Geraint Thomas Maintains Lead as Santiago Buitrago Wins Stage 19
Geraint Thomas of Britain is set to defend his 26-second lead in the individual time trial after Santiago Buitrago emerged victorious in stage 19 of the Giro d’Italia. Buitrago, hailing from Colombia, secured the win with Canada’s Derek Gee finishing second, marking his fourth second-place finish in this year’s race.
GC Race Heats Up in Final Kilometers
The general classification (GC) race came alive in the last 2km of the challenging 183km route from Longarone to Tre Cime di Lavaredo. Primoz Roglic, representing Slovenia, made a late surge, narrowing the gap on Thomas as they approached the finish line. Roglic managed to snatch three seconds from the Welshman and crossed the line alongside Magnus Cort, who claimed third place. It initially seemed that Roglic might lose time to Thomas, but his strong finish altered the dynamics of the race.
(Read Also: Geraint Thomas Extends Lead in Giro d’Italia as Filippo Zana Claims Stage 18 Victory)
Thomas Battles Roglic’s Attack
Geraint Thomas, a member of Ineos Grenadiers, demonstrated exceptional resilience when Roglic attacked him on the steep 18% slopes of Tre Cime di Lavaredo, the highest point in this year’s Giro at an altitude of 2304m. Thomas recounted his strategy, stating, “When I went with 400 meters to go, I realized after 100m that 400m is a long way at this altitude. I just tried to pace it and then Roglic came past in the last 100 meters or so. I lost a couple of seconds on the line, but it was nice to gain some time on Joao.”
Roglic’s Bike Change Proves Beneficial
Roglic made a crucial decision to switch bikes with approximately 20km remaining, opting for one with lower gears to tackle the demanding mountain-top finish. This strategic move paid off, as both Roglic and Thomas were able to distance themselves from Portugal’s Joao Almeida. Almeida lost 20 seconds on the stage and now finds himself trailing 59 seconds behind in the race for the Maglia Rosa, the pink jersey awarded to the overall leader.
(Read Also: Dainese Emerges Victorious in Photo Finish on Stage 17 of Giro d’Italia, Thomas Holds onto Pink Jersey)
Crucial Mountain Time Trial Ahead
With the GC race delicately poised, all eyes turn to the upcoming mountain time trial, which will play a decisive role in the outcome of the Giro. The time trial covers 18.6km from Tarvisio to the summit of Monte Lussari, featuring the majority of its 1,050 meters of climbing and a steep ramp of almost 19% in the latter half of the route. The thrilling conclusion of the Giro awaits on Sunday with a ceremonial 135km stage around Rome.