With Stage 19 kicking off the final weekend of the 2019 Giro d’Italia and a mountain top finish on tap, one could have expected to see fireworks from the overall contenders. After all, time is ticking down for Vincenzo Nibali and Primoz Roglic to pull back time on an on-form Richard Carapaz and formidable Movistar team. Much like the previous 18 stages, however, the GC contenders and their teams appeared to have little interest in contesting the stage win, preferring to allow a non-threatening breakaway to take the day …
Time trials aren’t often spicy. There is often a predetermined flow to them, determined many centuries ago. Okay, maybe not… but the point is time trials are often drab affairs that lack enthusiasm across the board, both from fans and the riders. With that said, today’s 34.7km individual time trial from Riccione to San Marino brought the heat. With a course that gradually tilted upwards, and ended with a bang of a climb, stage 9 of this year’s Giro d’Italia was set to the first serious test for the overall contenders prior to the race reaching the mountains in week two.
After 270km of racing, a podium of surprises brought a close to the Tour of Flanders 2019. EF-Too-Many-Words’ Alberto Bettiol took the Classics world by storm, soloing to his first ever professional victory. Deceuninck-Quickstep’s 24-year-old Kasper Asgreen, a late addition to the squad, snuck away to claim second while Alexander Kristoff brought home the group of favourites to claim third.