Unlock this article, live events, and more with a subscription!
Already a subscriber? Log In
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.
Here are three must-watch sprint stages of the 2019 Giro d’Italia.
Stage 3: Vinci to Orbetello
Stage three featured a classic Giro d’Italia sprint finale. With 500 meters remaining in the stage, the peloton hurtled into a perilously narrow and tight left hand turn followed quickly by a right hand corner into the finishing straight.
The technical turns blew apart lead out trains, which left the sprinters isolated. Pascal Ackermann buoyed by confidence from his victory the day before set out too early, allowing Elia Viviani to charge around and cross the line first.
However, after a lengthy review of the stage Viviani was relegated to 73rd place. The race jury declared that Viviani deviated from his line, effectively ending a very promising sprint from Trek-Segafredo’s Matteo Moschetti.
The relegation gave Fernando Gaviria the biggest win of his challenging 2019 season. The Colombian however made it clear after the stage that he took no joy in inheriting his friend’s victory.
Stage 4: Orbetello to Frascati
Stage four of the 2019 Giro d’Italia is the must-watch early stage of the race. The stage finished on an uphill drag which was a difficult but attainable test for the sprinters. The finish posed consequences for the general classification contenders though. Time gaps could easily open on the difficult run into the line, so positioning was key.
There were multiple crashes in the final 30 minutes of racing as riders nervously jockeyed for position. With just over six kilometers of racing remaining, disaster struck for Tom Dumoulin as he got caught in a massive pileup, which fractured the peloton.
Groups were left to drag race to the line as everybody sought to limit their time losses. Caleb Ewan made a heroic charge to the line, but he could not overtake Richard Carapaz in time. Carapaz was so anonymous at this stage of the Giro that even the announcers did not know who he was as he powered over the finish line.
Stage 11: Carpi to Novi Ligure
Stage 11 was the final opportunity for a sprinter to claim a stage victory in the 2019 Giro, so the run into Novi Ligure was a frantic one.
The 2019 Giro featured one of the most daunting final weeks of any grand tour in recent memory. The second half of the race was so backweighted with mountains, that there was virtually no reason for sprinters to suffer through the final ten stages unless they were in the running for the maglia ciclamino.
Caleb Ewan emerged victorious in Novi Ligure. With two stage victories under his belt, Ewan flew home that evening with a weight lifted from his shoulders. Not only had the Giro been a success for Ewan, he was beginning to see proof that his transfer to Lotto Soudal was the right move.