Alberto Contador (Astana) pulled on the pink jersey at the end of the 19th stage to Monte Pora but now has just a four second lead on Riccardo Ricco (Saunier Duval) and 21 seconds on Danilo Di Luca (LPR).
Di Luca attacked over the top of the Passo del Vivione, 50km from the finish and joined up with team mate Paolo Savoldelli. They dived down the descent in the pouring rain with Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas) hanging on.
Di Luca accelerated clear alone on the climb to the finish. He failed to catch Vasil Kiryienka (Tinkoff) who won the stage but finished second at 4-36. Alexander Efimkin (Quick Step) was third at 4-43.
Ricco stayed on Contador?s wheel for most of Di Luca?s attack but then jumped away alone in the final four kilometres of the stage. Despite a rear gear problem that stopped him using the 53 chain ring, the young Italian finished fifth at 5-44.
Contador got some help from the CSF Group team but struggled and finished 12th.
Di Luca gained 1-45 on Contador and Ricco gained 37 seconds.
Contador hung onto the pink jersey but is clearly worried Ricco and Di Luca could attack again on the final mountain stage over the Gavia and the Mortirolo and gain more time on Contador before the final time trial to Milan.
?It was a very long and difficult day,? Contador said before disappearing to his hotel for a warm shower.
?The stage was much longer than it said in the race manual and my team work really hard, I have to give them a ten out of ten.?
?I also have to say well done to Di Luca and Ricco, they made a good attack. The Giro is going to be interesting now??
?However I?m not scared of anybody I came to Giro with a plan. I?m not going to get obsessed about Ricco and Di Luca.?
GIRO D’ITALIA 2008 STAGE 19: RESULTS
1. Vasili Kiryienka (Blr) Tinkoff 238km in 6hours 37min 32secs
2. Danilo Di Luca (Ita) LPR at 4min 36secs
3. Alexander Efimkin (Rus) Quick Step at 4min 43secs
4. Steve Cummings (GB) Barloworld at 5min 25secs
5. Riccardo Ricco (Ita) Saunier Duval at 5min 44secs
6. Emanuele Sella (Ita) CSF Navigare at 6min 21secs
7. Franco Pellizotti (Ita) Liquigas
8. Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Bel) Silence-Lotto
9. Marzio Bruseghin (Ita) Lampre
10. Denis Menchov (Rus) Rabobank
11. Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) CSF Navigare
12. Alberto Contador (Spa) Astana all at same time.
54. Charly Wegelius (GB) Liquigas at 29min 50secs
109. David Millar (GB) Slipstream at 36min 53secs
128. Geraint Thomas (GB) Barloworld
129. Mark Cavendish (GB) High Road
140. Bradley Wiggins (GB) High Road all at same time.
OVERALL CLASSIFICATION AFTER STAGE 19
1. Alberto Contador (Spa) Astana in 82hours 29min 10secs
2. Riccardo Ricco (Ita) Saunier Duval at 4secs
3. Danilo Di Luca (Ita) LPR at 21secs
4. Marzio Bruseghin (Ita) Lampre at 2min
5. Franco Pellizotti (Ita) Liquigas at 2min 5secs
6. Denis Menchov (Rus) Rabobank at 2min 47secs
7. Emanuele Sella (Ita) CSF Navigare at 4min 25secs
8. Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Bel) Silence-Lotto at 4min 26secs
9. Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) CSF Navigare at 5min 25secs
10. Gilberto Simoni (Ita) Diquigiovanni-Androni at 7min 18secs
80. Charly Wegelius (GB) Liquigas at 2hours 7min 6secs
95. David Millar (GB) Slipstream at 2hours 22min 57secs
96. Steve Cummings (GB) Barloworld at 2hours 25min 1sec
120. Geraint Thomas (GB) Barloworld at 2hours 47min 49secs
135. Mark Cavendish (GB) High Road at 3hours 18min 37secs
136. Bradley Wiggins (GB) High Road at 3hours 22min 29secs
Alberto Contador chases hard
GIRO D’ITALIA 2008: STAGE REPORTS
Stage 18: Voigt wins Giro d’Italia ‘Worlds’ stage in Varese
Stage 17: Cav gifts Greipel the stage
Stage 16: Pellizotti wins mountain time trial
Stage 15: Sella strikes again in the mountains
Stage 14: Sella wins first Giro mountains stage
Stage 13: Easy victory for super-fast Cavendish
Stage 12: Bennati gets photo finish verdict over Cavendish
Stage 11: Bertolini wins hilly stage
Stage 10: Bruseghin wins Giro d’Italia time trial
Stage nine: Cavendish misses out in sprint
Stage eight: Ricco wins again
Stage seven: Di Luca, Ricco and Contador gain time on rivals
Stage six: Italians clean up
Stage five: Millar denied by snapped chain
Stage four: Cavendish wins
Stage three: Bennati romps home
Stage two: Ricco wins Giro d’Italia second stage
Stage one TTT: Slipstream wins Giro team time trial
GIRO D’ITALIA 2008: NEWS
Ricco and Di Luca talk tough [stage 19]
Contador, Ricco and Simoni to face off in final Giro d’Italia mountains
Six Brits finish mountain time trial [stage 16]
Cavendish disappointed after missing out in Giro sprint
Can Cavendish win the Giro today? [stage 12]
Aggressive Cummings comes away empty handed [stage six]
Millar speaks out after missing out in Giro [stage five]
Reaction to Cavendish’s Giro stage win
Cav hits back at Pozzato’s snipe
Cavendish: This is my biggest win [stage four]
Millar celebrates Slipstream Giro d’Italia success
Bettini looking for final Giro glory
Astana’s troubled build-up to the Giro
Petacchi banned for Salbutamol positive
Yates and Astana make last minute rush to Giro
GIRO D’ITALIA 2008: PHOTOS
Giro d’Italia 2008: Photo gallery, week three – new photos added daily
Giro d’Italia 2008: Photo gallery, week two – new photos added daily
Giro d’Italia 2008: Photo gallery, week one.
GIRO D’ITALIA 2008: FEATURES
Five days to go, what’s in store?
Giro d’Italia 2008: Rest day review (May 27)
Cycling Weekly’s all-time list of British pro winners
Giro d’Italia 2008: Rest day review (May 19)
Rest day 1: How the favourites are doing
Giro Britannia part two: From rule Britannia to cruel Britannia
Tuesday Comment (May 13): Why Cavendish is a bona fide world-class star
Giro Britannia: how the Brits are doing in Italy
Giro d’Italia 2008 preview
Giro d’Italia 2008: who will win?
Giro d’Italia 2008: The British are coming
Giro d’Italia on Eurosport: TV schedule