Giro d’Italia: Jungels shows his class on Piancavallo
On a stage with four classified climbs, which witnessed an important shake up of the general classification, Bob Jungels arrived at the finish with the best.
Bob Jungels moved a place up to ninth in the general classification and remained in contention for the white jersey after the brutal and fast-ridden stage 19 of the Giro d'Italia (San Candido/Innichen – Piancavallo, 191 kilometers), which once again had fireworks from the very beginning, when on a descent several favourites attacked and gapped race leader Tom Dumoulin (Team Sunweb).
Once the hammer was put down, that group – which included also Dries Devenyns and Bob Jungels – opened a 1:30 lead on the maglia rosa, who chased hard for more than an hour together with his teammates before eventually making contact with the attackers on Sella Chianzutan, the day's second categorized climb. Once the catch was made, a breakaway got clear, and Eros Capecchi was among the riders who established a 12-minute advantage on the GC favourites.
From that group, Mikel Landa (Team Sky) surged clear on Piancavallo (15.4 kilometers at 7.3% average gradient) and scored a solo victory, while Rui Costa (UAE Team Emirates) and Pierre Rolland (Cannondale-Drapac) filled out the podium. But the key moments of the stage unfolded in the bunch, where Bahrain-Merida's unforgiving pace cracked Tom Dumoulin, who conceded the pink jersey.
Despite the tough tempo set at the front, Bob Jungels was there, showing no signs of distress and at the same time proving that Thursday's stage, when he was distanced, was just a bad day. Even in the rare moments he lost a few meters once attacks were launched, Bob kept his composure and with the help of Eros Capecchi, who slowed down from the escape and waited for him, returned in that group.
Other moves soon followed on the double-digit gradients of Piancavallo, but Bob – who showed immense mental strength, courage and a never-say-die attitude – responded with ease and stayed together with the other favourites, including white jersey Adam Yates (Orica-Scott), from whom only 28 seconds separate him with two stages left of the 100th Giro d'Italia.
Among the 164 riders to conclude the penultimate day in the mountains was also Fernando Gaviria; the 22-year-old, winner of four stages at his Grand Tour debut, continues to hold an unassailable lead in the points standings and moved one stage closer to becoming the first ever Colombian to take home the maglia ciclamino.
Photo credit: ©Tim De Waele