The stage features two climbs right after the start (Monte Croce Comelico and Sappada) followed by a long descent with the short but quite steep climb of Sella Chianzutan before the second half of the parcours heading to Aviano. The route then runs on a final steep 14km ascent, where the first 6km are at a gradient around 10 percent (max 15 percent).
Stage 19: Quintana seizes lead from Dumoulin
On the steep finish climb to Piancavallo, Nairo Quintana (Movistar) finally wrested the Giro d’Italia’s pink jersey from Tom Dumoulin (Sunweb) Friday. A tireless Mikel Landa (Sky) confirmed his leadership in the mountains classification, at last taking a win in stage 19 after two second-place results earlier in the week. Rui Costa (UAE Team Emirates) and Pierre Rolland (Cannondale) finished second and third on the day, respectively.
“I felt huge emotion on the finishing line because I’ve had difficult moments in the past few months and, also, at the Giro with the crash — it has not been the Giro we expected,” said Landa. “Now I’m very happy and proud.”
With one final stage in the mountains remaining, plus the Giro’s stage 21 time trial in Milano, the overall classification is particularly close. The top three are separated by only one minute. Quintana leads Dumoulin by 38 seconds, and Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida) lurks a further five seconds back.
“I was feeling good; it was a very hard stage,” said Quintana. “Thanks to my team, I managed to get back here with the maglia rosa.”
Top 10, stage 19
- 1. Mikel LANDA MEANA, TEAM SKY, in 4:53:00
- 2. Rui Alberto FARIA DA COSTA, UAE TEAM EMIRATES, at 1:49
- 3. Pierre ROLLAND, CANNONDALE DRAPAC PROFESSIONAL CYCLING TEAM, at 1:54
- 4. Pello BILBAO LOPEZ DE ARMENTIA, ASTANA PRO TEAM, at 2:12
- 5. SEBASTIAN HENAO GOMEZ, TEAM SKY, at 3:06
- 6. Evgeny SHALUNOV, GAZPROM – RUSVELO, at 3:51
- 7. Luis León SANCHEZ, ASTANA PRO TEAM, at 3:51
- 8. Matteo BUSATO, WILIER TRIESTINA – SELLE ITALIA, at 5:05
- 9. Lorenzo ROTA, BARDIANI CSF, at 5:05
- 10. Ilia KOSHEVOY, WILIER TRIESTINA – SELLE ITALIA, at 6:44
- 1. Nairo QUINTANA, MOVISTAR TEAM, in 85:02:40
- 2. Tom DUMOULIN, TEAM SUNWEB, at :38
- 3. Vincenzo NIBALI, BAHRAIN – MERIDA, at :43
- 4. Thibaut PINOT, FDJ, at :53
- 5. Ilnur ZAKARIN, TEAM KATUSHA ALPECIN, at 1:21
- 6. Domenico POZZOVIVO, AG2R LA MONDIALE, at 1:30
- 7. Bauke MOLLEMA, TREK – SEGAFREDO, at 2:48
- 8. Adam YATES, ORICA – SCOTT, at 6:35
- 9. Bob JUNGELS, QUICK – STEP FLOORS, at 7:03
- 10. Steven KRUIJSWIJK, TEAM LOTTO NL – JUMBO, at 7:37
To win the stage, Landa caught Costa on the finish climb. With about nine kilometers remaining, the Spaniard then attacked and quickly built a lead on his own.
“The last 5km, I was really suffering,” said Landa. “When I heard that they were getting closer, they kept telling me to keep fighting. I kept pushing 100 percent, and I got this win that was close.”
Although Rolland worked alongside Costa to chase, they couldn’t reel in the man in the blue king of the mountains jersey.
“I had a teammate in the breakaway I think that was key for my breakaway,” Landa added. “I’m very proud. It’s not what we expected at the beginning but I’m really happy, I’m really proud.” He also said that his win was dedicated to the late Michele Scarponi, his former teammate on Astana.
In the group of GC favorites, about nine minutes behind, Dumoulin was clearly in difficulty, dangling at the back. Climbing domestiques from Bahrain and Movistar ramped up the pace, and soon, the Dutchman was popped off the back.
“I had bad legs from the start, and I made a rookie mistake at the beginning, sitting at the back of the bunch on the downhill,” Dumoulin said. “Then Bahrain and Movistar split the bunch and I was in the second group and needed, with my bad legs, to go to the maximum to come back, in the middle of the stage. So that was really unnecessary.”
Dumoulin fought to keep the gap within 31 seconds, his overall lead at the start of the day.
However, the pace was high among the race favorites and it was clear that Sunweb’s leader would lose the pink jersey.
Thibaut Pinot (FDJ) attacked the GC group in the closing kilometers. He got a gap and rode home alone, taking a slight amount of time on Nibali, who is just ahead of the Frenchman in the overall.
Domenico Pozzovivo (Ag2r La Mondiale) and Ilnur Zakarin (Katusha-Alpecin) also attacked. They finished with a marginal advantage on Quintana’s group.
The Giro will offer up one final opportunity for climbers to leave their mark on the 100th edition of the race. Saturday’s stage 20 climbs Monte Grappa and finishes with a 14-kilometer climb to Foza with a maximum gradient of 11 percent. The 190km stage isn’t a true summit finish, with a rolling 15km to the finish in Asiago.
“On GC it’s pretty complicated: we have to adapt the strategy day-by-day,” said Quintana “Tomorrow there will be another important stage, and then I’ll give it all in the time trial.”