While Alberto Contador has a seemingly unassailable lead in the Giro d'Italia, his rivals continue to fight for the remaining spoils. Stage 19 was the penultimate chance for riders to make an impact on the general classification, hunt for a stage victory and fight for the King of the Mountains jersey, and they did not disappoint.
Saturday 30 May 2015

There is only one thing on Ryder Hesjedal's mind and that's a Giro d'Italia stage victory.

As a former winner of the Giro, the Canadian has no desire to fight for the minor general classification placings.

He has been aggressive throughout the race but has not yet managed to be first accross the line. The Cannondale-Garmin rider finished a frustrating second on Stage 19 to Fabio Aru after what he describes as a tactical error.

“I think I messed up, I shouldn’t have tried to stay with Aru when he accelerated,” Hesjedal told Cyclingnews.

“That completely exploded me, where as if I didn’t go into the red, I think I could have got on terms with him and tried my chance in the sprint against him. It’s a little frustrating."

Despite coming up short Hesjedal is pleased with his performance.

“I think my riding and performing is better than the result reflects. The result is just a product of racing this way. As I keep saying, I’ve won the Giro, so I’m not excited for fifth or seventh overall.

“I’m completely happy, you can’t control everything. I’m happy to be on the front in the third week. The field and the level is incredible here. Hats off to Aru and Astana, they’re unreal, riding all day like that. I’m just happy to be up there in the front.”

Etixx-Quick-Step's leader Rigoberto Uran is more than 30 minutes down on Maglia Rosa Alberto Contador, but despite this the Colombian remains aggressive.

Uran fought hard to finish third on the stage, 1min 10sec behind winner Fabio Aru, hoping to net a stage victory to salvage his Giro campaign.

"The last week is a week to try to get the best out of each stage. My goal was to try to do a good race and see what can happen. At the beginning I tried to also enter into a few breakaways, but they didn't let us go. I stayed there in the peloton until we reached the last climb here in Cervinia. I felt good and comfortable. When they first started attacking I responded. But when they attacked again I couldn't follow. I decided to take my tempo and recover. I found on the road Amador, Nieve, and Kangert. We collaborated with Amador, but he lost contact with us on the climb. I was there only with Nieve and Kangert. They had a team-mate in front, so it was clear they wouldn't try something to compromise that. So in the tunnel I attacked them. At the end of the tunnel I could see Contador and the others. I attacked my group and came back to the maglia rosa group. Then, when I arrived there, I knew Aru was already gone along with Hesjedal. At that point I did my best to play my card. I went immediately and I took a small gap. I really did everything I could and at the end I was 3rd. So, considering everything, I am happy. As I said already, the Giro ends on Sunday, every stage is an opportunity. Every day we will fight, even with all the problems we've had here in this Giro. To be honest I am happy I was able to stay with the best and finish the stage among the top guys of the peloton."

 

Leopold Konig finished eighth on the stage to move himself back to fifth overall with two stages remaining.

While fifth overall isn't usually a result that Team Sky chases, Konig was only given leadership of Sky in the third week after Richie Porte withdrew from the Giro.

"It went well today. I had team-mates alongside me for a long time," said König after the stage.

"I felt really good in the heat. I was worried about today as I didn't have a really good night last night. I was feeling almost sick from the last few stages. I'm really happy that it turned out this way and I think we did a really good job."

LottoNL-Jumbo's Steven Kruijswijk lost his lead in the mountain classification of the Giro d’Italia despite an impressive ride to the Cervinia ski resort.

A day in the breakaway allowed Movistar's Giovanni Visconti to earn points on the three intermediate climbs to pull on the Maglia Azzurra. Kruijswijk is second, 16 points behind with Visconti's team-mate Benat Intausti trailing him by just two points.

“It was very tough today,” said Kruijswijk who placed fifth on the stage and dropped to ninth overall. “It was a long day with a lot of climbing. I tried to be with the best uphill again and was hoping to pick up some extra points for the mountain classification. That didn’t turn out exactly the way I wanted it to, but I was strong enough to finish fifth again in the end. That is the most important thing for me.

“I want to finish top 10 in the general classification, either way. I will not be able to attack at the Cima Coppi, tomorrow when you look at that stage. I will be quiet and I’m going to try to follow the best climbers again.”