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Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) proved beyond doubt that he is the most deserving of overall victory of all the riders in the 2013 Giro d’Italia.
The Shark rode away from his rivals on 18 per cent gradients, shrugging off a snow storm to all but seal victory on stage 20, the penultimate stage of the 96th corsa rosa.
The snow-caked Columbian trio who crossed the line behind him did so with shell-shocked expressions, reeling as much from the conditions perhaps, as the ferocity of Nibali’s assault.
Cadel Evans (BMC Racing) proved again that he is among the most courageous performers in world cycling, visibly imparting every ounce of his being into forward motion in a desperate but failed bid to retain second overall.
For Mark Cavendish, a second consecutive bid for the red jersey will continue to the finish. The Manx Missile lost out to Joaquim Rodriguez on the final stage last year, and saw his points total overhauled by Nibali on this year’s penultimate stage.
None of the riders who finished stage 20 can be disappointed, however. Stefano Sirotti was on hand to capture these dramatic images of some of the hardest men in sport.