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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Saturday, May 28, 2022

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2021 Tour de France | 2022 Giro d'Italia

If the highest aim of a captain were to preserve his ship, he would keep it in port forever. - Thomas Aquinas

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Giro d'Italia Stage 19 team reports

We posted the report from stage winner Koen Bouwman's Team Jumbo-Visma with the results.

Here's the update from GC leader Richard Carapaz's Team INEOS Grenadiers:

Richard Carapaz retained his slender grip on the maglia rosa after leading home his rivals on stage 19 at the Giro d’Italia.

Richard Carapaz has two more stages left to defend his pink jersey. Sirotti photo

The Ecuadorian sprinted in for eighth place atop the final climb as up ahead a breakaway contested the stage victory. The Grenadier finished with nearest rival Jai Hindley (Bora-Hansgrohe) on his wheel after a series of accelerations on the second-category finale.

Jonathan Castroviejo and Ben Tulett had helped lead Carapaz into the final ascent, with Pavel Sivakov then upping the pace on the Santuario di Castelmonte climb.

Carapaz launched a move under the 2km to go banner, but was unable to shake off Hindley and Mikel Landa (Bahrain Victorious).

The end result means the tight GC fight continues into Saturday’s queen stage, with high mountains and altitude set to provide another stern challenge.

Sadly Richie Porte will be unable to join his team on the final road stage after the Tasmanian was forced to abandon the Giro. Porte had fallen ill overnight and battled on in a gutsy performance before eventually having to climb off.

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Here's the report from GC second place Jai Hindley's Team Bora-hansgrohe:

Before the final weekend, the riders had to contend with a challenging mountain stage that made a slight detour across the border to Slovenia. The day started out flat before two difficult climbs and a mountain finish waited over the last 50 km. Right from the the start, several riders fought to go clear and eventually a 12-man group managed to escape. The advantage of the leading group quickly increased to more than 11 minutes and a little later BORA - hansgrohe came to the front of the peloton, but continued to keep the leaders on a long leash.

The stage was eventually decided among the escapees, while BORA - hansgrohe set the pace for quite a long time, back in the peloton. The decisive final climb saw a battle between Jai Hindley, Carapaz, and Landa, with the Australian being unable to shake off the maglia rosa, and the trio crossing the finish line in the same time.

Richard Carapaz just beats Jai Hindley for eighth place. Sirotti photo

"The guys rode very well in the leadup to the decisive climb. It wasn't the ideal stage to really put the hammer down. But we kew that penultimate climb was quite steep and the descent was technical, so we also wanted to be up front to stay out of difficulties. On the climb, I tried to look for opportunities to attack, but eventually it didn't work out how we wanted it to. I knew the finale was more punchy, which I think suits Carapaz better than it does me. Tomorrow is going to be a big stage, and unquestionably decisive. We're up for the challenge and it would be a dream scenario to take pink tomorrow." - Jai Hindley

"Our goal was to bring Jai safely to the decisive part of the stage, and the guys did a great job of that. We tried to make up time on the final climb, and although Jai put in a good performance, it wasn't possible to shake off Carapaz in the end." - Enrico Gasparotto, Sports Director

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Here's the Giro report from fourth-place Attila Valter's Team Groupama-FDJ:

On Friday, with two days left before the end of the Giro d’Italia, Attila Valter got a real opportunity to open his record in the Grand Tours. After joining the breakaway with and thanks to Clément Davy, the former pink jersey wearer was able to fight for the victory in the last climbs. Approaching the finish line, however, he was still with four riders up front, and a last tricky corner prevented him from playing his card until the very end. He crossed the line in fourth position with a bitter feeling.

A frustrated Attila Valter finsihes fourth. Sirotti photo

The mountains were back on the Giro roads this Friday on stage 19. The climb of Kolovrat located on the Slovenian border was surely the main interest of the day, but it all started with nearly seventy kilometres of flat. On this extremely fast section, the fight for the break was once again rough in the first minutes, but Clément Davy and Attila Valter managed to sneak in the good move after about ten kilometres of racing. In a group of twelve riders, they opened a nice gap straight away before battling with the peloton for another ten kilometres or so. “First of all, I have to thank Clément”, said Attila. “Without him, I couldn’t have joined a breakaway like this one. I was almost in the last position of the pack when he told me to take his wheel, and he almost immediately put me into the breakaway. It was incredible. He really put me in a perfect position today”.

At the front, the two Groupama-FDJ riders found themselves with Edoardo Affini, Koen Bouwman (Jumbo-Visma), Andrea Vendrame (AG2R-Citroën), Alessandro Tonelli (Bardiani-CSF), Magnus Cort (EF Education-Easy Post), Davide Ballerini, Mauro Schmid (Quick Step-Alpha Vinyl), Tobias Bayer (Alpecin-Fenix), Fernando Gaviria (UAE Team Emirates) and Edward Theuns (Trek-Segafredo). “It was ideal,” said Benoît Vaugrenard. “We had Clément to help Attila, and all the riders were very far back in the general standings. We knew that they would get a big margin”.

The breakaway indeed got a ten-minute advantage before the peloton decided to increase the pace a little. “It was a comfort to have Clément at the front,” said Benoît. “He went over the first climbs, then we asked him to pull in order to gain a few seconds before the penultimate climb, so as to demoralize Bora-hansgrohe who were chasing. That’s what he did and the group gained thirty seconds. Hats off to Clément, who was very solid today”.

The young French rider then got dropped at the bottom of the climb of Kolovrat (10 km at 9%), and the leading group was soon reduced to just four riders, including Attila Valter. “I felt really good, among the strongest, but it was still very far to go solo,” said the Hungarian. He therefore reached the summit together with Bouwman, Tonelli and Schmid, while Vendrame came back on the downhill leading to the last ascent.

After some ten kilometres in the valley, the breakaway riders tackled the climb of the Sanctuary of Castelmonte (7,3 km at 6%), but started to look at each other from the very first slopes. This was also made possible by the fact that the gap to the peloton was still very large. It’s only in the final three kilometres that a few small attacks occurred, and surprisingly, the group of five was eventually still complete for the sprint. “In the final, I think we were more or less at the same level,” said Attila. “It was difficult to make a decision, that’s why we looked at each other a lot. Maybe we played a bit too much. I tried to attack once or twice, but I saw that Bouwman was very strong. I knew that everyone was very fast, but I also trusted my sprint because I had good legs”.

Yet, the young Hungarian wasn’t able to show his real potential, as he went straight, following some of his competitors, in the last corner with 75 meters to go. When he got back on track, Koen Bouwman was already celebrating his victory. “It was a tricky finish, with that last left turn a few meters from the finish line,” explained Attila. “Luckily there were no barriers, or we would have crashed heavily with Andrea Vendrame”.

The Groupama-FDJ climber crossed the line frustrated, in fourth place. “It’s coming, but I would have really liked to win today”, he said. “It was a good day for me, I’m happy to get something, but I’m also very frustrated because the victory was very close, and you don’t get many opportunities like that in your life”. “I think we were simply beaten by the strongest”, said Benoît. “Of course, we are disappointed, because you don’t play victory that often on a Grand Tour. Having said that, we have won three stages already, we pulled all day yesterday, we still had two guys out of twelve in the front today. This is very positive. Winning today would have been the icing on the cake, but we came up against a stronger rider”. The rest of the team finished well within the time limit on Friday and will try to do the same on Saturday in the last big mountainous stage before reaching Verona.

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And here's the report from Domenico Pozzovivo's Team Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert:

The climbers of the Belgian team, Jan Hirt and Domenico Pozzovivo, conserved their positions in the general classification of the Tour of Italy (2.UWT) in the nineteenth stage with a summit finish.

Both men were protected by their teammates from the start in Marano Lagunare and began the unprecedented final climb towards Santuario di Castelmonte in the maglia rosa group, almost nine minutes behind the early breakaway

Despite several accelerations in the group of favorites in the final kilometers, all of them finished within a 20 second time gap at the end of the 178 kilometer stage. Jan Hirt, who crossed the line in 12th position, stays sixth in the general classification and Domenico Pozzovivo remains in eight position with one stage in the Dolomites and a time trial to come.

Alejandro Valverde leads in Juan Pedro Lopez & Domenico Pozzovivo. Sirotti photo

“I'm happy that I managed to keep my position in the provisional classification today, because honestly, I felt tired after yesterday's stage because of all accelerations and the nervousness. In the end, the doubts weren't necessary because I had good legs. Usually my condition gets better throughout the third week and it looks like this is confirmed once more this year. Last year, I obtained my best results in both the Giro and the Vuelta in the last stage, by attacking. Tomorrow I'll probably won't receive this liberty, I'm aware that my position in the general classification threatens my competitors. No matter what, I'll start this day in the Dolomites with confidence. We'll try our best tomorrow, it is the final day with possible big time gaps.” - Jan Hirt

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