Shortened Giro d’Italia stage 19 won by the breakaway before last big day in the mountains
What was originally the Giro d’Italia’s longest road stage became the shortest today, with the planned 258km route being cut in distance to just 124.5km a short time before the day started. Heavy rain fell on the roads, which saw most of the riders start the day in jackets and leg warmers as the flag finally dropped to commence the stage in Abbiategrasso, some 130km further up the road from the original start location. Immediately, attacks came from the peloton as riders looked to make up for lost racing time, with BORA-hansgrohe trying to close this down, only for an unlucky puncture for Cesare Benedetti to slow their efforts. In spite of this setback, the team was constantly at the head of the peloton, keeping the pressure on the break as the fourteen-man group splintered with the high speeds, leaving six on the front and a chasing group of eight trying to stay in touch.
The flat roads and finale were made for a sprint, but while the BORA-hansgrohe riders had pushed hard for around 70km, the German team was the only one that was working. With 55km to go and no other teams taking over on the front, the break was allowed to go, its advantage going out quickly from less than a minute to more than ten minutes as the stage entered its final 20km. The win coming from the breakaway, the mood in the peloton shifted to one of trying to save energy for the last big day in the mountains tomorrow, with Patrick Konrad and Rafał Majka finishing with the bunch, there were no changes in the GC standings as the Giro d’Italia approached its important, penultimate day.
01 J.Černý 2h30’40”
02 V.Campenaerts + 0:18
03 J.Mosca + 0:26
From the Finish Line
"It is true that yesterday's stage was very tough, with more than 5,800 metres of elevation gain and a climb over the Stelvio, that we had to leave our hotels this morning at 6am and that weather conditions were a bit difficult today. However, it was possible to race today and I think it was unfair to inform race organisers in the morning that there would be a strike. This isn't professional, this isn't the way it should be. There should be a procedure to discuss these issues after the end of the stage, in order to make future improvements, but the strike before the start wasn't correct. We were absolutely ready to race the full stage, as scheduled." – Ralph Denk, Team Manager
"While initially scheduled to be more than 250km long, today's stage was shortened by race organisers to 124km. We knew it was going to be very fast and our plan was to control the break and the peloton in order to try and go for the stage win with Peter. Right after the start, we were unlucky as Cesare Benedetti had a puncture just when the break was forming. So, at that crucial moment, we temporarily lost a rider in our fight to bridge the gap and have the ideal break form. Maciej Bodnar tried to go as well but in the end, we got in the front of the peloton and worked hard. Our guys put in a great effort and managed to bring the gap from 1'30" down to 28" but with only four riders it was very difficult to reach the 11 escapees. After relentlessly trying on our own for 50km we called off the chase as it was getting impossible to gain time. No other team took any initiative, so the stage win came from the breakaway group." – Jan Valach, Sports Director