Andrea Vendrame of Decathlon AG2R La Mondiale seized victory on stage 19 of the Giro d’Italia after a decisive attack 30 kilometres from the finish. The Italian rider left behind a formidable group of contenders, including Julian Alaphilippe, Pelayo Sanchez, Georg Steinhauser, and Jhonatan Narvaez, maintaining a minute’s lead to secure the win.

A day for the breakaway

The 157-kilometre stage from Mortegliano to Sappada was marked by an early aggressive pace as riders jostled to join the breakaway. Initial attempts by a large group, including Attila Valter and Eduardo Affini, were thwarted as the peloton quickly closed down the gap. Julian Alaphilippe eventually succeeded in breaking away, joined by Jhonatan Narvaez, Pelayo Sanchez, Andrea Vendrame, and others. Despite numerous attempts to bridge across, it wasn’t until 44 kilometres into the stage that a more substantial group formed, including key riders like Luke Plapp and Quinten Hermans.

The race continued with high tension as attacks and crashes punctuated the descent. Both Narvaez and Mauri Vansevenant crashed but managed to rejoin their groups swiftly. The leaders built a considerable gap, and as they approached the first classified climb, the Passo Duron, the breakaway solidified its lead. Tadej Pogacar, suffering a puncture, had to briefly stop, allowing the leaders’ advantage to extend beyond ten minutes.

Vendrame’s decisive move

Vendrame’s decisive moment came during the final climb. Despite the challenging wet conditions, he attacked on the descent and held a one-minute lead over his pursuers. “I had been aiming for this stage since the start of the Giro. It was important to get into the day’s breakaway, and I tried to save energies[sic] the whole day,” said Vendrame. “I attacked on the descent, taking a risk, saw that I had a good lead and kept pushing. It’s a special emotion because I won close to my home.”

Pelayo Sanchez managed to secure second place after chasing hard, while Narvaez out-sprinted Luke Plapp for third. In the general classification group, Geraint Thomas’s crash within the last six kilometres led to a regrouping, with the maglia rosa, Pogacar, ensuring no time was lost. Pogacar commented, “The whole Giro in general has been great in terms of respect to each other. We saw it today when Geraint Thomas crashed, no one wanted to do anything stupid. It was a nice moment, not for Thomas but for cycling.”

This victory marked Vendrame’s second Giro stage win, his first since 2021. Decathlon AG2R La Mondiale celebrated their second stage win of this Giro, following Valentin Paret-Peintre’s success on stage 10. The race continues to build historical significance, with Pogacar equalling Stephen Roche’s record of 18 maglia rosa in a single Giro, last achieved in Sappada in 1987.

2024 Giro d’Italia Stage 19 result

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All photo credits: LaPresse