• Steven Kruijswijk (Pink) will ride defensively for the duration of Stage 19 (Getty) (Getty Images)Source: Getty Images
Opportunities are fast running out for Esteban Chaves (Orica-GreenEdge) and Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) to dislodge Giro d'Italia race leader Steven Kruijswijk (LottoNL-Jumbo) from his perch, with a testing Stage 19 the penultimate chance.
Cycling Central

Giro d'Italia
27 May 2016 - 10:41 AM 

This is a high mountain stage featuring a summit finish, and “home” to the Cima Coppi. The route runs constantly uphill (on deceptively flat roads) over 80km, all the way up to Casteldelfino.

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Here the road starts to climb up Colle dell’Agnello (Cima Coppi, 2744 metres). The following 40km run mostly downhill and lead to Guillestre, at the foot of the final climb. There are a few tunnels around kilometre 135.

The last 13km run entirely uphill, with an average 7 per cent gradient and 15 hairpins. The roadway is very wide and well surfaced. The home straight, 150 metres in length, on a 6 metre wide asphalt road, has an 8 per cent uphill gradient.

"As for tomorrow and Saturday, I’m looking forward to them. I’ve trained a lot in long climbs like this and I showed last week that I cope well with the altitude." - Steven Kruijswijk.

Risoul is a large, modern and well-equipped ski area. In 2014, the Tour de France held a stage going from Grenoble to Risoul 1850.

Victory went to Rafal Maika (Tinkoff), while Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) wore the yellow jersey, staking a claim to the final victory in Paris.

Both riders are likely to feature at the finish, with Nibali looking tor restore some lustre to his campaign and Majka to better his position.

However, expectations are that it will be Chaves and Valverde who will attempt to place Kruijswijk under as much pressure as possible.