Fabio Aru (Astana) rescued a disappointing Giro d’Italia campaign with stage 19 victory on the summit finish to Cervinia, in two huge days in the mountains.
Italian Aru, who sat over six minutes back on race leader Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) at the start of the stage, made a break from a small group of climbers with just over 7.5km remaining.
That group included Contador and Astana teammate Landa, who made no response to follow Aru as he chased down Ryder Hesjedal (Cannondale-Garmin) who had already made a move up the climb with 9km to go.
Aru quickly established a 30 second gap on the maglia rosa group, before catching Canadian Hesjedal and almost instantly attacking him.
Hesjedal was unable to follow the man in the white jersey of best young rider, and it soon became obvious that Aru was set to take the stage honours, and rolled across the line 1-16 ahead of Contador and 28 seconds ahead of second place Hesjedal.
Rigoberto Uran (Etixx – Quick-Step), who has also had a lacklustre campaign at the Giro, managed to catch the Contador group on the category one climb before making a move himself to try and catch Hesjedal and Aru. The Colombian, who said he’d target stage wins after falling 30 minutes back in GC, was onle able to finish third however 1-10 back on the winner.
It means that Contador retains the pink leader’s jersey and a 4-37 gap on Aru, who moves ahead of Landa into second place after the stage win with one more mountain stage to go.
Saturday’s penultimate stage sees the riders pass over the Cima Coppi, the highest point of this year’s Giro on the summit of the Colle delle Finestre, before a summit finish atop Sestriere.
Giro d’Italia 2015, stage 19: Gravellona Toce – Cervinia 236km
1 Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana, in 6-24-13
2 Ryder Hesjedal (Can) Cannondale-Garmin, at 28 seconds
3 Rigoberto Uran (Col) Etixx – Quick-Step, at 1-10
7 Tanel Kangert (Est) Astana, at 1-18
5 Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) LottoNL-Jumbo, st
6 Alberto Contador (Esp) Tinkoff-Saxo, st
4 Mikel Landa (Esp) Astana, st
8 Leopold Konig (Cze) Team Sky, at 1-21
9 Mikel Nieve (Esp) Team Sky, at 1-24
10 Alexandre Geniez (Fra) FDJ.fr, at 2-24
Overall classification after stage 19
1 Alberto Contador (Esp) Tinkoff-Saxo, in 78-48-40
2 Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana, at 4-37
3 Mikel Landa Meana (Esp) Astana, at 5-15
4 Andrey Amador (CRc) Movistar, at 8-10
5 Leopold Konig (Cze) Team Sky, at 10-47
6 Yury Trofimov (Rus) Katusha, at 11-11
7 Ryder Hesjedal (Can) Cannondale-Garmin, at 13-01
8 Damiano Caruso (Ita) BMC, at 12-05
9 Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) LottoNL-Jumbo, at 12-53
10 Alexandre Geniez (Fra) FDJ, at 15-07