick which one he wants, as the peloton continues this parade place. Hesjedal has had a mixed Giro d'Italia. After losing a hatful of time in the team time trial, he worked his way back into the top 10. Despite the performance, he says he's unlikely to ride the Tour de France this year.

As the national anthem played out, the Italian Arrows painted the sky Italian. The peloton reach the edges of Trieste.

 

54km remaining from 172km

The peloton are onto the Trieste circuit. They will complete 8 laps of the cuircuit, crossing the finish line 9 times. The pace is gradually going up, but we await the next big attack.

There is a small climb and steep descent around four kilometres from the finish. It's pretty short, but it could catch out some of the sprinters if they're not careful.

50km remaining from 172km

The peloton pass over the finish line for the first of nine times.

We've shown you a couple of photos of Nairo Quintana's pink Canyon. You can take a better look with our full gallery.

It seems like all of Colombia is in Trieste, lots of banners and huge Colombian flags all over the route. They're going to have a great party tonight, perhaps partaking in the local Carso Terrano red wine.

Svein Tuft attacks again, he is followed by Lars Bak

42km remaining from 172km

Tuft is still showing the after effects of his metting with the tarmac. His left arm is covered with bandages. The peloton is not far behind him and are strung out as the cross the line for the second time.

38km remaining from 172km

We await an official time check for the two leaders, but they're gradually eeking out an advantage on the maglia rosa group.

37km remaining from 172km

45 seconds is the advantage between the two escapees and the peloton - which is strung out by the pace set by Movistar.

Both of these lead riders have won Giro d'Italia stages in the team time trial, Tuft did it this year with Orica Gree-Edge and Bak with HTC in 2011. In 2012 Bak also won an individual stage when the race finished in Sestri Levante. Unless something unusual happens today, they're unlikely to make it to the finish.

30km remaining from 172km

Less than two kilometres to the intermediate sprint. Bouhanni will be happy to see two riders out front to mop up the top points, but this could still play a crucial roll in the points competition.

Nacer Bouhanni takes third in the intermediate sprint. He flew out of the group just before that final corner. Bak took the points in the leading group.

Bouhanni's lead in the points competition is now 38 points. There are 50 points available at the finish for the winner, so this is not yet a done deal for the Frenchman. But as one supermarket says, every little helps.

22km remaining from 172km

The two leaders hold a slim advantage as they head towards the line for the sixth time. There will be three laps remaining after this passage.

20km remaining from 172km

As the peloton cross the line, the two leaders have only 14 seconds on them. This is going to get closed down very soon.

It is Cannondale on the front of the peloton. They haven't taken a victory during this Giro d'Italia. Elia Viviani has come close, but has been edged out on every ocassion.

17km remaining from 172km

Pirazzi attacks on the climb, taking two more riders with him from Astana and Colombia. They catch the two leaders.

The Astana rider is Mikel Landa and Carlos Quintero is the rider from Colombia.

Pirazzi is pushing the leading group and the peloton are desperatly chasing with only two laps remaining. They'll get the bell next time over the line.

13km remaining from 172km

A mixture of teams up at the front of the peloton. One Cannondale rider right at the front, with Sky, QuickStep and Colombia riders behind him.

Deignan is now leading the chase with 11km to go. He's working for Ben Swift. Sky are another team who are yet to take a stage win at this year's Giro d'Italia.

The pace is  very quick now. The leaders have been caught and Pirazzi is already hanging off the back of the group.

10km remaining from 172km

Bongiorno attacks

Bongiorno was denied victory yesterday and he's unlikely to do it today. Cataldo is quick to get in his wheel and stops him from making any ground at all.

8km remaining from 172km

Hepburn pushes the pace and makes a small gap, but Bongiorno goes once again

The speed is so high that no rider can get more than a couple of metres on the peloton before they are caught. The peloton is almost in single file at the moment.

7km remaining from 172km

The riders get the bell and we've got one lap left.

It's still Sky and Trek doing all of the work. FDJ are happy to let the other teams do the work and save their energy. GreenEdge rider Michael Hepburn is looming in the middle of the Sky riders.

5km remaining from 172km

FDJ begin to move up to the front as the peloton bunches together with the reduction in pace.

3km remaining from 172km

The riders hit the small climb before the finish and the pace goes right back up again. Teams are fighting for position at the front.

Adam Hansen tries to attack o the final climb, but he can't do it.

2km remaining from 172km

A number of riders trying their hand, but they still can't make one stick. This is going to come down to a bunch sprint.

1km remaining from 172km

Daniel Oss does manage to get a small gap on the descent. Cannondale are chasing

Oss is caught

1km remaining from 172km

we're under the flamme rouge

Trek Factory racing leading things

Mezgec wins

It was a straight bunch sprint with five riders spread across the road. Mezgec edged it out. It looks like Farrar took second but we wait for confirmation.

Nairo Quintana thumps the air as he crosses the line and takes the timie to hug all of his teammates. The maglia rosa is swamped by the press.

In that sprint, FDJ lead it out, Ferrari went first, but he lost ground quickly. Mezgec came right from the back to overtake all the others. This is his first Grand Tour stage win and the third for Giant-Shimano at this Giro d'Italia.

Here is how today's stage finished.

 

1 Luka Mezgec (Slo) Team Giant-Shimano
2 Giacomo Nizzolo (Ita) Trek Factory Racing
3 Tyler Farrar (USA) Garmin Sharp
4 Nacer Bouhanni (Fra) FDJ.fr
5 Roberto Ferrari (Ita) Lampre-Merida
6 Leonardo Fabio Duque (Col) Colombia
7 Luca Paolini (Ita) Team Katusha
8 Tosh Van Der Sande (Bel) Lotto Belisol
9 Borut Bozic (Slo) Astana Pro Team
10 Iljo Keisse (Bel) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team

Rigoberto Uran managed to make five nine seconds on Nairo Quintana today, but the Movistar rider still has a comfortable gap. Here is the final general classification

 

1 Nairo Alexander Quintana Rojas (Col) Movistar Team
2 Rigoberto Uran Uran (Col) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team 0:02:58
3 Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana Pro Team 0:04:04
4 Pierre Rolland (Fra) Team Europcar 0:05:46
5 Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) AG2R La Mondiale 0:06:41
6 Rafal Majka (Pol) Tinkoff-Saxo 0:07:13
7 Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling Team 0:11:09
8 Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC Racing Team 0:12:00
9 Ryder Hesjedal (Can) Garmin Sharp 0:13:35
10 Robert Kiserlovski (Cro) Trek Factory Racing 0:15:49

A delighted Nairo Quintana spoke at the finish:

"It was very difficult to explain how much happyness is inside of me. It's one of the happiest days of my life. Thanks to my team and my family."

That is all from us today and all from us at the Giro d'Italia 2014. We hope you enjoyed it. As ever, you can get the full report, gallery and results here and you can subscribe to our YouTube channel here.

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