Giro d’Italia: Buitrago wins mountaintop battle on stage 19 to Tre Cime Lavaredo
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Santiago Buitrago (Bahrain Victorious) claimed a breakaway victory on stage 19 of the Giro d’Italia, as Primož Roglič (Jumbo-Visma) snatched three seconds again from race chief Geraint Thomas (Ineos Grenadiers) at Tre Cime di Lavaredo.
Buitrago was a part of a 15-man breakaway that fashioned after a breathless begin to a high-altitude Dolomite affair that was billed because the queen stage however was subdued from a pink jersey perspective till the steep last ramps of the ending climb.
The Colombian used these double-digit gradients to experience throughout to and drop the irrepressible Derek Gee (Israel-Premier Tech), who was compelled to swallow his fourth second-place of this Giro. Magnus Cort (EF Schooling-EasyPost) clung on for third place from the break, taking bonus seconds out of the GC equation as Roglič and Thomas fought for the road in his shadow.
The highest two traded blows within the last couple of kilometres, as soon as once more distinguishing themselves from third-placed João Almeida (UAE Group Emirates), who conceded one other 20 seconds.
Almeida had opened hostilities slightly below 2km from the highest of the ultimate climb, which averaged 11.7% within the last 4km, however Roglič quickly jumped and Thomas nipped throughout to it. Almeida floor his approach again beneath the flamme rouge however then Thomas issued his first true assault of this Giro with 500 metres to go and Almeida was correctly distanced. It seemed like Thomas was additionally drawing blood from Roglič, who did not fairly latch onto the wheel after which began to misplaced contact because the pink jersey squeezed once more with 250 metres to go. However simply because the Giro tilting a technique, it swung again the opposite, as Roglič got here roaring again within the last burst to the road, sprinting previous and even ending three seconds to the nice.
Within the general standings, Roglič decreased his arrears to Thomas to 26 seconds forward of Saturday’s decisive mountain time trial, with Almeida now at 59 seconds and needing a miracle.
Damiano Caruso (Bahrain Victorious) was the subsequent finisher in seventh, shifting as much as fourth general on the expense of Eddie Dunbar (Jayco-AlUla) who obtained into bother 2km from the highest and conceded greater than a minute to Roglič and Thomas. Thymen Arensman completed strongly alongside Caruso after pacing many of the last climb for Thomas, shifting up two locations to seventh general, with Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ) subsequent dwelling to maneuver to sixth as Lennard Kamna (Bora-Hansgrohe) and Andreas Leknessund (DSM) each suffered.
The way it unfolded
Stage 19 of the Giro d’Italia featured an enormous dose of high-altitude climbing, however there was no inclination to avoid wasting power within the gentler first a part of the stage. On the opening flat 30km, and onto the lengthy drag in the direction of the day’s first climb, the peloton ripped chunks of out itself in a titanic wrestle for the breakaway.
The primary attackers have been Larry Warbasse (AG2R Citroën) and Vejlko Stojnić (Corratec-Selle Italia), they usually cracked on for one of the best a part of 40km, nearly impervious to the chaos that was unfolding simply half a minute or so behind them. It will take an age to recount all of the strikes that got here and went, however probably the most attention-grabbing theme was the exercise of Jumbo-Visma, who have been steadily seeking to filter riders into the strikes. Edoardo Affini and Michel Hessman have been the chief protagonists however they appeared to sense the chance to pressurise Ineos Grenadiers with growing relish, as Sam Oomen and Thomas Gloag briefly crept right into a harmful large transfer.
The blue jersey of Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ) glued himself to the wheel of his closest rival within the mountains classification, Ben Healy (EF Schooling-EasyPost) however each successfully marked one another out of the breakaway.
After nearly 40km, with the hole down to fifteen seconds, two riders managed to leap throughout to the main duo: Alex Baudin (AG2R Citroën) and the irrepressible Derek Gee (Israel-Premier Tech). Magnus Cort (EF Schooling-EasyPost) then managed to bribe the hole solo to make it 5 out entrance, earlier than 4 extra riders got here throughout to make it 9: Nicolas Prodhomme (AG2R Citroën), Patrick Konrad (Bora-Hansgrohe), Davide Gabburo (Inexperienced Challenge-Bardiani CSF-Faizanè), and Vadim Pronskiy (Astana Qazaqstan).
At that time, the damaging 20-man group that contained three Jumbo-Visma riders, plus two from UAE Group Emirates, went clear and whereas it was snuffed out, Santiago Buitrago (Bahrain Victorious) pushed off the entrance of it and set throughout the hole to the break. He was later joined by Stefano Oldani (Alpecin-Deceuninck) and Michael Hepburn (Jayco-AlUla), taking the entire quantity to 12. It did not fairly settle, because the Movistar duo of José Joaquín Rojas and Carlos Verona, plus Mattia Bais (Eolo-Kometa) have been the subsequent to set off in pursuit.
There was a very pivotal second after 50km as Ineso duo of Ben Swift and Salvatore Puccio struggled to comprise the incessant assaults, and the peloton threatened to separate. Whether or not by design or accident, they maybe turned the tactical tables by slipping Thymen Arensman (Ineos Grenadiers) – ninth general – right into a transfer. Quickly after, all of it lastly calmed down, the pink jersey stopped for a nature break, and the breakaway was allowed to float off.
The primary intermediate dash got here in Caprile after 64km, the place Stojnic was first to bolster his intermediate sprints classification tally, whereas Gee was second to take extra within the factors classification. The 12 leaders crossed with a lead of 90 seconds over the Verona trio, and 4 minutes over the peloton.
Nonetheless, simply when it appeared to have settled, it unsettled. The Passo Campolongo hadn’t formally begun, however the method was successfully itself a correct, albeit uncategorised, climb, and Healy used it to throw the cat among the many pigeons with an assault from the again of the bunch. Pinot scrambled into response, getting a teammate to steer him out in pursuit, however that in flip posed an issue for the peloton, given the Frenchman’s place in seventh place general.
Ineos upped the tempo and latched onto Pinot’s pursuit, which break up the bunch clear in two, with solely 30 riders within the entrance group. A few kilometres up the street, Ineos determined to take a seat again, permitting Pinot to ping off alone in pursuit of Healy, who shook his hand with a rueful smile because the pair made contact and sat up. That wasn’t fairly the tip of it, as Healy broke the truce a few kilometres later, Pinot as soon as once more having to dash to snuff it out as soon as extra, a lot to the annoyance of Puccio and the delight of a grinning Rohan Dennis (Jumbo-Visma).
With 100km to go, the Passo Campolongo (3.9km at 7%) lastly did formally begin, with the race itself lastly settling down; the peloton regrouped 5:30 behind what was – with Verona, Rojas, and Bais becoming a member of – a 15-man breakaway. Gabburo led the break over the class 2 climb, with Swift and Puccio pulling the peloton, earlier than the dip downhill to the foot of the cat 1 Passo Valparola (14.1km at 5.6%).
That climb took the riders above the 2000-metre barrier, however noticed no nice motion, apart from Stojnic dropping away and Verona having to return again after crashing in a collision with the AG2R automotive. On the summit, at 2196 metres, Gee beat Gabburo within the dash for the utmost 40 KOM factors, because the 14 remaining escapees prolonged their result in eight minutes over a peloton that was led by Ineos and, in a sign of the relaxed tempo, nonetheless nearly featured Mark Cavendish. On the 15km descent, Jayco-AlUla hit the entrance and set a stable tempo to decreased the hole to seven minutes by the foot of the Passo Giau, which measured 9.9km at 9.3%.
After some early skirmishes, the primary choice within the break got here when Verona accelerated and took Gee and Buitrago with him. Remarkably, Hepburn jumped throughout to it, adopted by Cort. On the summit, Gee nudged ahead to take one other 40 KOM factors as Hepburn pushed on, with Cort barely distanced and the duo of Pronskiy and Prodhomme chasing a number of seconds additional again.
There was no actual motion within the peloton, with Swift pacing the primary half of the climb for Ineos, and Puccio the second, the hole to the break staying across the seven-minute mark. The sprinters rapidly fashioned a gruppetto however the bunch remained sizeable and there was no curiosity from Jumbo-Visma or UAE to power a extra selective tempo. Laurens De Plus took over on the prime however Thomas was placing a gilet on and ideas have been firmly on the subsequent 18km descent.
The was a regrouping on the descent, with Pronskiy and Prodhomme, then Konrad, Warbasse, Gaburro and Oldani rejoining to make it 11 out entrance. The second intermediate dash got here in Cortina, the place Gee was first to additional bolster his factors assortment.
The break hit the penultimate climb of Passo Tre Croci (7.9km at 72.%) with a lead of 6:30 and Warbasse instantly attacked to achieve an honest solo benefit. Buitrago later set off in pursuit and dragged Cort with him, with Gee after which Hepburn bursting throughout to it as Warbasse fell away half-way up. The 4 reached the highest collectively, with 13km to go, Gee as soon as once more first throughout the KOM line.
The peloton got here onto the climb 6:10 down, with Roglič stopping to make a tactical bike change onto a 1x gearing system with a giant 10/44-tooth cassette. De Plus, tenth general, took it up for Ineos and upped the tempo because the rain began to pelt down, with a key early casualty as Almeida’s prime domestique Jay Vine misplaced contact. Eleventh-placed Bruno Armirail (Groupama-FDJ) and Jumbo-Visma’s Koen Bouwman have been additionally dropped as De Plus turned the screw and the bunch decreased to 18 riders as they crested the climb 3:50 behind the break.
After a quick dip, there was a false flat method to the ultimate climb of Tre Cime di Lavaredo, measuring 7.2km at 7.6% however in actuality condensed into the ultimate 4km part that averaged 11.7%. There was one other regrouping within the break earlier than Hepburn shook issues up on the false flat and Gee attacked to steer solo onto the climb. Buitrago dropped Hepburn to set off in pursuit and, regardless of struggling to make inroads at first, the steep last part introduced his lighter weight into play and he slowly however absolutely inched his approach nearer to Gee.
Lastly, with 1,500 metres remaining, the catch was made, and Buitrago went for the kill, issuing a rasping assault that he’d clearly been storing up whereas letting Gee dangle in entrance.
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