Dutchman Tom Dumoulin limited his losses in the penultimate stage won by France’s Thibaut Pinot on Saturday to stay in a good position to win the Giro d’Italia in the final time trial.
Nairo Quintana (Movistar) retained the overall lead but, with the first four riders within 53 seconds of the Colombian, the three-week race is set for a dramatic finale with a 29.3-km solo effort favouring Dumoulin.
Dumoulin (Sunweb) finished the 190-km stage between Pordenone and Asiago 15 seconds behind Pinot (FDJ), who beat Russian Ilnur Zakarin (Katusha) and defending champion Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida) for the stage 20 victory that also gave him a 10-second time bonus.
Italian Domenico Pozzovivo (AG2R-La Mondiale) took fourth place ahead of Quintana in the same time as Pinot with Dumoulin losing time after failing to follow the pure climbers in the last ascent.
“The time gaps are minimal and tomorrow is a flat time trial that is tailor-made for Dumoulin,” said Pinot.
Quintana leads Nibali by 39 seconds and Pinot by 43, with Dumoulin in fourth place overall 53 seconds off the pace.
Dumoulin, a time-trial specialist turned grand tour rider, has a big chance of leapfrogging the top three riders on Sunday in Milan to claim his maiden grand tour title.