Buitrago Wins Stage 19 of Giro d’Italia
Friday’s stage 19 of Giro d’Italia 2023 invited the riders to compete in mountainous terrain that appealed to general classification favorites and climbers in breakaways.
The route in the Italian Dolomites was a 183-kilometer ride from Longarone to Tre Cime di Lavaredo and featured two category 2 climbs (Passo Campolongo and Passo Tre Croci), two Category 1 climbs (Passo Valparola and Passo Giau), and concluded with the steep Tre Cime di Lavaredo climb (Hors Categorie / outside category) that featured incline percentages of no less than 14.6 percent.
Before the start of the stage, the professional cyclists and retired Vincenzo Nibali commemorated the victims of the 1963 Vajont disaster in which an entire Italian mountain village was flooded in a mudslide that could have been prevented, had the Italian authorities not ignored warnings from experts.
The pace was fast from the very beginning of the stage with average speeds of 50 km/h while breakaway hopefuls were launching attacks and general classification-focused teams were eager to control who would be allowed to escape – and who would not.
American Larry Warbasse (AG2R-Citroen) and Veljko Stojnic (Team Corratec-Selle Italia) successfully established an attack duo that built a 24 second lead. Meanwhile, other riders were trying to make the leap from the main peloton.
Alex Baudin (AG2R-Citroen) and Derek Gee (Israel-Premiertech) joined the front duo with 147 kilometers left. Other attacks were launched from behind. Magnus Cort (EF Education-EasyPost) joined the front quartet.
Nicolas Prodhomme (AG2R-Citroen), Vadim Pronskiy (Astana), Patrick Konrad (Bora-Hansgrohe), Davide Gabburo (Green Project-Bardiani CSF-Faizane) were chasing and managed to join the front group. They now had a 26 second advantage. Meanwhile, Ineos-Grenadiers’ Ben Swift and Salvatore Puccio controlled the pace at the front of the main peloton group for their race leader Geraint Thomas.
Santiago Buitrago (Bahrain-Victorious), Stefano Oldani (Alpecin-Deceuninck), Alessandro de Marchi (Jayco-Alula), Matti Bais (Eolo-Kometa), and Movistar’s Jose Joaquin Rojas initiated a chase to join the front group. The main peloton reduced its speed and stopped chasing.
With 113 kilometers left of the stage, Ben Healy (EF Education-EasyPost) launched the first of multiple attacks from the main peloton group to bridge the gap to the front group.
Thibaut Pinot countered with a teammate and appeared very annoyed and angry with Healy’s actions, as Pinot was afraid his climber classification lead would be diminished by the ever-active Healy. Ineos-Grenadiers reeled multiple Healy attacks back in and Puccio played policeman and schoolteacher instructing Healy to remain calm while Jumbo-Visma’s Rohan Dennis laughed and joked.
Meanwhile, the front group featured fifteen riders and they had increased their lead to 05:36 minutes while climbing the Passo Campolongo with 99 kilometers left of today’s Queen Stage of the 2023 Giro d’Italia.
The front group continued their hard and steady work on the Category 1 Passo Valparola and increased their lead over the main peloton to more than eight minutes.
Verona attacked from the breakaway group on the Category 1 Passo Giau (9.8 kilometers; 9.3% incline). He was joined by Cort, Buitrago, Gee, and Hepburn. Ineos-Grenadiers was still at the front of the main peloton group and had increased their pace. This caused the front group of the front group to be reduced to less than 06:30 minutes.
Cort was dropped from the front group shortly before the peak of the Passo Giau and played catch-up on the descent that followed. Despite the low temperatures and snowy surroundings, only Buitrago put on a jacket before descending. Prodhomme and Pronskiy joined the front group, which now featured seven riders. More riders caught up and a total of eleven riders were now chasing the stage victory from the front.
Warbasse attacked solo from the front group on the Passo Tre Croci. It started raining with twenty kilometers left. Buitrago and Cort initiated a chase. Later, Gee caught up with the front trio.
Buitrago, Gee and Hepburn accelerated on the Tre Cime di Lavaredo climb – the final climb of stage 19.
Ineos-Grenadiers were still at the front of the main peloton group. They were closely followed by Team Jumbo-Visma. Rohan Dennis moved to the front to increase the speed for Jumbo-Visma, but Ineos-Grenadiers took over.
Gee launched his move from the front group. Buitrago tried to catch up. At this point 2.5 kilometers were left to contest before the winner would reach the finish line.
Buitrago caught Gee and passed him. He was racing solo towards the finish line.
Thymen Arensman increased the speed at the front of the general classification favorites group. Thomas followed along with Kuss, Roglic, Damiano Caruso (Bahrain-Victorious). Joao Almeida (UAE Team Emirates) moved to the front.
Roglic launched an attack but was joined by Thomas. Almeida tried to close the gap and managed to do so with one kilometer left. Almeida moved to the front of the trio.
Buitrago was first across the finish line to win stage 19 of Giro d’Italia 2023. Gee finished second. Cort rounded out the podium as he managed to cross the finish line ahead of Thomas and Roglic. Almeida lost valuable seconds before tomorrow’s decisive mountain time trial.
Thomas remains general classification leader.
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