The Basque rider, who worked tirelessly for his leaders Simon Yates and Esteban Chaves in the first 19 days, tooks his first opportunity on stage 20 to win solo from the breakaway.
Finishing with fight:
With one final opportunity in the mountains before the ceremonial roll in Rome tomorrow, Mitchelton-SCOTT were determined to finish off the Giro d'Italia with fight, putting two strong climbers in a breakaway of 27.
Nieve, Roman Kreuziger and their fellow escapees rode out to an advantage of five minutes on approach to the first climb.
Pushing the pace:
Kreuziger took responsibility for the pace of the breakaway on the first climb, dwindling the group down before swinging off and leaving eight survivors, including Nieve.
Going it alone:
With just over 30km remaining, and just Felix Grossschartner (Bora-Hansgrohe) and Gianluca Brambilla (Trek Factory Racing) for company, Nieve increased the pace and only Grossschartner could follow. A couple of minutes later, a second push was enough to snap the cord and Nieve drove himself in a solo position at the front of the race.
In a time trial down the descent and up the final climb, Nieve crossed the line two-minutes 17seconds ahead of second-placed Robert Gesink (LottoNL-Jumbo) as the GC battle played out further down the mountain.
“It has been a perfect day today, just the way I dreamed it and I am really happy for myself and for the team. After yesterday, it was important to bounce back and now we have to be happy with what we have achieved at the Giro."
“With five stage wins and so many days in the Maglia Rosa it has been a great Giro d’Italia for us and we have to enjoy the final day tomorrow now.
“I won my first stage at the Giro in 2011 and now after seven years, to win again is really important for me, to show I am still with the best riders, and also for the team and I am really happy.”
Giro d’Italia – Stage 20 results:
- 1. Mikel Nieve (Mitchelton-SCOTT) 05:43:48
- 2. Robert Gesink (LottoNL-Jumbo) +2:17
- 3. Felix Grossschartner (Bora-Hansgrohe) +2:42
Giro d’Italia - General classification after Stage 20:
- 1. Chris Froome (Team-Sky) 86:11:50
- 2. Tom Dumoulin (Team-Sunweb) +0:46
- 3. Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana) +4:57
- 18. Mikel Nieve (Mitchelton-SCOTT) +58:16
Photos courtesy of Getty Images.