Sky’s birthday boys put party on hold

It was a good day for Team Sky on today’s 19th stage to Alpe Di Pampeago. On top of keeping hold of both Mark Cavendish’s red jersey and the white jersey of Rigoberto Uran, Brits Geraint Thomas and Ian Stannard both celebrated their birthday.

It was not without a hint of sarcasm that Thomas, 26, described celebrating with a seven hour mountain stage as “fantastic,” yet even with just two days of racing remaining and Uran looking secure in white, he explained that Grand Tour birthday parties at Sky are low key affairs.

“Tonight I’ll just rest up, eat well, have a cake, that’s about it,” he said. “My girlfriend was out on the rest day and she gave me a few cards but that was it; it’s a case of cracking on with this race and getting it done, then going home to just chill out and forget about bike racing.”

Stannard, 25, exhausted as he crossed the line with a broken spoke over 28 minutes behind stage winner Roman Kreuzger, was equally uncelebratory about the day’s riding.

“It’s just hard, isn’t it!? They could have knocked out one climb couldn’t they, they’d still have got the same result,” he said. “Kind of annoying. Oh well, it’s alright.

“I’ll see what the chef cooks up,” he added, “but I’ll be sleeping after that stage.”

Their team mate Mark Cavendish finished safely in the grupetto though clearly had to dig deep to make it up the final finishing climb, which reached gradients of a sprinter-sapping 16 per cent.

After he struggled up the set of steps onto the podium, he received his tenth red jersey as leader of the points classification, a competition he now heads by just 13 points from Joaquin Rodriguez who finished third on today’s stage.

Rodriguez now needs to finish at least fourth on tomorrow’s stage to the Passo dello Stelvio to claim the red jersey, although he can finish as low as eleventh if he picks up the maximum eight points on offer at the day’s intermediate sprint.

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Giro d’Italia 2012: Live coverage
Giro d’Italia 2012 live text coverage and schedule
Giro d’Italai 2012 stage 13 live text coverage
Giro d’Italia 2012 stage 12 live text coverage
Giro d’Italia 2012 stage 10 live text coverage
Giro d’Italia 2012 stage six live text coverage
Giro d’Italia 2012 stage four live text coverage

Giro d’Italia 2012: Stage reports
Stage 19: Kreuziger bounces back with Giro stage win
Stage 18: Guardini beats Cavendish in final Giro sprint
Stage 17: Rodriguez wins stage to consolidate lead
Stage 16: Izagirre claims Basque breakaway victory
Stage 15: Rabottini takes tough win in Giro
Stage 14: Amador wins Giro’s first high mountain stage as Hesjedal reclaims lead
Stage 13: Cavendish makes it three
Stage 12: Bak attacks to win
Stage 11: Ferrari wins Giro stage on ride to redemption
Stage 10: Rodriguez wins thrilling finale to take lead
Stage nine: Ventoso wins in Frosinone as Goss and Cavendish fall
Stage eight: Pozzovivo takes another Giro win
Stage seven: Hesjedal moves into Giro lead
Stage six: Rubiano solos to epic Giro stage win
Stage five: Cavendish bounces back for another stage win
Stage four: Garmin-Barracuda win TTT to take lead
Stage three: Goss wins in Horsens as Cavendish and Phinney crash
Stage two: Cavendish wins in Herning
Stage one: Phinney wins time trial

Giro d’Italia 2012: Photo galleries
Stage 18 photo gallery
Stage 17 photo gallery
Stage 16 photo gallery
Stage 15 photo gallery
Stage 14 photo gallery
Stage 13 photo gallery
Stage 12 photo gallery
Stage 11 photo gallery
Stage 10 photo gallery
Stage nine photo gallery
Stage eight photo gallery
Stage seven photo gallery
Stage six photo gallery
Stage five photo gallery
Stage four photo gallery
Stage three photo gallery
Stage two photo gallery
Stage one photo gallery

Giro d’Italia 2012: Blogs
Charly Wegelius’ Giro blog: Conserving energy for the final week
Charly Wegelius’ Giro blog: Holding on to the lead
Charly Wegelius’ Giro blog: Getting the team time trial right
Giro moto blog: Hurray for rest day
Giro moto blog: Stage 10

Giro d’Italia 2012: Teams and riders
Giro d’Italia 2012 start list

Giro d’Italia 2012: TV guide
Giro d’Italia 2012: British Eurosport TV schedule

Related links
Giro d’Italia 2012: The Big Preview
Cycling Weekly’s Giro d’Italia section