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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Saturday, June 1, 2019

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2018 Tour de France | 2018 Giro d'Italia

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Giro d'Italia stage 19 team reports

We posted the reports from the race organizer and stage winner Esteban Chaves' Mitchelton-Scott team with the results.

Here's the report from GC leader Richard Carapaz's Team Movistar:

A big-chainring climb, the 13km ascent to San Martino di Castrozza, brought Esteban Chaves (MTS) back to winning ways at Friday’s stage 19 and saw Richard Carapaz and Movistar Team edging closer, with no major difficulties, to success in the 2019 Giro d’Italia, which will come to its end in just 48 hours in Verona.

Richard Carapaz

Two more stages left for Richard Carapaz to defend his GC lead. Sirotti photo

Lluís Mas and Jasha Sütterlin completed two of the most remarkable Blue performances of the day, leading the bunch from the point the break was established -almost from the start- and up to the bottom of the 13km final climb. Rojas, Amador, Pedrero and Carretero took the reins of the group since then, before an acceleration by Astana and an attack from Miguel Ángel López forced Mikel Landa to push at the front. Strong at Carapaz’s service, the Basque climber kept a steady pace and also remained by the Ecuadorian’s side as Primoz Roglic (TJV) tried a couple of move into the finishing barriers, Richard responding without any troubles. There wasn’t -bar the 44″ obtained by López- any changes in the GC, with Carapaz in pink by 1’54” and Landa still 47″ behind third place.

The big mountains in the 2019 Giro will be completed with a huge stage 20 on Saturday: 194km starting in Feltre and including the ascents to Cima Campo (Cat-2), Passo Manghen (Cima Coppi), Rolle (Cat-2) and the finale up Croce d’Aune (Cat-2) and the Monte Avena (Cat-1). The big penultimate battle, and one of the most dangerous ones, before Sunday’s TT showdown.

REACTION / Richard Carapaz:
“We counted on riders like López and teams like Astana to try a move today; there’s some people who are aiming for a shot at the podium or improve their GC result, and any mountain is good for that. We tried to go as calm as possible today: since the beginning, we had Lluís, Jasha and Rojas always leading the group, and at the final climb, Mikel did a crucial job for me. More than a team-mate, I have a strong leader by my side with him, a rider whom I learnt a lot from. He’s got way more experience than me, he acts as a sports director on the road with our team-mates, and that helps us a lot.

“It’s a huge tomorrow: a stage with lots of big mountains, really tough. I trust my team-mates and they also have loads of confidence on our chances. We can’t rule out any of the six top riders in the GC for an overall podium or even the win outright. You can expect for anything to happen, yet we’re ready to face the task. It’s going to be a really important day in this Giro, surely one with fireworks for the fans to enjoy. We’ll try to do our best, just like we’ve done for the entire race.”

Vincenzo Nibali's Bahrain-Merida team posted this:

“Going to the finish it was definitely a fast climb" – explains Vincenzo Nibali – "and therefore it was difficult to make the difference between the Top riders. In the last two kilometers the speed was high and apart from the attack of Miguel Angel Lopez the overall leaders controlled each other. My feelings are good and tomorrow who wants to win the Giro will have to invent something”.

Vincenzo Nibali

Vincenzo Nibali (far right) finishes with the other top GC riders. Sirotti photo

Waiting for the last mountain stage, today in San Martino di Castrozza the Colombian Esteban Chaves won arriving solo among the splendid Dolomites. No change in the overall standings with only Lopez gaining 44s on the big contenders.

Tomorrow the stage will probably be decisive for the final victory with the ascent of Manghen Pass more than 20km with nearly 2000m in vertical altitude and after the Rolle Pass, over 20km long, and finally the 11km climb to Croce d’Aune.

Third-place Amaro Antunes' CCC Team sent me this:

31 May 2019, San Martino di Castrozza (ITA): Amaro Antunes secured third place on Giro d’Italia stage 19 after a strong ride, on one of the final days of his first Grand Tour, saw him battle in the breakaway before demonstrating his climbing skills on the road up to the finish line.

andrea Vendrame

Andrea Vendrame finishes second and Amaro Antunes third. Sirotti photo 

It was in the final kilometers of the 151-kilometer stage that Antunes, who initially lost contact with the front of the race when the decisive attacks began, fought back to regain contact with the leaders.

The initial 11-rider breakaway, which went on to become 12 riders strong, went clear early and was able to extend its advantage out to more than seven minutes over the opening, uncategorized climbs.

As no one threatened the overall lead of the Maglia Rosa, Richard Carapaz (Movistar Team), the group’s lead over the main bunch continued to grow on the category three Passo di San Boldo and the category four Lamon climb.

After working well together throughout the day, the leaders were over nine minutes up the road at the foot of the 13.6-kilometer long climb up to the finish line, and it was clear that the stage win was up for grabs. On the slopes of the category two ascent, which had an average gradient of 5.6 percent, the breakaway, unsurprisingly, started to split as every rider looked to take the opportunity to claim the day’s honors.

With less than five kilometers to go, Antunes was sitting around ten seconds shy of the then leading trio, however, after a gutsy effort, he was able to bridge across just before Esteban Chaves (Mitchelton-SCOTT) launched his ultimately winning move.

Antunes continued to dig deep as the flamme rouge came into view and, after a strong solo effort in the closing meters, the Portuguese rider went on to cross the line just 12 seconds behind the stage winner.

Amaro Antunes:
“Today, was a good stage for me. Maybe it was my last chance to win a stage here at the Giro d’Italia. In the finale of the stage, I started the climb at a steady and regular pace but, Esteban Chaves (Mitchelton-SCOTT) had better legs so, in the end, it was third place for me. I am happy but, of course, the best would be to win the stage."

"I had an injury before the Giro d’Italia so, I wasn’t able to train well in the month before, so I am happy with my performance and with the team, especially as it is my first Grand Tour. It was hard to bridge back to the front group but, that’s cycling, and cycling is hard. Now, I’m just thinking about recovering ahead of tomorrow’s long and hard stage.”

And Rafal Majka's Bora-hansgrohe squad sent this report:

Stage 19, at only 151 km in length, was relatively short. After the start in Treviso, the first part of the course traversed jagged uphill terrain until reaching the Passo di San Boldo, a third-category climb followed by a fourth-category ascent in Lamon. The stage came to a close with a tough 13.6 km long and 5.6 per cent steep second-category summit finish in the town of San Martino di Castrozza.

At the drop of the flag, eleven riders, to whom one more rider caught up a little later, broke away and by the time the escapees reached the first climb they were already 3 minutes ahead of the peloton, with the advantage growing to more than 9 minutes during the course of the day. Movistar were massed at the front of the main field for most of the stage, but the peloton was in no hurry to reel in the breakaway, and the race situation remained unchanged for most of the stage.

With 50 km remaining, it became apparent that the breakaway would contest the stage win. Then 5 km before the finish, four riders managed to put themselves out front and lead the race. Back in the peloton, Astana took the lead, but the gap to the front still remained at around 8 minutes.

With a couple of kilometres to go, Esteban Chaves launched his decisive attack at the head of the race, but none of his rivals could follow, and in the end, he rolled over the line in first place. Back in the group of favourites, M. Lopez launched a strong attack and even though some of his rivals countered, they were unable to catch up to him. The remaining favourites, among them Rafal Majka, all arrived together more than 6 minutes in arrears. At the end of the day, the Polish rider maintained his 7th place in the general classification while his teammate Davide Formolo remains in 10th place. The German champion Pascal Ackermann still leads in the points classification heading into the final two stages.

From the finish line:
“I had better legs today, and in the end, I reached the finish with the group of favourites and was able to defend my position in the general classification. There were no significant changes in the overall standings and I’m satisfied that Davide and I were able to maintain our top ten positions. After one difficult day in the mountains, I’m in good form again, and look with confidence towards the Giro’s final mountain stage tomorrow.” - Rafal Majka

“Our goal was to defend the Maglia Ciclamino today, and to ensure that Démare wasn’t able to get into the breakaway. A 12-man group of escapees eventually prevailed at the finish, and on the last climb our attention was directed towards Rafal and Davide as we wanted to give them the maximum support possible. Rafal survived a critical day in the mountains and looked very strong. Davide lost a little time, but tomorrow we’ll fact the big showdown towards Verona. But all in all, I can say that it was a good day for us today.” - Jens Zemke, Sports Director 

Edoardo Affini gets his first professional win at Tour of Norway

We posted the Tour of Norway's organizer's report with the results.

Here's the report from Affini's Mitchelton-Scott team:

22-year-old Edoardo Affini had an incredible ride at the Tour of Norway today, to claim his first ever professional victory for Mitchelton-SCOTT, after spending the lengthy 224kilometre stage in the breakaway.

The Italian timed his sprint to perfection, powering away from the other five breakaway riders to take the race win and move up to second place overall, on the same time as the race leader Edvald Boasson Hagen (Team Dimension-Data).

Edoardo Affini

Edoardo Affini gets his first pro win in Norway.

The fourth and longest stage began with a flurry of attacks with many riders trying to get into the day’s breakaway. Rob Stannard jumped away with two others for a short while, but with the peloton on high alert, the trio weren’t allowed any freedom for long.

As they were drawn back in, Affini waited in the wheels behind and picked a good move to follow which quickly opened up a gap and established a steady lead over the peloton.

The Mitchelton-SCOTT rider and his five breakaway companions hovered in front around four-minutes ahead for the majority of the day with Team Dimension-Data, the race leaders, doing most of the controlling.

After tackling the two categorised climbs on the route, the pace in the bunch picked up further and the advantage dropped under four-minutes and continued to decrease.

With just 11kilometres remaining, the breakaway riders fought on ahead and continued to hold a gap, but it was down to just one-minute. It was touch and go if the group would be caught as they made their way around the final lap with a slim advantage of just 25seconds, as they entered the final three-kilometres.

Just doing enough, the breakaway group held off the chasers and sprinted it out for the stage victory.

Following on from Esteban Chaves’ stage victory at the Giro d’Italia, the first stage victory for the Australian outfit in this year's edition of the race, the young Italian’s win today in Norway was his first ever victory as a professional rider and his first race win riding in Mitchelton-SCOTT colours.

Affini now also leads the young riders classification and sits in a very promising position heading into the final two stages, with the overall race win within striking distance.

Edoardo Affini:
“It is my first professional win so I will always rememeber this day, it is amazing. It was a super hard day, full gas from the start, then I managed to go into the breakaway and we had a really good collaboration. We were able to get a good gap on the bunch but we knew that when they start to chase fast that they can close the gap in just a few kilometres, so I was not really sure if we could stay away.

“On the last lap the guy from Lotto-Soudal decided to go really hard on the small climb on the circuit and we were a bit split but we managed to come together again and went full gas to fight against the bunch.

“When we entered the last kilometre I thought maybe it was possible, and when I did the last two corners I just found a good position and I said to myself just go all in and if they catch me it doesn’t matter.

"I tried everything and in the end I was able to do it so I am really happy. It is a great feeling."

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