By Graham Jones
and Barry Boyce

CyclingRevealed Historians



Giro d'Italia Champions
Living and Dead







CyclingRevealed's Giro '08 Perspective

Tappa 19, May 30th, Legnano to Presolana / Monte Pora, 228 km Mountain Finish

Let's Make It Interesting

Here we go! It is time for the final, tough push into Milan . There are 480.5 km, three stage and lots of pain. Alberto Contador's lead in the General Classification is a mere 44” over Riccardo Ricco and 1'21” over Gilberto Simoni.

Just to make it interesting a heavy rain caused the peloton to roll easily. The 7 rider breakaway built a 22 minute lead before the peloton started to take interest at the 85 km to go mark of the stage.

Stage races offer racing in all kinds of conditions. Today the rain was so nasty the TV coverage was consistently interrupted. The chasing peloton dangled the breakaway's gap at 19'45” as the kilometers began to click down quickly. With the ominous Passo Gavia on the schedule tomorrow the contenders seem content to watch each other. The best GC placed rider in the breakaway was Niki Sorensen 33'25”.

King of the Mountains leader Emanuele Sella spiced up the race on the climb of the Passo Vivione and attacked with Antonio Colom Mas and Julio Alberto Perez Cuapio. The trio quickly opened a 30 second gap. Sella is a “danger rider” and will warrant a reaction from the contenders.

The descent of the Passo Vivione was very tight and with the heavy rain extremely treacherous. Race leader Alberto Contador led the single file peloton down the narrow road. The Sella group came back to the pack. The breakaway's lead was down to 16 minutes with 45 km to go.

The pace of the contenders sped up when Paolo Savoldelli launched an attack on the descent with Danilo Di Luca and Vincenzo Nibali close behind. With Savoldelli driving the pace the trio extended the gap to 1'12” over the Contador group. The Italians in the Contador group were not contributing to the chase. Astana's Kloden and Colom pushed the 9 rider group.

With 30 km to go the Di Luca escape was making the race very interesting. From the original breakaway group LPR sent Giairo Ermeti back to the Di Luca group. Under the 20 to go banner Di Luca gained 1'32” on Contador and moved into 3 rd place overall “on the road”.

At the bottom of the category 1 climb of the Passo Presolana (the next to last climb) the gap to the forgotten breakaway was down to 10 minutes.

Tinkoff's Vasili Kiryienka went over the summit of the Presolana alone with a 6'50” lead on Di Luca and 9'53” on the Contador group.

Danilo Di Luca's bold move made it interesting to the tifosi [ Images © La Gazetta ]

The final climb to the finish at the ski Monte Pora Kiryienka tired. Di Luca was flying up the final climb. With no time to waste Contador accelerated and began to take back time. After wheel sucking the entire chase Riccardo Ricco escaped the Contador group.

Riccardo Ricco [ Images © La Gazetta ]

Pedaling squares Vasili Kiryienka mercifully crossed the finish line for a classic stage win. An inspired Danilo Di Luca beat back the pain to claim second place with the clock ticking. Ricco rolled across the line for 6th place. Contador sprinted in 40 second behind Ricco to save the Maglia Rosa.

Stage winner Vasili Kiryienka [ Images © La Gazetta ]

An extraordinary stage with classic breakaway efforts has made this Giro d'Italia very interesting. There are only two more tough stages until the finish in Milan and the race is up for grabs!



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Giro d'Italia 08 (Click to enlarge)