Sky's birthday boys put party on hold

Geraint Thomas at finish, Giro d'Italia 2012, stage 14

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.

Giro d'Italia 2012: Latest news

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Kennaugh withdraws from Giro, next stop Olympics

Giro's Stelvio stage may be shortened due to weather

Izagirre wins on Grand Tour debut

Cavendish silences Cipollini

Sky tightens grip on white jersey

Rodriguez versus Hesjedal in Giro title fight

Cavendish's Sky lead-out still on learning curve

Orica-GreenEdge to strengthen sprint train in Tour de France

Schleck struggles on with dislocated shoulder

Rodriguez up against more experienced rivals in Giro

Bak from worker to winner at the Giro

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 leadStage 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


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