Geraint Thomas takes big step towards Giro d’Italia victory with finish line in sight

Geraint Thomas and Primož Roglič at the Giro d'Italia - Reuters/Jennifer Lorenzini

Geraint Thomas and Primož Roglič at the Giro d’Italia – Reuters/Jennifer Lorenzini

Geraint Thomas maintained his bid to become the oldest Giro d’Italia champion although he saw his lead cut slightly by closest rival Primož Roglič on Friday on the toughest stage of the race.

Roglič crossed the summit finish of the so-called “Queen Stage” three seconds ahead of Thomas at the end of the race’s final mountain road stage.

There were no flat sections and five tough, classified climbs on the 183-kilometre (114-mile) route from Longarone to the Tre Cime di Lavaredo, which had gradients of up to 18 per cent.

The 19th stage was won by Santiago Buitrago, who finished 51 seconds ahead of Derek Gee and one minute, 46 seconds ahead of Magnus Cort and Roglič, who just missed out on bonus seconds.

The 37-year-old Thomas, who rides for Ineos Grenadiers, is 26 seconds ahead of Roglič going into what will be a decisive penultimate stage on Saturday

Third-place João Almeida lost more time and was 59 seconds behind Thomas.

Roglič changed his bicycle shortly before the start of the penultimate climb and he made his move inside the final kilometre. However, Thomas was able to stick to his wheel and the British cyclist made his own attack in the final 500 metres and looked to have slightly distanced his rival.


But Roglič came back and gained what could be a vital few seconds.

The winner will likely be decided in Saturday’s mountain time trial that ends in a demanding climb up Monte Lussari, with an elevation of over 1,000 meters (3,000 feet) and gradients of up to 22 per cent.

The race ends on Sunday in a mostly ceremonial finish in Rome, where Thomas could beat the age record held by Fiorenzo Magni, who was 34 when he won in 1955.

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