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Giro d'Italia Stage 21: Contador confirms 2nd Giro win as Millar gets Grand Tour ITT hat-trick

Spaniard set for Giro-Tour double as Garmin-Cervelo's British rider adds Giro ITT to TDF and Vuelta wins...

Britain's David Millar completed a hat-trick of Grand Tour individual time trial wins in Milan today, taking his first Giro stage to add to previous wins in the Vuelta and Tour de France, as  Alberto Contador this afternoon sealed his overall victory in the 2011 Giro d'Italia. Michele Scarponi of Lampre-ISD held onto second place in the general classification despite Liquigas Cannondale's Vincenzo Nibali taking 10 seconds back from him today.

Millar’s time put him 7 seconds ahead of second-placed Alex Rasmussen of HTC-Highroad, with Contador himself the third quickest rider on the 26km course, 36 seconds behind the winner. The Scot, a past team time trial winner in the Giro, had never before won an individual stage in it, whether on the road or against the clock, although he did wear the maglia rosa earlier in this year’s race.

After winning the sixth Grand Tour of his career, Contador will now head to France in July to attempt not only to claim his fourth Tour de France overall title in five years, but also become the first man to land the Giro-Tour double since Marco Pantani in 1998.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) had been due to rule in a fortnight’s time on the appeal brought by the World Anti-doping Agency and the UCI against Contador being cleared of doping charges by the Spanish national federation, the RFEC, following his positive test for clenbuterol in last year’s Tour de France.

That appeal has now been postponed, however, and is not now likely to take place till after July’s race. Should the appeal go against Contador and the Saxo Bank-Sungard rider be banned, he is likely to be stripped of his 2010 Tour de France win.

It is less clear what would happen to his 2011 Giro d’Italia victory plus any other results achieved since he returned to racing. Some expect that he would be stripped of all results subsequent to last year’s Tour de France, but there have been reports that his results this year would stand, since Contador has been cleared to race by his national federation.

Today, as wearer of the maglia rosa, Contador was the final rider off at two minutes before 5pm local time, and straight from the start ramp he was pedalling with purpose in pursuit of the time set my Millar, silver medallist behind Fabian Cancellara in the World Championships in Geelong last year.

The 34-year-old Scot had started the day in 104th position on the general classification, three and a quarter hours down on Contador, and zipped round the course, which had been shortened as a result of local elections being held in Milan, in a time of 30 minutes and 30 seconds at an average speed of 51.6kph.

Contador was the only rider to get inside Millar’s time of 10 minutes 21 seconds at the first intermediate check, and then only by 1 second. However, by the second time check, the Spaniard had lost ten seconds on the Garmin-Cervélo rider as his pace eased up on the second half of the course.

Logistical and personnel issues caused by local elections being held today in Milan had caused the length of the course to be shortened and that, as well as the margin of the lead Contador held this morning, perhaps added to a sense of anti-climax today.

Also contributing to that was the fact much of the course was based around the car parks and approach roads surounding the huge trade fair area to the north west of the city centre.

The riders then headed past what, by the standards of the Giro, perhaps the most picturesque of cycling’s three Grand Tours to the television viewer, was a drab suburban backdrop on its way to the finish in front of the city’s vast Gothic cathedral, the third largest church in the world.

There too there was little hint of the majestic setting for those watching TV, with both the cathedral itself and the neighbouring Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II obscured by a mass of signage and poor use of camera angles.

That was a minor detail though at the end of a three week race that was overshadowed by the death in a crash on Stage 3 of Wouter Weylandt’s, the riders today passing over a finish line that bore the Leopard Trek rider’s race number, 108, as well as his initials.

Never far from the thoughts of anyone connected to the race over the past fortnight, the 26-year-old Belgian, ‘sempre con noi’ – ‘always with us’ – as countless banners and the presentation stage proclaimed, made it to the end of the 2011 Giro d’Italia after all.

Giro d’Italia Stage 21 result 
1  MILLAR David          Garmin-Cervelo           30:13
2  RASMUSSEN Alex        HTC-Highroad              0:07
3  CONTADOR Alberto      Saxo Bank-SunGard         0:36
4  PORTE Richie          Saxo Bank-SunGard         0:43
5  POPOVYCH Yaroslav     RadioShack                0:55
6  VAN EMDEN Jos         Rabobank                  1:02
7  MEYER Cameron         Garmin-Cervelo            1:04
8  GRETSCH Patrick       HTC-Highroad              1:08
9  MACHADO Tiago         RadioShack                1:12
10 SIVTSOV Kanstantsin   HTC-Highroad              1:16
11 NIBALI Vincenzo       Liquigas-Cannondale       1:18
12 MONTAGUTI Matteo      AG2R                      1:19
13 KIRYIENKA Vasili      Movistar                  1:22
14 VANDEWALLE Kristof    Quickstep                 1:24
15 LANG Sebastian        Omega Pharma-Lotto        1:26
16 KREUZIGER Roman       Astana                    1:26
17 SCARPONI Michele      Lampre-ISD                1:28
18 FLENS Rick            Rabobank                  1:28
   Movistar                  1:30
20 KRUIJSWIJK Steven     Rabobank                  1:31

Giro d’Italia Final General Classification 
1  CONTADOR Alberto      Saxo Bank-SunGard     84:05:14
2  SCARPONI Michele      Lampre-ISD                6:10
3  NIBALI Vincenzo       Liquigas-Cannondale       6:56
4  GADRET John           AG2R                     10:04
5  RODRIGUEZ Joaquin     Katusha                  11:05
6  KREUZIGER Roman       Astana                   11:28
7  RUJANO Jose           Androni-Giocattoli       12:12
8  MENCHOV Denis         Geox-TMC                 12:18
9  KRUIJSWIJK Steven     Rabobank                 13:51
10 SIVTSOV Kanstantsin   HTC-Highroad             14:10
 Giro d’Italia Final Points Classification 
1  CONTADOR Alberto      Saxo Bank-SunGard      202 Pts
2  SCARPONI Michele      Lampre-ISD             122 Pts
3  NIBALI Vincenzo       Liquigas-Cannondale    121 Pts
4  RUJANO Jose           Androni Giocattoli     107 Pts
5  GADRET John           AG2R                    97 Pts

Giro d’Italia Final Mountains Classification 
1  STEFANO Garzelli      Acqua & Sapone          67 Pts
2  CONTADOR Alberto      Saxo Bank-SunGard       58 Pts
3  RUJANO Jose           Androni Giocattoli      43 Pts
4  NIEVE Mikel           Euskaltel-Euskadi       39 Pts
5  BRAMBILLA Gianluca    Colnago-CSF Inox        38 Pts
 Giro d’Italia Final Young Rider Classification

1  KREUZIGER Roman       Astana                84:16:42
2  KRUIJSWIJK Steven     Rabobank                  2:23
3  STETINA Peter         Garmin-Cervelo           38:41
4  BAKELANDTS Jan        Omega Pharma-Lotto       43:39
5  DE CLERCQ Bart        Omega Pharma-Lotto       52:57

Simon joined as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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skippy | 12 years ago

COMMERCIAL DECISION to allow Alberto to continue racing since it FILLS the coffers ofb ALL !

@hill108 and established to honour the memory of Wouter and also assist Para Sport !

Perhaps "Cat & Fiddle" or the Dorking hill could be so designated for those living in the UK ?

Pass the word so that others can participate !

williamtenison | 12 years ago

This is crazy! It seems as though the final decision on Contador's doping is getting delayed and delayed! What are the odds that he'll manage to keep delaying it until his career is over. Surely if he truly was innocent, he would want to get it over and done with, to prove that he hasn't doped.

stevefisher | 12 years ago

so contador could be the first person since Pantani to win the Giro and the TdF in the same year.....

no irony there then

gbzpto | 12 years ago

so the points classification finished pretty much the same as the overall classification - ummm

Simon_MacMichael replied to gbzpto | 12 years ago
gbzpto wrote:

so the points classification finished pretty much the same as the overall classification - ummm

Yes, it reflects the way the Giro allocates points nowadays - all stages (other than time trials where points aren't given) are treated equally, unlike in the Tour de France where more weight is given to flat stages.

So with the race being particularly climber-friendly this year, it was always going to favour the GC riders, especially with only one 'traguardo volante' (intermediate sprint) on each stage, usually coming late on.

It does show though the way that Contador led the race from the front, and I think that the time bonuses on offer for the first three riders in each stage played a big part - rather than the GC riders going across in a group, there was an incentive to attack inside the last kiolometre or two and pick up some time, again a difference between the Giro and the TDF where there are no longer any time bonuses at the stage finish.

The Giro points classification didn't mirror the GC quite so closely last year, Cadel Evans won the points classification from Alexander Vinokourov, but those two were still 5th and 6th in the overall standings.

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