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It was the stage on which Team Sky’s Bradley Wiggins was supposed to cement victory in the 2013 Giro d’Italia.
With the Tour de France champion long having said “arrivederci” to the Giro, the feared mountain time trial provided an unlikely setting for Vincenzo Nibali to prove his total dominance of the 96th corsa rosa.
The Italian motored up an almost unbroken upward trajectory on the 20.6km test from Mori to Polsa, gaining over 1,000 metres of altitude along the way, at a completely different speed to the entire field.
His celebratory punch as he crossed the line echoed Wiggins’ display of triumph in Chartres when the Londoner knew he had sealed victory in the 2012 Tour de France.
Unhappily for Nibali, he has more than a ceremonial spin into the capital to contend with before his coronation.
The Dolomites await The Shark, with two stages containing the Stelvio, the Giau, the Gavia, and Tre Cime still to come before the wind down into Brescia on Sunday.
Official UCI WorldTour photographer, Stefano Sirotti, captured these superb images from today’s eighteenth stage of an enthralling Giro d’Italia.