29 May 2016 - 3:19 AM  UPDATED 29 May 2016 - 6:53 AM

Vincenzo Nibali's (Astana) late attack on the category one Colle della Lombarda climb broke Esteban Chaves (Orica-GreenEdge), the Giro d'Italia agonisingly slipping through the Colombian's fingers by just 52 seconds.

"It’s amazing. I didn’t believe I could win the Giro. It’s been a spectacular day really. I’ve benefited from an enormous amount of work by my team. I rode without the fear of losing anything but after yesterday, I understood that I was able to win the Giro. I attacked when I saw the others suffering. It’s wonderful". - Vincenzo Nibali.

Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) moved into third place on the podium distancing an injured Steven Kruijswijk (LottoNL-Jumbo) on the stage to finish 33 seconds ahead on general classification. 

But it was Rein Taarame (Katusha) who took stage honours. The Estonian attacked his breakaway companions on the Lombarda climb with around 14kms to the finish, soloing to victory. 

Nibali took his opportunity to pull clear from Valverde and Chaves, 3.5kms from the Lombarda summit. The pair had initially countered the Italian's earlier attack that successfully eluded the remaining contenders such as Kruijswijk, Bob Jungels (Etixx-Quickstep), Rigoberto Uran (Cannondale) and Rafal Majka (Tinkoff). 

Uran bridged the gap to assist compatriot Chaves but it was to no avail as the Orica-GreenEdge rider could not follow he or Valverde and fell back to the chasing group before the descent. 

Astana's tactics were again exemplary with Tanel Kangert in the breakaway falling back to help ensure Nibali's advantage grew beyond the required 44 seconds to seize Chaves' Maglia Rosa.

The break established itself early on and contained Kangert, Taaramae, Aleksey Rybalkin (Gazprom), Mikel Nieve (Sky), Joe Dombrowski (Cannondale), Stefan Denifl (IAM), Giovanni Visconti (Movistar), Darwin Atapuma (BMC) and Gianluca Brambilla (Etixx-QuickStep). 

An unspoken stalemate among the overall contenders to leave the fireworks until the last climb saw the breakaway take a maximum advantage of 10 minutes. Nieve attacked the group early on the Bonette climb to grab the king of the mountain classification from Damiano Cunego (Nippo Vini Fantini) who missed the break.  

Sunday 29 May 2016

  • Estonia is the 32nd country to join the list of Giro d’Italia stage winners thanks to Rein Taaramäe. The first Estonian to finish in the top 3 of a stage was Jaan Kirsipuu, second at Marina di Grosseto in 2005
  • For the second time in the history of the Giro, the race lead changed hands three times in the last four stages (Kruijswijk from stage 14 to 18, Chaves on stage 19, Nibali on stage 20). Previously, in 1913, the leaders were Eberardo Pavesi (stage 6), Giuseppe Azzini (stage 7) and Carlo Oriani (stages 8 and 9) - but the Maglia Rosa didn’t exist in those days
  • The last time a rider took the Maglia Rosa only on the penultimate stage was by Stefano Garzelli in 2000 after an individual time trial in Sestriere. Fausto Coppi also did so in 1953
  • For the second time in the history of the Giro d’Italia, eight different riders have led the race so far: Tom Dumoulin, Marcel Kittel, Gianluca Brambilla, Bob Jungels, Andrey Amador, Steven Kruijswijk, Esteban Chaves and Vincenzo Nibali. It previously happened in 1981 with Knut Knudsen, Guido Bontempi, Francesco Moser, Gregor Braun, Giuseppe Saronni, Roberto Visentini, Silvano Contini and eventual winner Giovanni Battaglin