Giro d’Italia 2024: Andrea Vendrame goes solo in the rain to win stage 19

<span>Andrea Vendrame shows his emotion after winning the stage with a punishing 30km solo effort.</span><span>Photograph: Marco Alpozzi/LaPresse/Shutterstock</span>
Andrea Vendrame shows his emotion after winning the stage with a punishing 30km solo effort.Photograph: Marco Alpozzi/LaPresse/Shutterstock

Decathlon-AG2R’s Andrea Vendrame won stage 19 of the Giro d’Italia after going solo for the last 30km on the way to Sappada. Vendrame burst clear in the rain to end with a 54sec cushion over Movistar’s Pelayo Sánchez, while further back Britain’s Geraint Thomas recovered from a crash to finish safely in the pack to preserve his potential podium spot.

Vendrame, aged 29, had last won a Giro stage in 2021 – a memorable stage 12 victory where the Italian emerged on top in a sprint to the line after a 16-rider breakaway. His French teammate Valentin Paret-Peintre won stage 10 last week.

The peloton crossed the line nearly 16 minutes after Vendrame. “I had been aiming for this stage since the start of the Giro. It was important to get into the day’s breakaway and I tried to save energies the whole day,” Vendrame said. “I attacked on the descent, taking a risk, saw that I had a good lead and kept pushing. It’s a special emotion because I won close to my home.”

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The overall top three is unchanged, with Tadej Pogacar (Team Emirates) primed to win with two stages remaining – he is 7min 42sec clear of Daniel Martínez (Bora-Hansgrohe), with Thomas (Ineos) a further 22sec back.

Thomas emerged seemingly unscathed after the Welshman crashed heavily after contact with the back wheel of Antonio Tiberi (Bahrain-Victorious) in the latter stages, but he retook the saddle on a fresh bike to finish safely in the peloton after Pogacar and the other maglia rosa contenders slowed up to enable him to regain contact.

He said he was “OK” after the crash. “It was lucky really,” Thomas said. “I just bounced straight back up and got back really quick. It was a stupid crash really. I was looking behind and the guys in front moved over. By the time I looked back I thought: ‘Oh crap, here we go.’”

Pogacar told Eurosport: “It showed that everyone has respect. Nobody in the group wanted to pass Thomas in that kind of way. I hope he’s OK after the crash. After all the control, it’s a stupid moment. I hope he’s OK and we can have a great show tomorrow.”

Saturday’s stage features 184km from Alpago to Bassano del Grappa, which features two challenging climbs of Monte Grappa, before Sunday’s finale in Rome.