Giro d’Italia, Stage 19…A Gift From Contador

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Paolo Tiralongo has been racing professionally for 12 years and has never won a race. He’s had some strong showings and podiums, but never a win. He actually won the mountains classification at the Tour Down Under back in 2004, but no a stage win.

Tiralongo timed his move beautifully with 6km to go while Richie Porte was lighting up the pace behind him. This was the first time this Giro I can recall seeing Richie have a good dig out there and it was great to watch.

Can you imagine what was going through Tiralongo’s mind when his old mate Alberto caught him with 400m remaining? I gotta admit, I was slightly surprised to see Contador pull Tiralongo to the finish and gift him the win (then again Contador did this in a similar vein on stage 14 for José Rujano). A classy thing to do for an former teammate and friend. It made me think of stage 14 of the 2009 TdF when Hincapie was chased down by Garmin and Astana (Lance) for no apparent reason where he missed wearing the yellow jersey by a matter of seconds. George was heartbroken.

Even though professional sport isn’t about making everyone happy and staying friends, it’s great to see that loyalty and a favor here and there pays dividends. Contador certainly honored that unwritten code for Tiralongo.

If there’s one stage you shouldn’t miss from this year’s Giro d’Italia, it’s Stage 20 up the Colle delle Finestre. Check out the last time they went up it back in 2005 when Paolo Savoldelli and José Rujano (yes, the same little Venezuelan as in this year’s Giro) litte battled it out. You can read an excellent account of this legendary climb by a regular bloke here. It’s gonna be awesome.

Cam’s Giro Diary

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So I was thinking maybe we could go for the hour record today. Yesterdays first hour was very fast but today had a dead flat start with a slight tail wind. You could tell in the neutral part before the race that everyone was edgy and getting ready. Boom as soon as the flag went down to start the race we were up over 60km hour straight away.

5 minutes in and that predicted rain came bucketing down. We were riding through rivers as some points as because we were just on the outskirts of Milan there were a heap of roundabouts and corners. Somehow tho even on the wet roads we clocked the first 50km in an hour.

The peleton was in one big long line and the pressure on the pedals for that first hour felt like a time trial. Jumping out of the round abouts in the wet adds to the elastic band effect of the peleton making the efforts much harder and longer.

Finally the break went as three riders went clear after an hour of racing and with it the sun came out. We rolled along for a good 10km very easy chatting and saying how hard the start was before we were back into single file chasing the break.

We hit the major climb of the day with 75km still to race and I dug deep to stay in contact with the second group who over the other side after the descent connected again with the front. Along with the connection came the rain again. The last 50km it poured. Unfortunately it caused a few problems with a massive crash, causing approximately 10 riders to go down and some not being able to rejoin the race due to broken bones.

The finishing climb was a long gradual 25km with a few steeper sections. I finished with a group of 30 and was glad to see the end of the stage. It was very demanding all day and with the pouring rain it is always hard to keep the hydration and food intake high.

Ill need a big dinner tonight as tomorrows final road race stage is a lengthy 242km with some monstrous mountains to finish. One more day and then its time trial time.

Stay tuned.


Final Kilometers


courtesy of Veeral Patel, Sirotti, and RCS

Stage 19 Results

1 Paolo Tiralongo (Ita) Pro Team Astana 5:26:27
2 Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Saxo Bank Sungard
3 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale 0:00:03
4 John Gadret (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 0:00:06
5 Joaquin Rodriguez Oliver (Spa) Katusha Team
6 Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team
7 Michele Scarponi (Ita) Lampre – ISD 0:00:08
8 Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Pro Team Astana 0:00:21
9 Hubert Dupont (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 0:00:29
10 Kanstantsin Sivtsov (Blr) HTC-Highroad 0:00:34

20 Richie Porte (Aus) Saxo Bank Sungard 0:01:20
114 Cameron Meyer (Aus) Team Garmin-Cervelo 20:19

General Classification after Stage 19

1 Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Saxo Bank Sungard 77:11:24
2 Michele Scarponi (Ita) Lampre – ISD 0:05:18
3 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale 0:05:52
4 John Gadret (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 0:07:53
5 Kanstantsin Sivtsov (Blr) HTC-Highroad 0:09:58
6 Mikel Nieve Ituralde (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi 0:10:08
7 Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Pro Team Astana 0:10:20
8 Joaquin Rodriguez Oliver (Spa) Katusha Team 0:10:43
9 Denis Menchov (Rus) Geox-TMC 0:10:51
10 José Rujano Guillen (Ven) Androni Giocattoli 0:11:50

87 Richie Porte (Aus) Saxo Bank Sungard 2:25:57
136 Cameron Meyer (Aus) Garmin-Cervelo 3:27:56

Stage 20 Preview

Stage 20 3D Tour

courtesy of

<p>Cycling the Alps profile</p> <p>

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