Today’s live coverage starts at 1pm (BST)
What’s on today’s menu
Following the tragic events of last weekend in which 14 people were killed in a cable car crash, the Mottarone climb has been removed from today’s slightly shortened stage. There remains, however, three categorised climbs that are preceded by a long rising false-flattish stretch of road and it will be interesting to see how the race develops here: will teams allow Ineos Grenadiers to control the pace, or will teams ride hard in an effort to put pressure and further test Egan Bernal? Either way, for those hoping to dislodge Bernal from top spot or, indeed, look to secure their place on the podium in Milan on Sunday, today represents the penultimate opportunity to do so.
As has been the case throughout much of this Giro, today could be another day fro the breakaway riders, while the battle for the general classification will most likely play out on the final few kilometres of the last climb of the day. With a profile not too dissimilar to the one on which Bernal showed his first sign of weakness during Wednesday’s stage, all eyes will be on the Colombian and Simon Yates (Ineos Grenadiers) who will have to again ride aggressively if he wants the tear that maglia rosa off him. One suspects Bernal’s wobble was little more than a bad day at the office, but other than those inside the team camp nobody really knows. At least it keeps the race interesting, fascinating even.
Here’s what the roadbook says about Alpe di Mera, today’s potentially decisive mountain: “The final climb rises steadily at 9-10% for 10km, with pitches maxing out at 14%. The road is quite wide, with a number of hairpins. The home straight is on tarmac road.”
Catch up: Highlights from Thursday’s stage
Hello and welcome to our live rolling blog from stage 19 at the Giro d’Italia, the 166-kilometre run from Abbiategrasso to Alpe di Mera.
It was the longest stage in this year’s Giro, but Alberto Bettiol (EF Education-Nippo) will not have minded as the Italian finally landed his first grand tour stage win, and his first on home soil, with a superbly timed and executed move out of the big breakaway. Having chased down Rémi Cavagna (Deceuninck-Quick Step), the rider nicknamed the ‘TGV’, the Frenchman ran out of steam before Bettiol ploughed on towards a deserved and hugely popular victory.
Bettiol’s stage win was, quite remarkably, the 10th from a breakaway at this year’s Giro after Taco van der Hoorn (stage three), Joe Dombrowski (stage four), Gino Mäder (stage six), Victor Lafay (stage eight), Mauro Schmid (stage 11), Andrea Vendrame (stage 12), Lorenzo Fortunato (stage 14), Victor Campenaerts (stage 15) and Dan Martin (ISN) also managed to stay away. Another interesting detail from yesterday was the fact that not since the mid-1990s have all four jerseys been held by the same person, or persons, for so long. And with that, let’s remind ourselves about those standings.
Following his brief wobble during Wednesday’s stage, where he lost the princely sum of three seconds to Damiano Caruso (Bahrain Victorious), Egan Bernal (Ineos Grenadiers) on Thursday appeared to have a stress-free day and so will wear the maglia rosa, or leader’s pink jersey, for the ninth day as the race re-enters the mountains.
None of the key protagonists in the race for the points classification got in the breakaway yesterday and so Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) keeps hold of the maglia ciclamino, the cyclamen jersey.
Geoffrey Bouchard (Ag2r-Citroën) again carries the maglia azzurra, the blue jersey, on his shoulders ahead of a big day in the mountains. The Frenchman may need to get in the breakaway today if he is to add to his tally and keep top spot in the mountains classification.
Alexandr Vlasov (Astana-Premier Tech) will again wear the maglia bianca, or the white jersey, on behalf of the maglia rosa Bernal.