The Tour Take | GIRO D'ITALIA Stage 19
1st – Chris Froome
2nd – Richard Carapaz @ 3:00
3rd – Thibaut Pinot @ 3:07
On paper, this was potentially the defining day of the Giro, and it turned out to be the Giro’s defining day on the road too. In order, the peloton crested the cat 2 Col des Lys, the cat 1 (and Cimi Coppi) Colle delle Finestre, the cat 3 Sestriere and the cat 1 Jafferau.
The Finestre was super tough, running for 18.9km and averaging 9%, with the second half coming on unpaved roads. The finishing climb of the Jafferau was on similar gradients, but for 7km.
With an incredible 80km breakaway, Chris Froome took an incredible stage win atop the Jafferau, and moving into the Maglia Rosa by 39 seconds over Tom Dumoulin. He also took the KOM Jersey as part of his mountain raid, but tomorrow will be key in that competition, with the course cresting three category 1 climbs. Miguel Angel Lopez held the Young Riders’ Jersey, but his lead in that competition was trimmed slightly to under a minute.
It took around 30km for a break to go but it was a large one when it did, including Luis Leon Sanchez, Davide Formolo, Carlos Betancur, Valerio Conti, Sergio Henao, David de la Cruz, Darwin Atapuma, Giulio Ciccone and Gianluca Brambilla. They were brought back by the Finestre though, as the GC action kicked off very very early.
The Winning move
Sky were sent to the front on the Finestre, which put Simon Yates into trouble immediately – the Maglia Rosa cracked big time and lost 16 minutes by the top of the climb. You soon found out why Sky were riding, as Chris Froome attacked halfway up the climb when the road turned to gravel, but still had 80km to go in the stage.
That split the bunch completely; a Dumoulin/Pinot/Lopez/Carapaz/Reichenbach group formed with Tommy D doing most of the work to chase Froome, while Pozzovivo and others fell a few minutes back. Froome had a 40-second gap by the top of the climb, but stretched it to 3:30 by the bottom of the Jafferau – absolute scenes considering he had a group of 5 behind him. Of which there were two South American passangers worried about a white jersey.
On the Jafferau, the Dumoulin group got frisky with Lopez and Pinot attacking frequently, but Dumoulin rode a solid pace, pulling back the attacks each time until the final 200m. They never saw Froome though, as Sky’s man took the stage win and the Maglia Rosa. Pozzovivo and the bulk of the other GC contenders finished around 8 minutes down, ending their podium hopes.
The GC Movers and Shakers
You knew Froome’s form was going to improve as the race went on – he’s doing the Tour too, so the plan was to peak late in the race. But considering how bad he's looked recently, this turnaround in form is staggering (and slightly worrying too, given his current circumstances). His team’s improved wildly too – the infamous Sky train has taken a while to warm up, but it must be running on some super-dooper Adani coal now.
It was an audacious move to attack with 80km to go in the stage, but Froome needed something audacious to pull back 3 minutes to Dumoulin. For a man that’s generally won races by putting everyone to sleep, this was the performance of his career, and one of the best Giro wins. Gee, you’d hate to have written an article on the last rest day saying he should abandon.
Simon Yates has been relentless in this Giro, but his efforts in the first half of the race finally caught up with him. With a rain cape donning Jack Haig and Mikel Nieve soft-pedalling to stay with him; he was clearly on a very very bad day.
What do you make of Dumoulin? Again he was strong, and you’ve got to commend his consistency, but he’s on the limit here, and him winning is reliant on others having a bad day. He’s still only 40 seconds off the Pink Jersey, but you feel its just that bridge too far now.
After a few rotten days, Thibaut Pinot had a good day, and he jumped back onto the podium – he got great support from Seb Reichenbach, who’s probably been the best domestique in the second half of the race.
18th- Rohan Dennis @ 14:38
85th-Jack Haig @ 38:51
86th- Chris Hamilton " "
96th- Adam Hansen @ 43:45
100th- Zak Dempster " "
119th- Mitch Docker " "
DNF- Ben O'Connor (crash)
Stage 20 is the final mountain stage of this year’s Giro, and it finishes with a bang. Or rather, a bang, bang, bang, in the form of three consecutive category 1 climbs. 214km in total, all three climbs come in the last 85km. The Col Tsecore, Col Saint Pantaleon, and Cervinia are all on the menu.
The final climb to Cervinia is irregular, with some sections averaging 10% while others are like false flats. It will be decisive, with this being the last chance to affect the GC
Last time Froome won a stage, he lost a minute and a half the next day. He emptied the tank big time today – so this race isn’t over just yet. You’d be brave to back him to win the stage, so we’ll take Thibaut Pinot to win. The Peanut hasn’t had a great race, but he’s slowly coming back into form, and the irregular climb should suit his erratic style.
See you back at the social club