5 Breakout Performances That Defined The 2019 Giro

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Revisit five stages of the 2019 Giro d'Italia which elevated and defined the careers of the winning riders. FloBikes will be rebroadcasting the 2019 Giro d'Italia live every evening beginning Saturday, May 16.

Stage 2: Bologna > Fucecchio

Bora-hansgrohe made a bold decision sending their young German sprinter to the Giro d’Italia in 2019. Ackermann had never ridden a grand tour, yet he was chosen over Sam Bennett, who won three stages in the 2019 Giro.

The gamble quickly paid off. Ackermann outsprinted Elia Viviani, Caleb Ewan and Fernando Gaviria on stage two, claiming the Giro’s first sprint stage and with it the maglia ciclamino. 

Ackermann would go on to win one additional stage, and the points jersey in a dramatic three week long battle. 

Ackermann was not the obvious choice for Bora-hansgrohe’s roster, but the 2019 Giro d’Italia proved to be invaluable in the sprinter’s development.


Stage 6: Cassino > San Giovanni Rotondo

Nobody picked Valerio Conti to wear pink at the start of the Giro d’Italia, but he proved to be the sensation of the tour’s middle stages.

Conti rode into the Maglia Rosa on a tactically brilliant stage six. He started the lumpy stage to San Giovanni Rotondo respectably placed on the GC, then infiltrated the large breakaway. Conti was likely the strongest rider in the escape group, as well as the best placed on the GC. He conceded the stage victory to Fausto Masnada, but took the maglia rosa by nearly two minutes that day.

While Primoz Roglic had hoped to surrender the jersey for the intermediate stages of the race, nobody expected Conti to hold onto it for as long as he did. Conti wore the leaders jersey for five stages. He survived the lumpy stage to L’Aquila and the daunting stage nine individual time trial to San Marino. 

Conti’s grit and determination made him the pride of Italy in the 2019 Giro. 


Stage 7: Vasto > L’Aquila

Pello Bilbao had shown glimpses of greatness prior to the 2019 Giro. The year before he finished 6th overall in the Giro and won a stage of the Criterium du Dauphine. 

Bilbao’s convincing victory on the long finishing ramp in L’Aquila was however a major step up for the Spaniard. Bilbao proved to be on great form and would go on to win a second stage in the Giro before finishing second to Simon Yates on stage 12 of the Tour de France.


Stage 8: Tortoreto Lido > Pesaro

Caleb Ewan transferred to Lotto-Soudal in 2019 following a contentious split with Mitchelton-Scott. Ewan felt underutilized on the Australian squad after being snubbed from their 2018 Tour de France roster.

Ewan struggled to find his rhythm on his new team throughout the early season. Following many near misses, it all came together for Ewan on stage eight of the Giro d’Italia. Ewan would go on to win stage 11 as well. Having accomplished his goals, he flew out that evening to begin preparing for his first Tour de France, which would go resoundingly well for him.

The 2019 Giro proved that Ewan’s transfer to Lotto-Soudal was the right move, and gave him the confidence needed to win three stages in the Tour de France, including the iconic Champs Elysees sprint finale.


Stage 12: Cuneo > Pinerolo

Stage 12 was the first big mountain day of the 2019 Giro d’Italia. Many people expected fireworks as the peloton approached Pinerolo. The day did not end up providing any GC drama, but the result was surprising nonetheless.

Cesare Benedetti, a 31 year old professional of ten years, who up until that point was practically unknown to the cycling world, bested his breakaway companions to earn his first career victory.

Italian fans and journalists alike erupted as Benedetti crossed the line, despite having little to no idea who the BORA-hansgrohe rider was.

The majority of professional riders toil away as workhorses day in and day out all season long. These unsung heroes work in service of the handful of stars who frequent the podiums. It is a relatively blue collar existence compared to that of a world champion or grand tour winner, but in cycling, every dog has his day. On stage 12, Benedetti was king.

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The Giro d’Italia is not known as a friendly race for sprinters. In 2019, the course was so difficult that many of the sprinters would fly home halfway through the 21 stage event. Despite the daunting profiles, the Giro featured one of the best sprinting lineups in recent years, and the battle for the maglia ciclamino remained tightly contested all the way to Verona.

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Beginning on Saturday, May 16th, FloBikes will be streaming the 2019 Giro d'Italia live every evening beginning at 5 PM CDT.