05/26/2012 12:01 EDT | Updated 07/26/2012 05:12 EDT

De Gendt wins 20th stage of Giro d'Italia; Rodriguez keeps overall lead

PASSO DELLO STELVIO, Italy - Thomas De Gendt won the gruelling 20th stage of the Giro d'Italia on Saturday, reigniting his chances for a podium finish. Joaquin Rodriguez retained the overall lead.

With a superb climb of the Passo dello Stelvio De Gendt finished the so-called queen stage of the Giro in six hours 54 minutes and 41 seconds.

Victoria's Ryder Hesjedal remained second overall after finishing sixth in Saturday's stage 3:36 behind De Gendt. He is 31 seconds behind Rodriguez heading into the final stage.

Saturdays stage was the toughest of this year's race, with the 219-kilometre trek from Caldes culminating in a 22.5-kilometre ascent up the snow-covered Stelvio, which has a maximum gradient of 12 per cent.

The route also included the legendary Mortirolo climb, described by the seven-time Tour De France winner Lance Armstrong as the hardest climb he's ever ridden.

The Giro finishes on Sunday in Milan after a 30-kilometre individual time trial.