Race Report: Chris Froome turned his disappointing Giro into a stunning stage win and the pink jersey after an amazing effort in the mountains. The Kenyan born Sky rider set off on a 80 kilometer ride into the pink jersey with a lead of 40 seconds over Tom Dumoulin (Sunweb). Simon Yates… Still out on the course!
Did Sky have a plan? seems so
Simon Yates had a rough day out yesterday but it wasn’t a stage that suited him and he still had time on Dumoulin, it was okay. Well, not so, the Brit completely cracked halfway through the stage and he was the first GC rider out the back. Froome asked his Sky team to crank up the pace and soon Froome was gone. Dumoulin gave chase along with Pinot and at the top of the Finestre the time gap didn’t look insurmountable. The chasing group never made the time back though and Froome continued to get away as Carapaz and Angel Lopez just sat on and took advantage of Dumoulin’s work. Froome ends the day in pink by 40 seconds ahead of Dumoulin and with a significant gap back to the rest of the field, led by Thibaut Pinot at 4:17.
A big day on the menu for Chris Froome
Froome has been hugely inconsistent this year and there’s certainly a chance he will pay for his effort tomorrow, however, Sky look right back to their best and it will take something exceptional for Dumoulin to overcome this deficit.
What a stage, what a race! Today is 184km of some of the hardest racing the riders will face all year. It starts with the relatively gentle Colle de Lys before a long section of flat riding. That takes us to the legendary Colle Delle Finestre and 18.5km of long and steep riding. The gradient rarely drops below 9% and there’s 8km of gravel riding at the top before the riders finally get to start going downhill. At the foot of the descent there’s a long but never overly steep drag to Sestriere near the French border. The climb to Sestriere will be an inconvenience rather than a real nightmare, although the summit is just 143m below the high point of the race, the Finestre. There’s a long gradual descent from Sestriere to 1,100m before the climb of the Jafferau begins in Bardonecchia. The 7.3km climb starts with sections of 14% before easing to around 8% and kicking up again inside the last couple of kilometers to 10%. The final 500m are a devilish 12.1% This is truly brutal.
Simon Yates’ last stage start in pink
Carlos Betancur (Movistar) was one of the first riders to go on the attack but he was close enough to Simon Yates (Michelton-Scott) on GC that the Australian team weren’t prepared to let him go and the heat was on. Numerous other riders tried to get across but they were never afforded much of a lifeline and the gaps were kept well under a minute. All this action was too much for Fabio Aru (UAE Team Emirates) who called it a day on the first climb capping off a hugely disappointing week for the Italian and his team. A break led over the climb but the chase never stopped and only Luis Leon Sanchez (Astana) was left in the lead as the second climb hit.
The start of the end for Simon Yates
Sky were setting a high pace on the front of the group and Simon Yates was beginning to drift back. The pink jersey, who had looked so good for so long was starting to hurt. Sky were breaking the other Brits’ resistance and he was plummeting out of GC contention. In the front, Kenny Elissonde (Sky) hadn’t been seen near the front all race but he was now setting an infernal pace which was dropping everyone. Chris Froome (Sky) was gearing up for a long range attack surely as more and more GC guys went pop. Then bang, Froome launched his attack and he was gone. Behind was a following group of Tom Dumoulin (Sunweb), Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ), Richard Carapaz (Movistar) and Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana). They were followed by a larger chasing group including Domenico Pozzovivo (Bahrain-Merida). The gap to Froome was not yet terminal for Dumoulin but it was completely game over for Yates who was now miles off the back of all three front groups. The gap to Dumoulin was 40 seconds and two minutes back to the Pozzovivo group.
Chris Froome attacks
Dumoulin was holding the gap at 40 seconds but he would’ve been hoping the climb would finish very quickly. He was doing all the chasing though as Pinot, Carapaz and Lopez were getting a fairly easy ride.
The Dumoulin group crossed the summit with a 45 second gap, but only after Pinot had stopped for a bike change. The Dutchman had done a hell of a job closing the gap to Froome. The Pozzovivo group crossed with 2:22 of a gap to Froome but although it wasn’t good it wasn’t as catastrophic for the Italian who had a chance of getting back on the Dumoulin group. It was the end for Yates though who was 12.30 back and still toiling on the climb.
Froome solo on the gravel
The Gap Grows
The Froome gap was increasing but it might have been tactical for Dumoulin who was allowing Sebastian Reichenbach (Groupama-FDJ) to get back on to the back of the break. The gap was now 1.30 but there was another chaser and Dumoulin was still wearing the virtual pink jersey.
Tom Dumoulin chased hard, but…
It was all over for Yates
The gap wasn’t stopping though and it was now 1:54, Dumoulin was still pink but he now needed lots of help getting the Brit back before the next climb. This gap wasn’t stopping growing now though and as they began the descent to the final climb it was 2:55 and Froome was tugging at the virtual pink jersey. The Pozzovivo group was now 5.50 and fast loosing a grip on the chase, if only the Italian had summoned energy early on the Finestre climb to stay with the Dumoulin group, he’d be easily riding onto the podium.
Colle delle Finestre
Despite the Dumoulin group having five riders in, virtually all the work was being done by Dumoulin and he was losing ground on Froome, the gap was now three minutes with 20km to go. Angel Lopez and Carapaz had made the group but were very happy to sit on knowing that Dumoulin was pulling them both away from Pozzovivo.
Tom Dumoulin – Still second, now to Chris Froome
As they started the final climb the gap was 3:33 and Froome was now firmly in pink. Had he measured his effort though and did they have energy left on the final climb?
There was sadness behind as Ben O’Connor, the surprise package from Team Dimension Data, was forced to abandon after a crash on the descent to the final climb.
The tables were turning very slowly in the lead as Dumoulin hauled back 15 seconds early on as the climb started. But now the Dutchman was in trouble as the climb steepened. Reichenbach and Pinot hit the front and Dumoulin went out the back. Reiechenbach went crack soon after and Dumoulin was back up to the front. But Pinot attacked again as Dumoulin kept working at his pace. Pinot’s gap was around ten seconds but the Dutchman was keeping him within his view and Froome was coming back. His lead was now 3:14 over Dumoulin, if the Sunweb rider gained another 30 seconds he would be in pink. Froome had 4km to go and he wasn’t cracking but he was slowly losing time. Dumoulin was back on Pinot’s wheel and then Lopez went, followed by Carapaz. The pair had done nothing all chase but they were now pushing on and Pinot was giving chase. Dumoulin was once gain alone but he was just consistent and now he was back again. And then he was pushing the pace once more.
Dumoulin was forced back to the front and the gap was 3:11. The early gains Dumoulin was making were starting to disappear and Froome was keeping a firm grip on pink. Froome was under the red kite and he was now in pink by 22 seconds in this Lazarus like turnaround. Froome crossed the line with a roar and a gangly punch of the air. In the chasing group the early attacks had died down and now Dumoulin was back on the front. The gap was 1:32 with 450m left to ride, Dumoulin had to now dig deep. Dumoulin wasn’t going to be able to respond to the attacks though and Carapaz flew clear, he was followed by Pinot and Lopez. Dumoulin came over the line 3:22 behind and his head dropped as he looked at the time he’d lost.
The stage, KOM and overall lead
Froome had used his team to set the platform for his attack and after they’d whittled down all the other domestiques it had been Mano a Mano for the next 80km of the stage. The Brit hadn’t ever looked like losing time until the final climb and even then he’d handed back seconds rather than the minutes Dumoulin needed. It seems like days since Yates cracked but after performing so amazingly early on in the race it’s a hugely disappointing end for the Brit.
The 2018 Giro d’Italia lead for Chris Froome
Stage winner, KOM and race leader Chris Froome (Sky): “I don’t think I’ve ever attacked 80km from the finish in my career so far, riding on my own and going all the way to the finish. The team did a fantastic job to set that up for me. First we had to get rid of Simon Yates and then to ride away from Tom Dumoulin. To go from fourth to first, I wasn’t going to do it on the last climb. Colle delle Finestre was the perfect place to do it. Graveled roads remind me of Africa. There’s another hard day tomorrow but the legs are feeling better and better as the race goes on.”
The end of the dream for Simon Yates at 38 minutes and 51 seconds
Giro d’Italia Stage 19 Result:
1. Chris Froome (GB) Sky in 5:12:26
2. Richard Carapaz (Ecu) Movistar at 3:00
3. Thibaut Pinot (Fra) Groupama-FDJ at 3:07
4. Miguel Angel Lopez (Col) Astana at 3:12
5. Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Sunweb at 3:23
6. Sébastien Reichenbach (Swi) Groupama-FDJ at 6:13
7. Davide Formolo (Ita) Bora-Hansgrohe at 8:22
8. Sam Oomen (Ned) Sunweb at 8:23
9. Patrick Konrad (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe
10. Pello Bilbao (Spa) Astana
11. Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) Bahrain-Merida at 8:29
12. George Bennett (NZ) LottoNL-Jumbo at 8:38
13. Alexandre Geniez (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale at 9:45
14. Sergio Henao (Col) Sky at 11:09
15. Wout Poels (Ned) Sky
16. Ben Hermans (Bel) Israel Cycling Academy at 14:00
17. Gianluca Brambilla (Ita) Trek-Segafredo at 14:20
18. Rohan Dennis (Aus) BMC Racing Team 0:14:38
19. José Gonçalves (Por) Katusha-Alpecin at 14:55
20. Robert Gesink (Ned) LottoNL-Jumbo 0:15:41
21. Georg Preidler (Aut) Groupama-FDJ at 19:32
22. Luis León Sanchez (Spa) Astana
23. Kilian Frankiny (Swi) BMC at 23:07
24. Diego Ulissi (Ita) UAE Team Emirates at 24:43
25. Hubert Dupont (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale at 24:49
75. Simon Yates (GB) Mitchelton-Scott) at 38:51.
Giro d’Italia Overall After Stage 19:
1. Chris Froome (GB) Sky in 80:21:59
2. Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Sunweb at 0:40
3. Thibaut Pinot (Fra) Groupama-FDJ at 4:17
4. Miguel Angel Lopez (Col) Astana at 4:57
5. Richard Carapaz (Ecu) Movistar at 5:44
6. Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) Bahrain-Merida at 8:03
7. Pello Bilbao (Spa) Astana at 11:08
8. Patrick Konrad (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe at 12:19
9. George Bennett (NZ) LottoNL-Jumbo at 12:35
10. Sam Oomen (Ned) Sunweb at 14:18
11. Davide Formolo (Ita) Bora-Hansgrohe at 15:16
12. Alexandre Geniez (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale at 16:29
13. Rohan Dennis (Aus) BMC at 16:38
14. Wout Poels (Ned) Sky at 17:40
15. Sergio Henao (Col) Sky at 26:02
16. José Gonçalves (Por) Katusha-Alpecin at 28:16
17. Sébastien Reichenbach (Swi) Groupama-FDJ at 35:29
18. Simon Yates (GB) Mitchelton-Scott at 35:42
19. Carlos Betancur (Col) Movistar at 40:47
20. Georg Preidler (Aut) Groupama-FDJ at 53:55
21. Michael Woods (Can) EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale at 57:18
22. Hubert Dupont (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale at 1:01:03
23. Gianluca Brambilla (Ita) Trek-Segafredo at 1:01:10
24. Maximilian Schachmann (Ger) Quick-Step Floors at 1:02:07
25. Mikel Nieve (Spa) Mitchelton-Scott at 1:04:29.