Ivan Basso's CSC team has again showed its generosity in the Giro d'Italia, with Jens Voigt conceding the 19th stage to Juan Manuel Garate (Quick.Step). The two riders escaped from a leading break of 12 on the finishing climb, and although Voigt looked strong enough to sprint against Garate for the win, with 200m to go, he patted his breakaway companion on the back and told him to go for it. Garate didn't hesitate, and crossed the line as the victor. Four other members of the early break stayed ahead of the fast finishing maglia rosa, who, together with Gilberto Simoni, rode away from the rest of the favourites on the San Pellegrino, with Simoni finishing 7th at 2'15.
After the finish, Voigt explained his decision not to sprint for the win - a very rare thing in such a situation in modern pro cycling. "I didn't take any leads for a long time in the break, so I didn't want to sprint for the victory," he said to team-csc.com. "That's simply not who I am. If I'm to win it has to be because I'm the strongest, not because I've been sitting on someone's wheel and letting them do all the work.
"But I felt strong and we did have a great stage. I feel like I've come out on the other side of the mountains still feeling strong, and that's a good feeling to be able to sit up front in a tough mountain stage in the Giro. And in the bigger picture things look great for us with Ivan safely in the jersey and the team in perfect shape all the way till now."
The breakaway was initially composed of 20 riders, who escaped after the 110 Gazzetta sprint at km 68. Paolo Bettini led the charge, seeking more points for the points classification, but he eventually dropped off the pace on the Passo Pordoi with some 80 km to go. That left a group of a dozen riders in front: Emanuele Sella, Fortunato Baliani, Luis Felipe Laverde Jimenez (Ceramica Panaria-Navigare), Ivan Ramiro Parra Pinto (Cofidis), Evgeni Petrov, Tadej Valjavec, Francisco J. Vila Errandonea (Lampre-Fondital), Danilo Di Luca (Liquigas), Johann Tschopp (Phonak Hearing Systems), Juan Manuel Garate (Quick Step-Innergetic), Jens Voigt (Team CSC), Patrice Halgand (Credit Agricole). The group reached a maximum lead of 6'48 at the top of the Pordoi with 63 km to go, before Saunier Duval started chasing behind and brought them back to around five minutes at the foot of the last climb, the Passo di San Pellegrino.
In front, Tadej Valjavec was the first to attack, and was quickly joined by Voigt. Then at approximately 8 km to go, Garate bridged up and attacked, with only Voigt able to follow. The pair worked together until the top, where Voigt sat up and allowed Garate the win. In the peloton, Leonardo Piepoli worked hard for his team captain Simoni to shred the field and put second on GC, Jose Enrique Gutierrez, in difficulty. Eventually, Basso and Simoni dropped the rest, with Gutierrez and Cunego coming in some 20 seconds behind them at the finish.
See also: Stage 19 full results, report & photos and .