As expected, all the essentials were decided in the final nine-kilometer climb on the Alps to Mera, where the stage on the Giro ended for the first time in history. The third man in the standings, Yates, entered the group of favorites seven kilometers before the finish line and finished for the fourth triumph on Giro in his career.
Bernal and his two Ineos Grenadiers assistants did not respond to Yates’ attack and continued at a machine pace. Although the Colombian in the pink jersey seemed to be in trouble, his loss to Yates did not increase much.
“I knew the Ineos guys would rather go at their own pace, so I felt like they’d let me go today. I also read something from Egan on twitter that they would go more conservatively. So I believed they would let me, and as soon as I attacked, I knew I was right, “Yates said. “I put everything into it today. It was not the most difficult stage, but the final hill was very difficult,” added the winner.
About two kilometers before the finish, Bernal formed a pair with the Portuguese Joa Almeida and they went to see Yates. Almeida eventually missed Bernal, but it was important for the leader to shake off the second man in the standings, Damian Carus.
After 166 km, Yates finished 11 seconds ahead of Almeida, Bernal was third after a defensive performance with a gap of 28 seconds. He defeated the fourth Italian Carus by four seconds and is ahead of him by 2:29 minutes. The third Yates loses another 20 seconds.
“I felt very good today, I did the climb. Of course, Yates was the best today, but I’m happy with my condition. I hope to have equally good legs tomorrow and stay in the pink,” said Bernal, who can win the second Grand Tour after the previous year’s Tour de France.
The Czech mountaineer Hirt finished 14th in the difficult stage with a distance of 3:23 and recorded his best position on this year’s Giro. He moved to the thirtieth position in the standings.
The stage was modified to avoid ascending to the top of Mottarone for reverent reasons, where 14 people lost their lives, including a nine-year-old child, during a cable car accident on Sunday. The cyclists unanimously agreed to donate all the prize money from the stage to the families of the victims and to the only surviving, five-year-old boy.
The last mountain test before Sunday’s time trial in Milan will be Saturday’s stage from Verbanie to Valle Spluga-Alpe Motta with three climbs.
|Cycling stage race Giro d’Italia – 19th stage: Abbiategrasso – Alpe di Mera (166 km):|
|1. S. Yates (Brit./BikeExchange) 4:02:55|
|2. Almeida (Portug./Deceuninck-Quick Step) -11|
|3. Bernal (Kol./Ineos Grenadiers) -28|
|4. Caruso (It./Bahrajn Victorious)|
|5. Vlasov (Rus./Astana-Premier Tech) both -32|
|6. D. Martin (Ir./Israel Start-Up Nation) -42|
|7. Martínez (Kol./Ineos Grenadiers) -49|
|8. Bouwman (Niz./Jumbo-Visma)|
|9. Foss (Nor./Jumbo-Visma )|
|10. Bardet (Fr./DSM) all -1: 25|
|14. Hirt (ČR / Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert) -3: 23|
|1. Bernal 81:13:37|
|2. Caruso -2: 29|
|3. S. Yates -2:49|
|4. Hair -6: 11|
|5. Carthy (Brit./EF Education-Nippo) -7: 10|
|6. Bardet -7: 32|
|7. Martínez -7:42|
|8. Almeida -8:26|
|9. Foss -10:19|
|10. D. Martin -13:55|
|30. Hirt -1:29:07|