Good afternoon and welcome to coverage of Stage 20 - Cannobbio to Cantů.
We join the race in progress - a short stage today. Additional commentary by Fabio.
With 70 kilometres to go the peloton is still together and setting a high pace - 47km/h. Here's some information from earlier in the race.
The 133-km. long penultimate stage (and last chance for the few sprinters left) got underway in Cannobbio at 13.52 local time.
Right after the gun, Denis Lunghi, Rinaldo Nocentini and Bo Hamburger tried to go clear, but the peloton quickly nullified their attempt.
The very first part of the stage was marked by a few skirmishes, but the peloton kept regrouped, with the Lampre guys setting the pace.
Some 20 minutes into the stage, Mercatone's veteran Fabiano "Mortadella" Fontanelli made his move and put 100m into the field, but he was brought back soon.
Later on, it was the turn of Nocentini (again) and Johan Verstrepen, but they couldn't escape the marshalling of a peloton riding at almost 50 km/h.
The next move came from Leonardo Zanotti, immediately joined by Britain's Road Champion Julian Winn. But they couldn't stay clear longer than a couple minutes. Such that, when the peloton hit the town of Stresa on the Maggiore Lake shores, it was "Gruppo compatto" (and led by the Lampres) again.
After such a fast start, the pace slowed down a little, and one hour into the stage the average speed was 44.500 km/h.
And after such a hectic start, even the peloton kept taking it easier, with few or no more breakaway attempts, and Saeco now riding tempo up front at this point in the race.
Simoni is on his Custom Spider bike today as featured in DP article 3830, as the Saeco team now lead the peloton.
Once again huge crowds line the route as the colourful site of the peloton speeds along.
And now an attack comes from the peloton - it is Raffaele Illiano of Colombia Selle Italia.
At km. 66 mark Rinaldo Nocentini crashed, but quickly got on his bike again.
Illiano's move has awakened the peloton and a stream of attacks, including Julian Winn - trying to make the move.
Illiano still out in the lead on his own - he won the Giro del Lago Maggiore this year - his first year as a pro.
The peloton is finally starting to split up. Mario Manzoni, Gobbi, Winn, and maybe another 10 riders try to gain an advantage.
Michele Gobbi (De Nardi) now leads the race - he is putting in a huge effort to get clear.
The rest of the attackers are pulled back by the Lampre-led peloton - Gobbi is on his own.
Now another spate of attacks peel off the front; every team will be desperate for a stage win today, the last day of road racing.
Once again Lampre pull them back - except Gobbi who ploughs on.
The peloton now one long string - Gobbi has 15 seconds advantage.
It will be very difficult for any one to stay clear today, the gap is at 23 seconds.
Now Gabriele Colombo attacks, he passes Gobbi and continues on.
Giovanni Lombardi joins Colombo and the two Zebra men form a dangerous duo at the front.
But they are joined by around 14 other riders to form a dangerous looking leading group.
The peloton is now split into three - two leading groups and the Saeco-led main peloton.
16 men in the first group and ten men chasing - they have not built up a working lead but with no one in any danger to the "Cannibal" Simoni...maybe the Lord of the Giro will be in generous mood and allow one of the attacking groups to succeed.
Certainly most teams are represented by the men in the breaks - so no other team would chase them down.
Pantani and two of his team mates have made the break which also includes Winn, now Pantani attacks again!
He is with team mate Cristian Gasperoni - The Pirate is certainly in fighting form this afternoon.
He is joined by Sandy Casar and Lunghi and these four men now lead the race by 9 seconds over the other chasers.
Lorenzo Bernucci now bridges the gap to the four men and Giuliano Figueras also tries to bridge the gap.
30 kilometres to go and the race still very animated with attack after attack, as various small groups peel off the front and try to form a working group.
Behind, the Saeco red train is like a Pacman eating up the stragglers who have not made the leading group.
Giuliano Figueras, Eddy Mazzoleni, Gasperoni, and Zaballa are now in a leading group of 4 men - several riders between them and the Saeco led-peloton as Marco Velo (Fassa) tries another attack from the peloton.
25 kilometres to go - Giovanni Lombardi tries again with Velo to get a working lead.
It's Velo and Colombo now at the head of affairs - two great riders who are strong enough to make their lead stick.
They have 1'40 on the pink jersey.
Velo and Colombo, both champions in their own right, are giving a display of duo riding.
They have 15 seconds now on Backstedt and two other chasing men, and 1'40 on the pink jersey.
20km to go - Velo and Colombo pass under the banner.
Vladimir Miholievic (Croatia), Backstedt and Gianni Faresin are trying to attack from the reformed chasers.
Velo and Colombo still clear and doing a perfect two-up time trial.
It is a rolling, undulating course - hard on the legs as Mazzoleni tries to attack out from the chasers - and what a great Giro he has had.
Still, Velo and Colombo in the lead as they go under the 15 km to go flag - Mazzoleni is chasing them down and is about 7 seconds back.
Velo and Colombo now have two minutes on the main peloton which is being lead by the Di Nardi boys.
Huge crowds cheer the riders on - Di Nardi leading the chase from the peloton, Velo and Lombardi in the lead and maybe 6 riders in no man's land.
Figueras has now joined up with Eddy Mazzoleni, so four great riders battling it out. Velo and Lombardi have 17'' on Mazzoleni and Figueras.
The peloton still two minutes back.
10 kilometres to go. Velo and Lombardi, Mazzoleni and Figueras, then a larger group of chasers including Pantani, then the peloton.
Velo seems to be holding his St. Christopher in his mouth...for good luck?
We have been misreading the back number - it's not Colombo but Lombardi who has been with Velo. Apologies.
Mazzoleni has bridged the gap and attacks. He has made his move and now leads the race.
If any one deserves a stage win it is Mazzoleni - Figueras also passes Velo and Lomdardi.
5 kilometres to go - Mazzoleni in the lead. Figueras chasing - Velo and Lombardi behind them now.
Now Velo and Lombardi catch Figueras - meanwhile 2 minutes back Simoni is looking cool and fresh in the peloton.
Mazzoleni powers on! It is a bold move - he has 4 kilometres to hang on.
Behind him the chasing group, led by Mercatone Uno trying to bridge the gap.
Mazzoleni still at the front of the race - while Lombardi is now chasing hard to bring him back.
Lombardi bridges the gap back to Mazzoleni, two men in the front of the race.
Ah but the two are not working well together - they have 2 kilometres to go but must keep the pace high.
Velo and Figueras still chasing hard - behind them the Mercatone Uno hordes are piling the pressure on - behind them Simoni pretty in pink...
Last Kilometre the 4 men are all together Velo, Mazzoleni, Figueras and Lombardi. They are finessing.
500 metres. Now Mazzoleni attacks.
He is off his bike, gasping for air - these four men rode a magnificent race against the peloton and themselves.
Now the peloton comes in a mass of red shirts at the front - they roll over the finish and the Saeco men look relieved to have delivered their pink package safely home.
1) Lombardi 2) Mazzoleni 3) Figueras 4) Velo - the sprint clean and fair in spite of a pink balloon (well, what other colour) bouncing between Mazzoleni's wheels.
No change on the General Classification of any note.
So an exciting last stage to what has been an awe-inspiring race. Interesting to note that, once again, one of the main protagonists of the day was Pantani and his Mercatone Uno team. He has many critics but he does animate races - and races need to be exciting as today's was.
Excellent work though from Lombardi, Mazzoleni, Velo and Figueras - 4 world class athletes who have provided a stirling fight. Tomorrow's time trial will be about the battle for the podium between Popovych, the young pretender, and Garzelli, the former winner.
Thanks very much for joining us today, and see you tomorrow!
1 Lombardi 3h05'30"
2 Mazzoleni s.t.
3 Figueras s.t.
4 Velo s.t.
5 Manzoni a 4"
1 Simoni 88h51'51"
2 Garzelli a 8'04"
3 Popovych a 8'06"
4 Noč a 9'49"
5 Totschnig a 10'35"
Stage 20 Results
1 Lombardi Giovanni Ita Dve 3:05:30 /20" (43,018 Km/H)
2 Mazzoleni Eddy Ita Vin 0:00 /18"
3 Figueras Giuliano Ita Pan s.t. /8"
4 Velo Marco Ita Fas s.t.
5 Manzoni Mario Ita Mer 0:04
6 Lanfranchi Paolo Ita Pan s.t.
7 Gobbi Michele Ita Dnc s.t.
8 Zaballa Gutierez Constan Esp Kel s.t. /2"
9 Baliani Fortunato Ita Fpf s.t.
10 Duma Vladimir Ukr Lan s.t.
11 Miholievic Vladimir Cro Als s.t.
12 Barbero Sergio Ita Lam s.t.
13 Winn Juilian Gbr Fak s.t.
14 Pozzi Oscar Ita Ten s.t.
15 Pantani Marco Ita Mer s.t.
16 De Angeli Luca Ita Clm s.t.
17 Lunghi Denis Ita Als s.t.
18 Casar Sandy Fra Fdj s.t. /4"
19 Faresin Gianni Ita Gst s.t.
20 Bileka Volodimir Ukr Lan s.t.
21 Romanik Radoslaw Pol Ccc s.t.
22 Sunderland Scott Aus Fak s.t.
23 Nocentini Rinaldo Ita Fpf s.t.
24 Colombo Gabriele Ita Dve s.t.
25 Codol Massimo Ita Mer 0:12
26 Gasperoni Cristian Ita Mer 0:12
27 Bernucci Lorenzo Ita Lan 0:25
28 Stremersch Tom Bel Lan 1:42
29 Tonti Andrea Ita Sae s.t.
30 Fornaciari Paolo Ita Sae s.t.
31 Bertagnolli Leonardo Ita Sae s.t.
32 Spezialetti Alessandro Ita Sae s.t.
33 Riera Valls Jordi Esp Kel s.t.
34 Illiano Raffaele Ita Clm s.t.
35 Sabaliauskas Marius Ltu Sae s.t.
36 Verstrepen Johan Bel Lan s.t.
37 Popovych Yaroslav Ukr Lan s.t.
38 Simoni Gilberto Ita Sae s.t.
39 Cunego Damiano Ita Sae s.t.
40 Noe' Andrea Ita Als s.t.
41 Garzelli Stefano Ita Vin s.t.
42 Totschnig Georg Aut Gst s.t.
43 Rumsas Raimondas Ltu Lam s.t.
44 Gerosa Mauro Ita Vin s.t.
45 Trampusch Gerhard Aut Gst s.t.
46 Hardter Uwe Ger Gst s.t.
47 Gonzalez Jimenez Aitor Esp Fas s.t.
48 Andriotto Dario Ita Vin s.t.
49 Garcia Quesada Adolfo Esp Kel s.t.
50 Tonetti Gianluca Ita Ten s.t.
51 Gonzalez Martinez Fredy Col Clm s.t.
52 Gasparre Graziano Ita Dnc s.t.
53 Scamardella Salvatore Ita Lan s.t.
54 Frattini Cristiano Ita Ten s.t.
55 Dacruz Carlos Fra Fdj s.t.
56 Adyeyev Sergiy Ukr Lan s.t.
57 Honchar Serhiy Ukr Dnc s.t.
58 Frigo Dario Ita Fas s.t.
59 Pietropolli Daniele Ita Ten s.t.
60 Baranowski Dariusz Pol Ccc s.t.
61 Pellizotti Franco Ita Als s.t.
62 Chmielewski Piotr Pol Ccc s.t.
63 Belli Wladimir Ita Lam s.t.
64 Brozyna Thomas Pol Ccc s.t.
65 Laverde Jimenez Luis F Col Fpf s.t.
66 Vila Errandonea Franc Esp Lam s.t.
67 Munoz Hernan D Col Clm s.t.
68 Svorada Jan Cze Lam s.t.
69 Zampieri Steve Sui Vin s.t.
70 Moerenhout Koos Ned Lot s.t.
71 Hamburger Bo Den Fpf s.t.
72 Joergensen Rene' Den Fak s.t.
73 Usano Martinez Julian Esp Kel s.t.
74 Eisel Bernhard Aut Fdj s.t.
75 Bruseghin Marzio Ita Fas s.t.
76 Zanotti Leonardo Ita Dnc s.t.
77 Szmyd Sylvester Pol Mer s.t.
78 Secchiari Francesco Ita Dve s.t.
79 Kirchen Kim Lux Fas s.t.
80 Wegelius Charles Gbr Dnc s.t.
81 Cheula Gian Paolo Ita Vin s.t.
82 Castelblanco Joaquim Col Clm s.t.
83 Scirea Mario Ita Dve s.t.
84 Caucchioli Pietro Ita Als s.t.
85 Scarponi Michele Ita Dve s.t.
86 Baldato Fabio Ita Als s.t.
87 Marin Ruber Alverio Col Clm s.t.
88 Gutierrez Cataluna Ignacio Esp Kel s.t.
89 Backstedt Magnus Swe Fak s.t.
90 Clavero Daniel Esp Mer s.t.
91 Massi Rodolfo Ita Clm s.t.
92 Conti Roberto Ita Mer 1:42
93 Quinziato Manuel Ita Lam 1:42
94 Fontanelli Fabiano Ita Mer 1:42
95 Mesa Mesa Hector O Col Fpf 1:42
96 Giordani Leonardo Ita Dnc 3:09
97 Bertoletti Simone Ita Lam 4:46
General Classification after Stage 20 (Maglia Rosa)
1 Simoni Gilberto Ita Sae 88:51:51
2 Garzelli Stefano Ita Vin 8:04
3 Popovych Yaroslav Ukr Lan 8:06
4 Noe' Andrea Ita Als 9:49
5 Totschnig Georg Aut Gst 10:35
6 Rumsas Raimondas Ltu Lam 11:01
7 Frigo Dario Ita Fas 12:38
8 Pellizotti Franco Ita Als 14:21
9 Honchar Serhiy Ukr Dnc 16:28
10 Mazzoleni Eddy Ita Vin 19:45
11 Belli Wladimir Ita Lam 20:17
12 Baranowski Dariusz Pol Ccc 22:31
13 Pantani Marco Ita Mer 25:38
14 Casar Sandy Fra Fdj 25:59
15 Codol Massimo Ita Mer 28:23
16 Scarponi Michele Ita Dve 28:41
17 Faresin Gianni Ita Gst 33:59
18 Garcia Quesada Adolfo Esp Kel 39:51
19 Lanfranchi Paolo Ita Pan 41:42
20 Gonzalez Jimenez Aitor Esp Fas 43:23
21 Velo Marco Ita Fas 45:05
22 Bruseghin Marzio Ita Fas 48:06
23 Sunderland Scott Aus Fak 48:51
24 Szmyd Sylvester Pol Mer 50:30
25 Caucchioli Pietro Ita Als 53:42
Points Classification after Stage 20 (Maglia Ciclamino)
1 Simoni Gilberto Ita Sae 154
2 Garzelli Stefano Ita Vin 145
3 Svorada Jan Cze Lam 137
4 Backstedt Magnus Swe Fak 112
5 Mazzoleni Eddy Ita Vin 91
6 Lombardi Giovanni Ita Dve 81
7 Popovych Yaroslav Ukr Lan 81
8 Frigo Dario Ita Fas 70
9 Noe' Andrea Ita Als 66
10 Eisel Bernhard Aut Fdj 64
11 Gonzalez Jimenez Aitor Esp Fas 51
12 Rumsas Raimondas Ltu Lam 49
13 Pellizotti Franco Ita Als 48
14 Figueras Giuliano Ita Pan 46
15 Gasparre Graziano Ita Dnc 46
16 Totschnig Georg Aut Gst 45
17 Zaballa Gutierez Constan Esp Kel 44
18 Lanfranchi Paolo Ita Pan 38
19 Pantani Marco Ita Mer 37
20 Honchar Serhiy Ukr Dnc 36
21 Velo Marco Ita Fas 36
22 Duma Vladimir Ukr Lan 35
23 Casar Sandy Fra Fdj 34
24 Colombo Gabriele Ita Dve 32
25 Baldato Fabio Ita Als 29
KOM after Stage 20 (Maglia Verde)
1 Gonzalez Martinez Fredy Col Clm 100
2 Simoni Gilberto Ita Sae 78
3 Zaballa Gutierez Constan Esp Kel 65
4 Garzelli Stefano Ita Vin 36
5 Frigo Dario Ita Fas 29
6 Lanfranchi Paolo Ita Pan 24
7 Bruseghin Marzio Ita Fas 15
8 Popovych Yaroslav Ukr Lan 12
9 Totschnig Georg Aut Gst 12
10 Noe' Andrea Ita Als 10
11 Mazzoleni Eddy Ita Vin 9
12 Rumsas Raimondas Ltu Lam 8
13 Baranowski Dariusz Pol Ccc 6
14 Lunghi Denis Ita Als 6
15 Gobbi Michele Ita Dnc 6
16 Baliani Fortunato Ita Fpf 5
17 Sunderland Scott Aus Fak 4
18 Backstedt Magnus Swe Fak 4
19 Gonzalez Jimenez Aitor Esp Fas 3
20 Lombardi Giovanni Ita Dve 3
21 Laverde Jimenez Luis F Col Fpf 3
22 Pellizotti Franco Ita Als 2
23 Pantani Marco Ita Mer 2
24 Faresin Gianni Ita Gst 2
25 Velo Marco Ita Fas 2
Intergiro Competition after Stage 20 (Maglia Azzura)
1 Backstedt Magnus Swe Fak 49:57:18
2 Svorada Jan Cze Lam 1:50
3 Zaballa Gutierez Constan Esp Kel 2:14
4 Baliani Fortunato Ita Fpf 2:54
5 Gonzalez Jimenez Aitor Esp Fas 3:14
6 Casar Sandy Fra Fdj 3:18
7 Gutierrez Cataluna Ignacio Esp Kel 3:24
8 Mazzoleni Eddy Ita Vin 3:42
9 Winn Juilian Gbr Fak 3:42
10 Gonzalez Martinez Fredy Col Clm 3:42
11 Gobbi Michele Ita Dnc 3:45
12 Fontanelli Fabiano Ita Mer 3:45
13 Hamburger Bo Den Fpf 3:45
14 Faresin Gianni Ita Gst 3:46
15 Sunderland Scott Aus Fak 3:48
16 Miholievic Vladimir Cro Als 3:48
17 Nocentini Rinaldo Ita Fpf 3:48
18 Usano Martinez Julian Esp Kel 3:48
19 Honchar Serhiy Ukr Dnc 3:48
20 Frattini Cristiano Ita Ten 3:49
21 Eisel Bernhard Aut Fdj 3:54
22 Pozzi Oscar Ita Ten 3:58
23 Adyeyev Sergiy Ukr Lan 3:58
24 Brozyna Thomas Pol Ccc 3:58
25 Illiano Raffaele Ita Clm 3:58
Trade Team after Stage 20 (Fast Team)
1 Saeco - Macchine Per Caffe' 267:37:29
2 Lampre 0:44
3 Alessio 4:33
4 Vini Caldirola - Sidermec 20:19
5 Fassa Bortolo 23:30
6 Mercatone Uno - Scanavino 30:18
7 Gerolsteiner 51:45
8 CCC Polsat 54:21
9 Kelme - Costa Blanca 1:12:34
10 De Nardi - Colpack 1:13:28
11 Landbouwkrediet - Colnago 1:18:18
12 Colombia - Selle Italia 1:56:48
13 Formaggi Pinzolo Fiave' - Ciarrocchi 2:36:44
14 Fdjeux.Com 2:37:29
15 Team Fakta - Pata Chips 2:45:22
16 Domina Vacanze - Elitron 2:59:29
17 Tenax 4:14:12
Grateful acknowledgement to Gazzetta dello Sport/Giro d'Italia for the daily results.