Route map of the 2016 Giro d'ItaliaThe 2016 Giro d’Italia looks set to end in a way that few would have expected just two days ago, with Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) set to ride into Turin on the last day in the pink jersey.

The Italian finished sixth on stage 20, after winning stage 19, and put all his GC rivals to the sword.

Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) also had a decent day, dragging himself from fourth to second overall.

Overnight leader Esteban Chaves (Orica-GreenEdge) could not stick with Nibali and sees his overall win slip through his fingers on the final climbs of the three week race.

Steve Kruijswijk (LottoNL-Jumbo) battled through the stage with a broken rib, an injury he picked up in a crash on stage 19 that took him from assured overall winner down to outside chance. He could not rally on the final climbs and slipped to fourth overall.

Stage 21 is a ceremonial procession into Turin that should end in a bunch sprint and have no impact on the GC.

Overall standings after stage 20

1. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana, at 82-44-31
2. Esteban Chaves (Col) Orica-GreenEdge, at 52s
3. Alejandro Valverde (Esp) Movistar, at 1-17
4. Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) LottoNL-Jumbo, at 1-50
5. Rafal Majka (Pol) Tinkoff, at 4-37
6. Bob Jungels (Lux) Etixx-Quick Step, at 8-31
7. Rigoberto Uran (Col) Cannondale, at 11-47
8. Andrey Amador (CRC) Movistar, at 13-21
9. Darmin Atapuma (Col) BMC, at 14-09
10. Kanstantsin Siusou (Blr), at 16-20

Giro d’Italia 2016 preview

The Giro d’Italia runs from May 6 to May 29.

The first of the year’s Grand Tours, the Giro d’Italia marks a chance for some of the world’s best riders to claim a major victory. Thrilling and often brutally tough, its unpredictability makes it a highlight of the calendar for many fans, even ahead of the more lauded Tour de France.

The 99th edition of the race will start away from home with a time trial in the Dutch city of Apeldoorn. Two road stages in the Netherlands will follow, before a rest day and the resumption of the race in Catanzaro in Italy’s far south.

Giro d’Italia favourites

Present champion Alberto Contador will not defend his title, but will instead focus on winning the Tour de France, meaning a new Giro d’Italia champion will be crowned in 2016.

Astana have headed off any internal rivalries early by pointing Vincenzo Nibali towards the Giro and will give Fabio Aru a tilt at the Tour. Nibali suffered in France last year, despite eventually finishing fourth overall and taking a stage win, but will be hoping to recapture some better Grand Tour form at his home race.

New general classification hopefuls will get a chance to shine during the race, including Steven Kruijswijk (LottoNL-Jumbo), Esteban Chaves (Orica-GreenEdge) and Bob Jungels (Etixx-QuickStep).

Pre-race contenders Mikel Landa (Sky) and Tom Dumoulin (Giant-Alpecin) both withdrew.

Following some tough mountain stages at the 2015 Vuelta a España, the Giro d’Italia has followed suit and there are three stages – stage 14, 19 and 20 – in particular that look especially brutal, including a pass over the 2016 Cima Coppi on the Colle Dell’Agnello.

Not only that, but the race will feature three time trials with a particularly horrendous outing for the riders on an entirely uphill effort on stage 15’s TT up the 10.8km Alpe di Siusi.

The race starts on May 6 and will finish in Turin on May 29.

Full profile of the 2016 Giro d'Italia

Key info: Route guide | Start list | Contenders | TV guide

Key riders: Vincenzo Nibali | Alejandro Valverde

Previous editions: 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010