Juan Manuel Garate (Quick Step-Innergetic) celebrates his stage win. Photo copyright Fotoreporter Sirotti.
Garate and Voigt working hard. Photo copyright Fotoreporter Sirotti.
Garate Wins Stage 19 of Giro
Juan Manuel Garate (Quick Step) has won Stage 19 of the Giro d'Italia.
Juan Manuel Garate (Quick Step) has won Stage 19 of the Giro d?Italia. Garate took the win when Jens Voigt (CSC) refused to contest the sprint at the end of the mountainous, 224-km ride from Pordenone to Passo Di San Pellegrino. Voigt finished second at 0:04, and Francisco Vila (Lampre) took third at 1:21. Maglia rosa Ivan Basso (CSC) has extended his overall lead.
The hardest stage of this year?s Giro began in the sunny, fair conditions that have greeted the riders in all of the 2006 Giro?s Italian stages. At about 70 km, the break of the day formed when Alessandro Spezialetti and Danilo Di Luca (both from Liquigas); Garate and Paolo Bettini (both from Quick Step); Patrice Halgand (Credit Agricole); Emanuele Sella, Luis Laverde, and Fortunato Baliani (all from Ceramica Panaria); Bobby Julich and Voigt (both from CSC); Joan Horrach (Caisse d?Epargne); Johan Tschopp and Steve Zampieri (both from Phonak); Vila, Evgeny Petrov, and Tadej Valjavec (all from Lampre); Theo Eltink (Rabobank); and Ivan Parra (Cofidis) sallied off of the front. The break had no dangermen in it, so the peloton did not chase.
The escapees breasted the Category 2 Staulanza (101.3 km) climb with a lead of more than five minutes. By the time that the fugitives reached the Passo di Fedaia?also known as the Marmolada (135.9 km)?they led by 6:00. Julich was dropped, but Voigt was still in the break for CSC. He took few turns because he and Julich had been sent ahead as help for Basso when the maglia rosareached them.
Behind, CSC began the pursuit, but Saunier Duval took over and got help from Lampre and Ceramica Panaria. Attrition took its toll, and with nine km remaining, only Garate, Valjavec, Vila, and Garate were all that remained of the escape. They led the Saunier Duval-led maglia rosagroup by about 3:00. At this point, the break was 10 km up the finishing climb.
Garate did most of the work. He shelled Vila and Valjavec, but Voigt remained on his wheel. With the two about to start sprinting, Voigt drew alongside the Quick Step rider, and in Garate?s words, ?He [Voigt] saw all the work Quick Step did in the beginning of the stage and told me that he didn?t deserve to win and said he wouldn?t sprint. What he did proved he was a great person and a great champion.?
Behind, no such chivalry existed. With GC positions at stake, the heads of state went all out to take time from each other. Runner-up Jose Gutierrez Cataluna (Phonak) was dropped with 4.5 km left, but the Spaniard fought back and kept his place on the podium. Defending champion Paolo Savoldelli (Discovery Channel) began the day only 0:24 behind Gilberto Simoni (Saunier Duval), but Il Falco lost nearly two and a half minutes to Simoni. Savoldelli has a chance to make up ground in Stage 20, but with Simoni being the better climber of the two, expect Savoldelli to lose more time to Simoni on the final mountain stage of this year?s Giro.
In the overall, Basso leads Gutierrez Cataluna by 6:07 and Simoni by 10:34. Stage 20 will provide a final opportunity for the climbers to win a stage. The 211-km ride from Trento to Aprica will take the riders over the Passo del Tonale, the Passo di Gavia, and the Passo del Mortirolo before the finishing climb. Who will win? Basso? Simoni? A no-hope climber? Check in at Roadcycling.com and find out!