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Giro d'Italia 2014: Stage 19


Hello and welcome to our live coverage from stage 19 of the Giro d'Italia.

It's the day of the moutain time trial, the penultimate test in the mountains for the GC contenders in this year's race. Today's stage is a 26.8km test from Bassano del Grappa to Cima Grappa.

It's a brutal stage, it may be under 30km and the opening sections are flat but then it's up all the way to to line with changes of gradient and pitch all the way to to the top. It's not just a stage for the pure climbers but also riders who can measure their effort. If you crack on the ride before the final ascent then your chances of victory are all but over.

A reminder of where things stand on GC heading into today's stage:

So Quintana with a healthy lead in GC at the moment but today is a test for the Colombian who lost time to Uran in the first TT in the race. Granted the terrain is different but the Omega rider will be confident that he can pull a ride out of the bag today. He has to if he has any hope of winning the Giro. Tomorrow's stage up the Zoncolan, on paper, suits Quintana more.

Riders are currently setting off at one minute intervals but all the GC riders of course will set off later and they'll go at three minute intervals once we reach the top ten.

We're in fact still waiting on the first time splits from today's action. Meanwhile, enjoy this video of former pro Eros Poli riding today's course.

Majka, who did so well in the last time trial, will need another big today in the saddle. He's currently tied in fourth place with Aru, the Italian who has come of age in this year's race. Rolland is third and will be looking to create a buffer between himself and the rest but his time trialing isn't his strongest suit.

Michael Hepburn has just crossed the line in a time of 1:17.21.

Sella is about to start his TT. He's had a very quiet race by his standards, making it into one break but unable to get anywhere near his old form.

Michel Koch currently leads at the finish with a time of 1:15:17.

1 Michel Koch (Cannondale) 1:15.17
2 Marco Bandiera (Androni) +0:42
3 Tom Stamsnijder (Belkin) +1:08
4 Michael Hepburn (Orica-GreenEdge) + 2:04
5 Svein Tuft (Orica-GreenEdge) +3:36

Jos Van Emden has stopped during his time trial, and has asked his girlfriend to marry him. She's said yes, of course, so congratulations to the pair of them.

Out on the course Rubiana is out of the saddle and climbing well.

If he'd not been in the break yesterday Dario Cataldo might have been a rider to watch today. He was in the top ten last year in the TT to Polsa, won by Vincenzo Nibali of course. The Sky rider has been on the attack in this final week though and he might be running out of gas with three days to go.

The man, the myth, the legend that is Alan Marangoni has gone second fastest at the finish, 29 seconds down on Koch's time.

Daniel Lloyd ‏@daniellloyd1 2m

And we have a new leader at the finish: 1 Laurent Pichon 1:15:14
2 Michel Koch (Cannondale) +0:02
3 Alan Marangoni (Cannondale) +0:31
4 Marco Bandiera (Androni) +0:44
5 Tom Stamsnijder (Belkin) +1:10

Boem has smashed through though and quickly taken the lead in the stage:

This pushes Marangoni down to sixth on the stage so far.

 Susan jumping in for a few minutes. Enrico Barbin has just put in the second best time, but is still 2:37 behind Boem.

Ben Swift now blasts in, only 10 seconds slower than Boem!

Our current standings: 

Johnny Hoogerland now third,with a time of 1:14.28.

That's an impressive time for Swift, even early in the stage. The Sky rider hasn't been able to carry his spring form into the Giro  but he'll be pleased with that early effort.

Samuel Sanchez starts his time trial in a couple of minutes. He was the only rider to finish within a minute of Nibali in the mountain time trial last year.

1 Nicola Boem (Bardiani) 1:12:19
2 Ben Swift (Sky) +0:10
3 Johnny Hoogerland (Androni Giacattoli) +2:09
4 Carlos Quintero (team) +2.22
5 Nathan Haas (Garmin-Sharp) +2:27

Remember you can subscribe to all our Giro d'Italia race videos right here.

Uran meanwhile has started his warm up for the time trial. He put around a minute into Cadel Evans in a mountain time trial last year. The Australian has slipped even further down GC in the last few days but has promised to fight back.

Michael Rogers, Cardoso and Cunego are next to start the time trial

1 Sonny Colbrelli (Bardiani) 1:12:03
2 Nicola Boem (Bardiani) +0:16
3 Ben Swift (Sky) +0:26
4 Maxim Belkov (Katusha) +1:09
5 Patrick Gretsch (AG2R) +1:52

Rabottini has just started his time trial as we see Sella close in on the finish.

As Timmer comes to the line and moves into the top ten for the stage.

Pellizotti now starts. He's won a TT in the Giro d'Italia before.

Ivan Basso is the next man to leave the start house. He's shown he's well beyond his best but tomorrow sees the race climb the Zoncolan, where he won in 2010. Will he save his legs today and aim for the break tomorrow?

Bardiani have gone 1-2-3 with Pirazzi now leading by 1-52.

1 Stefano Pirazzi (Bardiani) 1:10:11
2 Sonny Colbrelli (Bardiani) +1:52
3 Nicola Boem (Bardiani) +2:08
4 Ben Swift (Sky) +2:18
5 Maxim Belkov (Katusha) +3:01

Kiserlovski leaves the start, so Cadel Evans will be next to start, in three minutes from now.

De Gendt is winding his way up the final slopes but he's starting to slow and weave over the road. He's been in the break twice in the last few days so if he struggles it's understandable.

Evans now starts. This a huge time trial for the BMC leader. Lose more time here and he could be looking at 9th overall on Sunday. Gain a few seconds and he's right in the mix for a top five place again.

Kelderman starts too. He's on a road bike, like nearly all the riders today, and he zips through the first few corners.

Basso is 77th at the first time check.

Evans looks to be riding a road bike with bar extensions.

Cattaneo takes third at the finish so Pirazzi still leads by 48 seconds.

Now Hesjedal moves into the start house. He's on a road bike with time trial bars, just like Evans.

It looks like Tim Wellens has caught and passed De Gendt.

Hesjedal is on the flat section before the climbing begins. This is an important ride for the Canadian. Is he as strong as his GC position suggests or has he just raced with better tactics and taken opportunities?

Evans is in fact on a full aero time trial bike. He'll surely swap bikes before the climbs start.

1 Stefano Pirazzi (Bardiani) 1:10:11
2 Rodolfo Torres (Colombia) +0:48
3 Mattia Cattaneo (Lampre-Merida) +0:54
4 Perrig Quemeneur (Europcar) +1:40
5 Sonny Colbrelli (Bardiani) +1:52

Evans is out of the saddle and still on his TT bike with full disk wheel as Majka starts his time trial.

Evans goes third at the first time check. 29 seconds down and now he changes bikes and opts for a road machine. At least the change was swift.

Bardiani-CSF puts Zardini into third on the stage. The Italian team are really putting in a performance today as Hesjedal is six seconds slower than Evans after the first time check. Kelderman is well off the pace though and is 1'15 down. Rolland now starts the time trial and he sprints down the start ramp. The Frenchman showing his intent straight from the gun.

Evans, meanwhile, is in and out of the saddle as he looks to find the right gear and cadence.

As Pozzovivo goes 4th at the first time check. That's very impressive given that the first few kms are on the flat. Aru is looking strong at the moment as Cataldo comes up to the finish.

Majka is another rider who is looking strong on the flat section but it looks like Cataldo could set a few fastest time at the finish.

And here goes Uran, riding on his time trial bike to start with, the Omega rider needs to take time from Quintana.

Evans is now about 22 minutes into his time trial and is riding under the tree line.

Majka goes 14th at the first time check as Quintana rolls down the start ramp. All in pink as you would expect.

1 Tim Wellens (Lotto Belisol) 1:09:37
2 Stefano Pirazzi (Bardiani) +0:34
3 Edoardo Zardini (Bardiani) +0:46
4 Rodolfo Torres (Colombia) +1:22
5 Mattia Cattaneo (Lampre-Merida) +1:28

And Majka changes his bike and gets a long push from the Tinkoff mechanic.

Aru goes 14th at the first time check as we see Quintana on the flat section. Can he take another step towards the overall title with a win today?

Arredondo who won yesterday, crosses the line in 77th place as Aru switches to a road bike, and Rolland does the same.

We now see Pozzovio climb. The Italian hasn't been as aggressive as he was in the first half of the race, as Uran goes second fastest at the first time check.

1 Tim Wellens (Lotto Belisol) 1:09:37
2 Stefano Pirazzi (Bardiani) +0:34
3 Edoardo Zardini (Bardiani) +0:46
4 Enrico Battaglin (Bardiani) +1:11
5 Rodolfo Torres (Colombia) +1:22

And Quintana is sixth at the first time check. I make that 14 seconds down on Uran as the Omega rider changes bike.

A reminder of where we stand on GC coming into the stage:

And at the moment Uran has 17 seconds on Quintana.

Quintana puts his hand up and he changes bike and helmet. The gap will move out to around 20-25 seconds.

Uran is looking strong and comfortable on the climb, as he taps out a decent cadence.

Cataldo is closing on the finish and takes second on the line, 10 seconds down on Wellens.

Hats of to Cataldo and Deignan. They've raced well for Sky in this race.

Cadel Evans is at the second time check, 39 seconds down but in third place.

Quintana is now putting time into Uran though.

Quintana is now 32 seconds faster than Uran. Now it's up to 34 seconds.

Evans meanwhile is pushing on and fighting with his bike and the gradient as the rode rises to 14 per cent.

Henao is coming up to the finish and he's about to go fastest on the stage so far. He moves into the lead, 12 seconds faster than Wellens.

Pozzovivo is on his favourite terrain and looking good but Uran can't match Quintana and is losing more time.

A mechanical problem for Hesjedal and he's forced to change bikes.

1 Sebastian Henao (Sky) 1:09:25
Tim Wellens (Lotto Belisol) +0:12
2 Dairo Cataldo (Sky) +0:22
3 Stefano Pirazzi (Bardiani) +0:4i6
4 Riccardo Zoidl (Trek) +0:54

Majka goes third at the second time check but Henao still leads the stage.

Evans is out of the saddle once again as he heads towards the top of the climb.

And Aru goes a minute faster than everyone at the second time check. 52 seconds faster than Pozzovivo. That's massive.

Pellizotti goes fastest at the finish and leads the race by 26 seconds from Henao.

Pierre Rolland is at the second time check but he's down on Aru by 42 seconds.

Aru is set for a top three finish today, surely but Quintana is faster than him by 18 seconds.

1 Franco Pellizotti 1:08:59
2 Sebastian Henao (Sky) +0:26
3 Tim Wellens (Lotto Belisol) +0:38
4 Dairo Cataldo (Sky) +0:48
5 Stefano Pirazzi (Bardiani) +1:12

Aru is now 13 seconds down on Quintana so he's getting closer at least. Pozzovivo is losing time though, Uran too.

And Quintana is 8 seconds faster than Aru at the second time check so he's losing his advantage as Evans hits the final 1km of the climb.

Evans takes 5th on the stage as things stand.

Aru is now just three seconds off Quintana so he's moving closer to the stage win.

Aru will move up to third on GC at this rate.

1 Franco Pellizotti 1:08:59
2 Sebastian Henao (Sky) +0:26
3 Tim Wellens (Lotto Belisol) +0:38
4 Dairo Cataldo (Sky) +0:48
5 Cadel Evans (BMC) +1:04

Aru is fighting all over the road and gets out of the saddle again and again as he looks for every second he can. He's now just a second down on Quintana.

As Pozzovivo rides around Hesjedal and they started three minutes apart.

And Aru has caught Majka. He's caught him for three minutes.

Three minutes into Majka. Three whole minutes.

Quintana looks to be struggling compared to Aru but the Movistar rider is still putting time into Uran as Kelderman crosses the line in 10th place.

Pozzovivo is about to go fastest at the finish but it will not lost for long, that's for sure. Still a good time from the AG2R man. He goes 58 seconds faster than anyone.

Hesjedal has lost over three minutes today.

And now Aru is six seconds faster than Quintana.

Aru is closing in on the line and he goes fastest by 2:07.

Majka is 4th and he crosses the line over three minutes down.

Uran will need to get a move on here because he could be losing his second place to Aru.

1 Fabio Aru (Astana) 1:05:54
2 Domenico Pozzovivo (AG2R) +2:07
3 Franco Pellizotti +3:05
4 Rafak Maijka (Tinkoff-Saxo) +3:11
5 Sebastian Henao (Sky) +3:31

Rolland is second on the stage 1:40 down on Aru but he puts time into Majka and Pozzovivo.

Just 1km to go for Quintana and he's now faster than Aru by 4 seconds.

1 Fabio Aru (Astana) 1:05:54
2 Pierre Rolland (Europcar) +1:40
2 Domenico Pozzovivo (AG2R) +2:07
3 Franco Pellizotti +3:05
4 Rafal Maijka (Tinkoff-Saxo) +3:11

Uran is coming to the line but he's lost 1:09 to Aru.

Aru is right in the mix for a podium place now and he has his eyes on second overall.

Just Quintana left on the road and he's heading for another stage.

Here comes the race leader. He takes the stage by 17 seconds over Aru.

That's another 90 seconds into Uran with one major mountain stage to come.

Here's the top ten from today's stage:

General classification after stage 19
1 Nairo Alexander Quintana Rojas (Col) Movistar Team 79:03:45
2 Rigoberto Uran Uran (Col) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team 0:03:07
3 Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana Pro Team 0:03:48
4 Pierre Rolland (Fra) Team Europcar 0:05:26
5 Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) AG2R La Mondiale 0:06:16
6 Rafal Majka (Pol) Tinkoff-Saxo 0:06:59
7 Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC Racing Team 0:09:25
8 Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling Team 0:09:29
9 Ryder Hesjedal (Can) Garmin Sharp 0:10:11
10 Robert Kiserlovski (Cro) Trek Factory Racing 0:13:59

So Quintana takes a massive step forward in his quest to become the first Colombian rider to win the Giro d'Italia with Uran suffering  - still finishing third - but losing out to Aru.

Thanks for joining us today. You can find our report, results and photos, right here.

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