Buongiorno and welcome to the Cyclingnews live coverage of stage 19 from Morbegno to Asti.
It's raining in Morbegno and it seems the riders aren't happy with the length of the stage and close to seven hours in the rain after a third week of stages close to 200km.
The riders are heading to the start line after talking to race director Mauro Vegni.
After talks Italian RAI television is reporting that the stage will start, then riders will travel by their team buses down the course and then complete a shorter section of the stage.
Big meeting before the start of today’s stage @giroditalia @HansenAdam meeting with #UCI commissaries and race director Mauro Vegni of #RCS more info soon @Eurosport @GcnRacing pic.twitter.com/ftdlAInqUgOctober 23, 2020
The riders are lined up with new pink jersey Wilco Kelderman on the front.
For now nobody seems to know how far they will ride before climbing into the team bus and how much of the 258km stage will be raced.
🐰✌🏻 Our #Giro🇮🇹 white jersey wearer @JaiHindley photo bombing race leader @W1lcokelderman at the bus this morning.😂 #KeepChallenging #CreatingMemories pic.twitter.com/liPNrjE60gOctober 23, 2020
According to Italian television, the riders will climb onto the buses now and drive towards Milan, with the final 150km raced as scheduled.
Our man on the race Barry Ryan has seen riders return to their buses. They will now transfer down the Valtellina valley to near Milan for the expected second start of the new reduced stage.
The riders will no doubt be happy to avoid 100km in the rain and can relax on the team buses during the drive south.
Giro d'Italia director Mauro Vegini will probably not be as happy after the late protest and a decision taken just minutes before the official roll out.
🐰✌🏻 Our #Giro🇮🇹 white jersey wearer @JaiHindley photo bombing race leader @W1lcokelderman at the bus this morning.😂 #KeepChallenging #CreatingMemories pic.twitter.com/liPNrjE60gOctober 23, 2020
From the Cyclingnews blimp we can see that the riders rolled out together but the race has been neutralised as they await for the team buses to join them.
They riders are now stopping on a long straight section of road, it seems where the buses will stop.
It's pouring with rain as the riders wait for their team buses.
This is predictably chaotic... #Giro pic.twitter.com/OnWd0DsMtzOctober 23, 2020
The Giro d'Italia has stopped but it seems they are still waiting for two team buses to arrive to collect their riders.
❕After discussions ahead of the start, the decision has been made to shorten today’s stage.The riders will go by bus closer to the finish and will then take on the 150km to Asti. #AstanaProTeam #Giro pic.twitter.com/qv2s24cAn0October 23, 2020
#Giro the race is definitely on. Team buses are racing to pick up the riders and get to the real start around Como. right call by the riders, but again, should have been discussed and decided last night. Big mess here right now. #Giro103 @Eurosport @gcntweet pic.twitter.com/AeYlxwkKxFOctober 23, 2020
The race caravan is still stopped in the road a few kilometres south of Morbegno. There are discussion about where the stage will start. It seems it could start in Como and so after a reduction of 75km.
Bernhard Eisel is a former rider and often represented the riders in talks about safety and race changes. He now works for Eurosport and GCN and is in Italy. He defends the rider protest.
I know you want to see some racing, but since the last rest day, the riders had super hard and extremely long stages+transfers over 3hrs a day. Breakfast 🚌 - 7hrs 🚴🏼♀️ 🏔+🚌 in the 3rd week of GT. Riders are tired-they are exhausted and it’s not a normal year. #respecttheridersOctober 23, 2020
As the rain pours down the race caravan has set off all together for the new start location. It seems all the vehicles and team buses will have a police escort to ensure they stay together and reach the start point in time.
It seems riders were also angry about long transfers and traffic problems last night after the stage over the Stelvio. Some teams faced a long drive down the Valtellina valley during the rush hour and so arrived late at their hotels.
🇮🇹 - @giroditalia 🚴♂️ ➡ 🚌 ➡ 🚴♂️#allezALM - #Giro103 - © @fredmachabert pic.twitter.com/hxuuEqtQx6October 23, 2020
Thanks to the jury and the #Giro organiser for listening to #CPA request. The #health is the priority, especially in this #COVID period. Reducing today's stage will not diminish the show, but will allow the immune defenses of the #riders not to be put at greater risk.📸Monguzzi pic.twitter.com/1ZKmVq8CdROctober 23, 2020
As the buses drive down the Valtellina with a police escort, RAI Tv is now suggesting the new stage start will be in Abbiategrasso, to the west of Milan.
That will mean a stage of 107km, cutting 150km from the stage. Abbiategrasso is a better start location than Como because it will allow the race convoy to arrive via the hors course route.
The stage would start at around 1:30 to respect the original race schedule and live television schedule.
It seems the Bora-Hansgrohe bikes were loaded on the bus along with their riders.
🇮🇹 #GiroThe start of stage 19 is delayed after a protest. The stage will now be shortened. We will update you as soon as we have new details. pic.twitter.com/6FZjyxiXdoOctober 23, 2020
Several different start locations have been reported but Giro d'Italia organiser RCS Sport has still to confirm where the stage will start.
Considering the weather situation the race has been neutralized at Km 8. Will follow updates on the restart.La tappa, viste le condizioni atmosferiche, è stata neutralizzata al km 8. Seguiranno aggiornamenti per la precisa ripartenza della corsa.#Giro pic.twitter.com/jURSxSpey6October 23, 2020
As the Giro d'Italia caravan travels by bus to the new start somewhere Milan, its a great chance to look back at the great racing of yesterday's stage over the Stelvio.
Jai Hindley (Team Sunweb) took victory at Laghi di Cancano, ending a day of high drama at the race by outsprinting Tao Geoghegan Hart (Ineos Grenadiers) to the line after six hours of racing in the Dolomites.
Pello Bilbao (Bahrain McLaren) took third at the top, 46 seconds down, but the biggest story of the stage was the collapse of maglia rosa João Almeida (Deceuninck-QuickStep) who was dropped 48 kilometres from the line on the Passo dello Stelvio as Sunweb pushed the pace.
The Dutch team are now in the driving seat with three stages remaining, their man Wilco Kelderman taking over the race lead despite being dropped by the lead group of Hindley, Geoghegan Hart and Rohan Dennis at the top of the Stelvio and riding alone for 46 kilometres to the finish.
Click here to read our full stage report and to see the full results and our 61-image photo gallery.
In the overall standings, Hindley is just 12 seconds behind his leader, with three stages remaining.
The summit finish at Sestriere on Saturday favours the Australian. The short final time trial in Milan the following day benefits Kelderman. As with Roche and Visentini, Simoni and Cunego, and every other intra-team rivalry in the history of the race, it begs an obvious question: who's the boss?
Barry Ryan was at the stage finish and captured the real feeling of both Hindley and Kelderman.
Tao Geoghegan Hart and Ineos Grenadiers enjoyed a day of mixed emotions on stage 18 of the Giro d'Italia, dominating the racing over the Stelvio and moving within the grasp of the maglia rosa, but missing out a prestigious stage victory and the race lead.
They are playing down their chance of overall victory but will surely go on the attack on Saturday on the climbs to Sestriere.
It's official. Stage 19 of the Giro d'Italia will start in Abbiategrasso, west of Milan.
That means the riders will race for 124.5km before the expected sprint in Asti.
The race will restart from Abbiategrasso (MI), keeping active all the intermediate sprints from there on.La corsa ripartirà da Abbiategrasso (MI), mantenendo attivi tutti i traguardi volanti da lì in poi.#Giro pic.twitter.com/0F3JYp3UZROctober 23, 2020
The team buses and race vehicles are currently being given a police escort along the original race route via Lake Como and then south towards Milan.
Without the police escort they would probably not have made it to Abbiategrasso in time for the scheduled 1:30 start time.
Adam Hansen has explained the position of some of the riders at the Giro via Twitter, revealing that they asked for the stage to be shortened last night but that was refused.
With heavy rain falling at the start, some riders were reluctant to race, sparking the reduction in the stage distance
It seems that some teams and riders wanted to race but the majority won out and the stage was reduced, with the convoy to the new start cutting out 133km.
Just to clear things up. This was presented yesterday with today's stage being super long in the rain with our immune system suppressed while in a pandemic. It was not accepted.This morning when all the riders were under the tent no one went to the start line and riders 1/2 https://t.co/GiG8KCZbKnOctober 23, 2020
started not to accepted this and a protest started to happen. It was nice to see the riders sticking together as a whole. We negotiated with the organiser to shorten the stage so the race could still happen. We are all happy to do so. We will all do our maximum to do a show today https://t.co/GiG8KCZbKnOctober 23, 2020
Hansen spoke to new race leader Wilco Kelderman as riders waited at the original start.
The riders rolled out of Morbegno but then stopped and climbed into the team buses.
The team bus caravan is now on the motorway near Milan, trying to reach Abbiategrasso as soon as possible so that the stage can start at the scheduled time of 1:30CET.
The buses are currently near Como and so still face an hour drive to reach Abbiategrasso.
That means any start could be put back until 2:30 or so, an hour behind schedule.
Television images from the sign-on podium captured the cheers of the riders when it was confirmed the stage had been shortened.
The riders were also happy that they stuck together.
Great to see the unity of the riders & CPA today. As riders we race against each other but we also all race with each other.October 23, 2020
RCS Sport assistant director Stefano Allocchio has said the stage should now start at around 2:30.
RCS Sport has managed to find a large factory car park in Abbiategrasso to host the new race start.
As soon as the team buses arrive at the start, the racing will start.
As the race caravan nears the new start location in Abbiategrasso, the rain has eased. The riders happy, even if the roads are still wet.
There will no doubt be much debate about the rider protest, the changes to the stage and also what it means for the fight for overall victory in the Giro.
The reduction of today's stage could help Wilco Kelderman recover more and so help Team Sunweb defend his slim lead on Tao Geoghegan Hart of Ineos.
The Deceuninck-QuickStep riders are getting ready to race as their bus travels to the start.
Ready to restart the #Giro. pic.twitter.com/2Vpb2mC8E6October 23, 2020
From the Cyclingnews blimp we can see the Inizio Gara Ciclistica car, that signals the start of the race convoy, is almost at the new start in Abbiategrasso.
The team buses are parking up and the riders preparing for the reduced, 124.5km stage.
Race director Mauro Vegni is still angry after the stage protest and disruption. He insists he was not told about the possible protest and calls to reduce the stage on Thursday evening.
"We've done a hell of a lot to make sure the race goes on. Lets finish the Giro and get to Milan but then when everything is done, someone will pay for this...."
The riders are collecting their bikes and heading to the new start.
The stage is expected to start at 2:30, in just ten minutes or so.
There is no real start line. The riders are gathering in a huge carpark for the new roll out.
💗🚲 @W1lcokelderman and the guys are on their way to the #Giro🇮🇹 start line in Abbiategrasso. pic.twitter.com/Nih2PCH9zOOctober 23, 2020
The riders are on the roll. After a protest and bus transfer, the racing is underway!
124km to go
As the flag drops, there are immediate attacks.
Several small groups have surged away as the peloton eases.
🇮🇹 #GiroThe race has now restarted - 125km from Abbiategrasso to Asti. Follow @giroditalia for live updates. pic.twitter.com/MIbdC3qu8iOctober 23, 2020
There are 13 riders on the attack. A first group of 3 rider and then a further 11 who will soon join forces.
Simon Pellaud is there and lead the attack through the intermediate sprint.
The roads are wet and greasy.
Bora is leading the chase of the attack, working for Peter Sagan for the expected sprint finish in Asti.
🇮🇹 #Giro 110 km to go. 3 leaders, 20 seconds ahead of a group with 11 riders. #BORAhansgrohe pulling in peloton, 1:30 minutes back. pic.twitter.com/OaTBxNyStgOctober 23, 2020
The peloton is 1:30 back. The race is (finally) on.
The 11 riders are closing in on the trio up front.
Pellaud, Campenaerts and Josey Cerny (CCC) are up front and making it hard for the 11 chasers.
However the peloton is also rolling at speed and is only 1:00 behind.
Oops. A few riders take the wrong side of a roundabout and are forced turn around and chase.
After a hard chase, the 13-rider attack has come together. They are now working together but the Bora-lead peloton is chasing hard.
These are the riders in the attack: Van Empel (Vini Zabu), Keisse (Deceuninck), Armée (Lotto-Soudal), Carboni (Bardiani), Haas, Mathis (Cofidis), Clarke, Morton (EF), Dowsett (Israel SN), Torres (Movistar) and Mosca (Trek).
They are working through and off but so are Bora. The gap is down to 35 seconds.
Groupama-FDJ are moving up and helping with the chase of the break now.
All the sprinters' team would prefer a smaller break to control, hence why they want to bring the 13-rider attack back.
The road to Asti cuts southwest across the Lombardy plain and into the Piemonte region.
There is no wind today and so the racing is fast and furious.
80km to go
Bora is chasing and the gap is down to 45 seconds but how long can Bora maintain the chase?
Nobody else seems willing to help them today.
The stage has become a high-speed pursuit match. The gap is up to 1:10 now. The elastic is about to snap.
The speed is so high that the break is splitting up.
Groupama is not helping with the chase, despite having Arnaud Demare for the sprint.
70 km de l'arrivée de la 19e étape du #Giro. Arnaud Démare est escorté par ses coéquipiers dans l'avant-garde du peloton. pic.twitter.com/nVPAge64v0October 23, 2020
The break has comeback together but they seem to have lost their momentum.
The protests have overshadowed the news that Wilco Kelderman is the new race leader.
Bora refuse to give up the chase but the gap is up to 1:30.
Surely Sagan will call Grupama's bluff soon. and sit up.
And indeed, Bora ease up. And Groupama riders stop for a natural break. They do not seem interesting is trying to win another stage with Demare.
As other riders stop for natural breaks, the break opens the gap to beyond 2:00.
After a long wait, the team cars for the riders in the break are allowed to pass the peloton and so service their riders.
The 14 riders in the break that are now likely to fight for the stage victory are:
Victor Campenaerts (NTT)
Simon Pellaud (Androni)
Josef Cerny (CCC)
Iljo Keisse (Deceuninck-Quick Step)
Sander Armée (Lotto-Soudal)
Giovanni Carboni (Bardiani)
Nathan Haas (Cofidis)
Marco Mathis (Cofidis)
Simon Clarke (EF)
Lachlan Morton (EF)
Alex Dowsett (Israel Start-Up Nation)
Albert Torres (Movistar)
Jacopo Mosca (Trek-Segafredo)
Etienne van Empel (Vini Zabu)
Kelderman and his Sunweb teammates are on the front and riding calmly. The gap is up to 4:00.
The 14 riders in the break know they have 5:50 lead and so have also eased the pace.
The gap to the peloton is up to 8:00.
This is the break of the day. Who of the 14 is the strongest? We will surely see attacks in the final 20km.
The riders in the peloton are rolling along chatting with teammates and eating race food.
They've managed to escape the long stage distance and the worst of the weather today.
Here we go! 31km to go and the first attack comes from Victor Campenaerts.
He tucks into time trial mode at over 50km/h.
The attack is shuffiled again on a slight rise in the road. Campenaerts has hurt some of them.
The attacks has split and there are now six riders up front.
Campenaerts, Simon Clarke and Pellaud are there.
Armée of Lotto, Cerny of CC and Mosca of Trek are also there.
Haas, Dowsett and others have been distanced.
Up front Josef Cerny goes away alone. He's strong and brave but it'll need a big effort to stay away for 22km.
The six attackers lead the rest by 25 seconds now.
The peloton is 10:00 behind as Sunweb ride tempo at the front.
The attackers are at 16km to go, the peloton at 25km to go.
Cerny is pushing on but there are now five rider chasing him at 40 seconds. Keisse has joined the others and the five are working well together. This will be close.
10km to go
Cerny is losing precious seconds as the five chase after him.
Cerny is stamping on the pedals to try to find extra speed. but his lead is down to 25 seconds with 6km to go.
This will be close, very close.
Cerny is a double Czech Republic TT champion. He knows how to do it but so do the chasers, that include Campenaerts.
3km to go!
🇮🇹 #Giro @cernyjosef’s advantage is 25 seconds as the chasers continue to pull behind him with 6.5km to go! Vai Pepe 💪💪💪 pic.twitter.com/FxL6rNlGrBOctober 23, 2020
3km to go!
Cerny leads by 17 seconds.
2km to go.
The gap is up to 19 seconds.
Cerny is going to hang on and stay away.
He's going deep but the others have missed their chance.
Cerny wins the stage solo.
He stayed away despite a late attack from Campenaerts.
Cerny takes time to savour his victory, sitting up before the line and waving his arms in celebration.
Victor Campenaerts stayed away to take second, with Mosca winning the sprint for 3rd place.
Cerny struggles to believe he's pulled off a stage victory at the Giro d'Italia.
He's won several time trials but this is by far his biggest success.
The rest of the attackers come in as the peloton rides closer to Asti.
The 258km stage has become a kind of extra rest day before Saturday's hugely important mountain stage to Sestriere.
This is the top ten for the stage:
1 Josef Cerny (Pol) CCC Team 2:30:40
2 Victor Campenaerts (Bel) NTT Pro Cycling 0:00:18
3 Jacopo Mosca (Ita) Trek-Segafredo 0:00:26
4 Simon Clarke (Aus) EF Pro Cycling
5 Iljo Keisse (Bel) Deceuninck-Quickstep
6 Sander Armee (Bel) Lotto Soudal
7 Albert Torres Barcelo (Spa) Movistar Team 0:01:10
8 Simon Pellaud (Swi) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec
9 Giovanni Carboni (Ita) Bardiani CSF Faizane'
10 Alex Dowsett (GBr) Israel Start-Up Nation
Here comes the peloton. The GC teams are keeping their leaders up front as the final kilometre approaches.
Tao Geoghegan Hart leads home the peloton, perhaps trying to open a gap but he's is pulled back as the pack cross the line.
The peloton finish 11:43 down on Cerny.
This is the top ten on GC:
1 Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Team Sunweb 80:29:19
2 Jai Hindley (Aus) Team Sunweb 0:0:12
3 Tao Geoghegan Hart (GBr) Ineos Grenadiers 0:0:15
4 Pello Bilbao (Spa) Bahrain McLaren 0:01:19
5 Joao Almeida (Por) Deceuninck-Quickstep 0:02:16
6 Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana Pro Team 0:03:59
7 Patrick Konrad (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe 0:05:40
8 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Trek-Segafredo 0:05:47
9 Fausto Masnada (Ita) Deceuninck-Quickstep 0:06:46
10 Rafal Majka (Pol) Bora-Hansgrohe 0:07:28.
Cerny is celebrated on the podium but the debate about the rider protest continues.
Here is Cerny's moment.
Cerny was stunned to win a stage at the Giro.
"I still don't believe it. It was so quick, it's incredible. I can't describe it," he said.
"I'm really happy I was lucky to be in the breakaway. We were working together. In the final it was just who had the better legs. I'm really happy."
Wilco Kelderman spoke about his first day in the pink jersey.
"It's a really special day. I really enjoyed every minute of it. It's really special to wear the pink jersey. It was still cold and a bit rainy but I really enjoyed it," he said.
"For me it was a good group away, Bora couldn't close the gap anymore and then we started controlling to get safe over the line. I'm looking forward to tomorrow - the last hard day, I'll give everything and then we'll see what happens in the time trial."
Jai Hindley also spoke briefly to Eurosport:
"It was pretty weird day in the end, early morning wake up then the stage got shortened. It was a nice day out to have Wilco in pink."
"I think (tomorrow) is going to be an all-out day, the do or die day, to make time or gain time back for the final time trial. It's going to be a big fight tomorrow, that's for sure. I think Tao has proven he's riding really well and his form is really good. He's going to be the guy to follow.
Here's Cerny as he crossed the line. He couldn't believe he'd won the stage.
Victor Campenaerts was gutted not to win after being super aggressive and after driving the break away up the road.
Here is Wilco Kelderman on the podium as he collects his second pink jersey.
Post race he was asked about the rider protest and thanked RCS for agreeing to cut the stage. It was a very diplomatic response after race director Mauro Vegni and others criticised the riders for the actions.
Cristian Salvato is the head of the Italian riders association and represented the riders in talks today. He defended their decision and said that 16 of the 18 teams in the Giro voted via a Telegram chat to protest and demand the stage be shortened.
Emotions are still high at the Giro d'Italia, with race director threatening to withholds prize money from the stage after the rider protest and repeat his threats to take action when the Giro makes it to Milan.
Barry Ryan wrote this about Vegni initial reaction before the stage started for a second time this afternoon.
We'll have more reaction from the riders and teams at the Giro d'Italia as they explain their protest.
To understand the racing and to see our growing photo gallery from the stage, click below.
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