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The Giro d’Italia’s Cima Coppi, the highest mountain of the race, was unkind to a few GC contenders, but it was actually the Colle dell’Agnello’s descent that wreaked the most havoc.
True, Movistar’s Alejandro Valverde was dropped on the climb, possibly suffering from the altitude, which he said affected him in the Dolomites. At the start of the day, he was third overall. But really, most fans will remember the two big crashes on the Agnello’s long, foggy descent from the top of the 2,744-meter (9,004-foot) peak.
First, the pink jersey wearer, the race leader, Steven Kruijswijk (LottoNL – Jumbo) crashed into a snow bank, losing contact with GC rivals at the top of the descent.
Then, on the sunny lower slopes of the descent, helicopter cameras zoomed in on a figure in red, crumpled in a meadow on the side of the road. It was Katusha’s Ilnur Zakarin, who started the day fifth overall. The Russian abandoned the race with a broken clavicle and shoulder blade.
Kruijswijk would go on to lose the pink jersey and fall to third in the overall, 1:05 behind Orica – GreenEdge’s Esteban Chaves. Full stage 19 race report >>