Giro Stage 19: Victory for Simon Yates

Simon Yates added another stage victory to his name in the Giro after winning stage 19 with a solo attack on the final climb, Egan Bernal continues to lead overall

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Giro Stage 19: Victory for Simon Yates

The nineteenth stage of the Giro d’Italia featured yet another summit finish coming after 166 kilometres, the climb of Alpe di Mera (9.6 km at 9%). A GC battle was expected and cycling fans were not disappointed with yet another enthralling battle to win the stage and also for the pink jersey.

The stage was a lumpy one with two lower category climbs along the way and after yet another quick start of the stage, six men made the breakaway of the day. Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux was well represented and the only team to have placed two riders in the move: Quinten Hermans, and Andrea Pasqualon along with the Isle of Man’s Mark Christian, Larry Warbasse, Vecchiarutti, and Giovanni Aleotti.

Unlike the day before where the GC riders were happy to give the break the stage victory, on today’s stage the breakaway was not given much of a lead. They were allowed a maximum lead of only four minutes despite the breakaway working hard to open the gap up. The breakaway did manage to get to the foot of the final climb and after a short time on the mountain, Mark Christian went off on his own to try and hold off the GC riders.

His time out front was kept short though as the GC riders were intent on fighting for the stage with BikeExchange and Quickstep really hammering along before the climb’s challenges became the domain of the GC riders. Almeida was first to go and then Yates responded and this time, the Pink jersey didn’t jump on his wheel but let his lieutenants keep the tempo high.

Photo: Gomez Sport

Yates move dragged a number of GC favourites across to Almeida before they could follow him no more and Yates went solo. Hugh Carthy had a go at catching the Almeida group but when Bernal caught the Almeida group, Carthy, like so many others was popped out the back. Yates had to fight tooth and nail to hold on as Almeida was the last rider to hold Bernal’s wheel when he made his move only for Almeida to drop Bernal and get to within 11 seconds of Yates.

Simon Yates – Stage 19 winner – “I am really happy, the team did a fantastic job today, really controlled the start, worked a lot and I managed to finish it off, so I am really very happy. I saw that the boys from Ineos were happy to ride tempo behind (Almeida) and I had a feeling that they would let me go today. As soon as I attacked, I saw that that was correct, so I just tried to ride full gas and that was it. I tried to do my best today, it wasn’t the most difficult of stages, it was just a very difficult final climb, but tomorrow is very different. It is a very hard stage, back in the high altitude so we will see what I can do, I am just doing my best at the moment and I am happy with the stage win.”

Matt White – Head Sport Director for Simon Yates: “We are very happy. It was very big team effort to control the stage and to put Simon into a position where could do his thing on the final climb. The last couple of days we have only been looking forwards not backwards, and if we want to go any higher on the general classification, which we do, we had to try to put our rivals under pressure today. The boys did a good job by making the day hard and solid all through the stage. Simon rode a very aggressive final climb. A very well-deserved win and he put some more time into his rivals.”

Egan Bernal (Pink jersey): “Yes, I felt actually really good. I think I did really good numbers. I did a really good climb, I’m happy with my climb. Of course Yates was the best today, and chapeau to him, but, yeah, really happy with my condition. Tomorrow I hope to have the same legs than today. Today I felt really good, and tomorrow, with the altitude I hope to have the same feelings than today, and then just try to manage the gap I have with the two guys who are in the podium, so I hope.. hopefully I’ll be in pink also tomorrow. Q: Are you happy with the gap for the final two stages? A: Yeah, yeah, of course, I’m really happy. I think I have some time to play with so I just want to have legs also for the time trial and everything should be OK if I’m feeling good.”

João Almeida: “First of all, I want to thank the entire team, they were incredible and did a perfect job for me today. I felt good and confident, so I attacked early to see what could happen. To be up there again with the other GC guys on this hard climb was nice and showed that I have good legs at the moment. It’s a pity I missed the win and took second again, but on the other hand, I gained more time in the standings, which bodes well for the remaining stages, where we’ll see what I will be able to do”, said Almeida after his sixth podium in two Giro d’Italia participations.

Aleksandr Vlasov (5th): “Well, today I felt much better than in previous days and the legs worked well, so I tried to do my best on this final climb. The team worked perfectly for me, the guys brought me in a perfect position before the steepest part of the climb, so I was able to save some energy for the last kilometres. After a few tough days I am really happy with my performance today, which gives me some additional motivation and confidence ahead of the last mountain stage and the final time trial”, – said Aleksandr Vlasov.

Koen Bouwman (9th) (Jumbo Visma): “It looks like Tobias, George and I are riding around with about the same level”, Bouwman said. “Today I had my best legs so far in this Giro. The agreement was that George could jump along if he felt he could compete for the day’s victory. I felt really good and partly because of that I could stay in Bernal’s group for a long time. When Tobias got stuck alone, I waited and took him in tow. I didn’t expect to ride with the best uphill. As a team, we estimated the course well. We’re going to try that again tomorrow. Let’s hope there’s still something in store for us this Giro. I’m definitely looking forward to tomorrow. I feel super good about myself.”

Romain Bardet: “It was a fast stage today,” explained Bardet at the finish. “We rode really well as a team together. The guys put me in an excellent position on the last climb and on the second half I just had to take my own pace to survive the day. We’re still sixth on GC so will try our all tomorrow.”

Quinten Hermans: “The GC guys had clearly set their sights on this stage and we knew the chances of the breakaway would be slim. Yesterday’s stage was my last chance to win, but I wanted to honor the team colors up front. Secretly, there is always hope that the peloton will let go. Our lead group was interesting in itself, but maintaining the gap with six riders is very difficult. After three weeks, I have not weakened in my sensations and I still feel very good. I hope to be able to say that after tomorrow’s stage, because the effort made today will inevitably weigh in the legs. Whatever happens, I will come out of this Giro a better rider. An experience like this will be of great benefit for the future.”

Jan Hirt: “The pace was very high from the start, and I just paced myself in the final climb because I knew this day was going to be difficult. I expect the same tomorrow, because it will be the last opportunity for the GC riders to make a difference in the mountains. This does not change anything as far as our approach is concerned, we will try to take the breakaway and do everything to win the stage, regardless of the fight between the favorites. Today we still had two men ahead. We can be proud of our race so far.”

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