Cesare Benedetti (Bora-Hansgrohe) was the winner in Pinerolo this afternoon as Valerio Conti saw maglia rosa dropped.
The Italian racer was able to catch fellow escapees Eros Capecchi (Deceuninck-Quick Step) and Gianluca Brambilla (Trek Segafredo) who had all decided to attack an uncategorised climb at around 2 kilometres from the line.
— Giro d'Italia (@giroditalia) May 23, 2019
The two towns selected for start and finish of the stage were the same as those selected 70 years ago in what has gone down in history as one of the greatest ever exploits at the Giro d’Italia. Fausto Coppi had defeated most of his rivals including Gino Bartali as he went on to set up his overall victory.
Even though today’s race will not go down in history like the one in 1949, it was still quite a thrilling one just the same.
The breakaway that got clear early on in the stage, instigated by Eddie Dunbar of Team Ineos and – who else? – Thomas de Gendt of Lotto-Soudal, was a big one, the group swelling to 25 riders.
Was that the last chance for a smile during the race? Tomorrow the business will get more serious and the @giroditalia might really start 😄 BTW have you seen how our Pascal has reacted after yesterday’s crash? He’s a real bomber 💣
Bettini Photo pic.twitter.com/p1zkA7f4o1
— cesare benedetti (@benedetticesare) May 22, 2019
In terms of the General Classification, the biggest threat to the overall lead of UAE Team Emirates rider Valerio Conti’s overall lead came from his team-mate, Jan Polanc, who had begun the day in 23rd position overall, 5 minutes 24 seconds down.
Maybe the hardest part of today’s stage was the climb of the Montoso with Brambilla who was the first one to make it across and who had just five other racers accompanying him in the descent – Dunbar and Polanc, plus Damiano Caruso (Bahrain-Merida), Capecchi and Benedetti.
AMAZING @benedetticesare! 🏆🥇👏🏼
— BORA – hansgrohe (@BORAhansgrohe) May 23, 2019
11 minutes later, a group of 10 riders crested the climb together, including the three favourites for the overall – two-time Giro d’Italia winner Vincenzo Nibali of Bahrain-Merida, Mitchelton-Scott’s Simon Yates, and Jumbo-Visma’s Primoz Roglic, who has dominated both the time trials so far in this year’s race.
Missing from that group, however, was Conti, more than a minute further back, as his spell in pink came to an end.