Dutchman Koen Bouwman, (Jumbo), won the 19th stage of Tour of Italy at Castelmonte sanctuary in Cividale in Friuli Nordeast. The Olympic champion, Richard Carapaz (Ineos), from Ecuador retained the pink jersey as leader two days before Sunday's final time trial in Verona. He had the same advantage of 3 seconds over Australian Jai Hindley.
Bouwman won the Giro for the second consecutive time after his victory on stage 7. He beat his four breakaway friends in a bumpy finish thanks to a "straight-on" for two riders (Vendrame and Valter) at the final bend. The Dutchman won his best climber's jersey beating the Swiss Mauro Schemid and Alessandro Tonelli. Attila Valter, a Hungarian climber, was 4th ahead of Andrea Vendrame, an Italian climber who made an incursion into Slovenia.
Koen Bouwman raises both his arms as the favorite brawl.
With 12 riders in the breakaway, they tackled the Kolovrat (13.3 km at 9.2%) with nine minutes more than the peloton. The four survivors (Bouwman Schmid, Tonelli and Valter) lost just under a minute on the climb near Caporetto. This is the location of an historic defeat for the Italians during the First World War.
After the Bora team of Australian Jai Hindley pulled out, the advantage grew. However, the gap narrowed as they reached the final 7-kilometer climb. Carapaz tried Hindley several times, but failed to make it. Third in the standings was Mikel Landa from Spain. He also tried unsuccessfully.
Richie Porte (pink jersey teammate) announced that he was retiring from the Giro. He died shortly after being dropped from the first climb of this 19th stage.
Saturday's 20th stage includes three iconic passes of the Dolomites: the San Pellegrino and the Pordoi, which are the highest points at 2,239m above sea level. The Fedaia is the final stage. The final ascent, at 7.6%, leads to the heart and Marmolada massif of the Dolomites via a dramatic climb that is extremely steep in its last 5,400m (11.2%).