It was another eventful stage at the Corsa Rosa, which is slowly but surely closing in on the big finale in Rome.
Stage 19 of the Giro d'Italia was dubbed by many as the toughest and potentially decisive one of this year's race, one containing four classified climbs for a total of 5216 vertical meters. Despite the obstacles lying ahead, attacks began immediately after the neutralized zone, but not even the uphill road going to the top of Colle del Lys could help a break get away, because while some teams were interested in sending a man at the front, others were poised to chase hard in order to dent their efforts.
After all those failed attempts, the peloton eventually eased up and allowed a large breakaway group to take shape and open a gap. Czech Champion Zdenek Stybar was there for Quick-Step Floors and mopped up the points at the intermediate sprint, but the break was a short-lived on, because the GC favourites had bigger plans and turned on the gas, chasing down the riders up the road and hitting the reset button on Colle delle Finestre (18.5km, 9.2%).
That was the terrain used by Chris Froome (Team Sky) to attack and drop all his opponents, before soloing to victory on Bardonecchia, a stage finish at the Giro d'Italia for just the fourth time in history. Richard Carapaz (Movistar) and Thibaut Pinot (FDJ) rounded out the podium behind Froome, the new leader of the race with two days to go.
Escorted by his amazing teammates, Elia Viviani arrived on Bardonecchia well inside the time limit after one of the toughest Grand Tour days in recent history and will sport it for the 18th consecutive day on Saturday, when the riders will take on the final mountain stage of this edition, Susa – Cervinia, 214 kilometers. In the general classification, Pratonevoso victor Maximilian Schachmann continues to be the best placed Quick-Step Floors rider.
Photo credit: ©Tim De Waele/ Getty Images