Vendrame powers to stage 19 win at Giro d'Italia

Andrea Vendrame raises an arm in celebration
Italy's Andrea Vendrame last won a stage at the Giro d'Italia in 2021 [Getty Images]

Andrea Vendrame showed his staying power as he stormed to victory on stage 19 of the Giro d'Italia for Decathlon–AG2R La Mondiale.

The 29-year-old Italian slipped away from survivors of a long breakaway with 30km left of a hilly 157km run from Mortegliano to Sappada.

Britain's Geraint Thomas suffered a scare in his bid to finish third overall when he crashed after a clipping another rider's rear wheel with 6km to go.

The Ineos Grenadiers rider needed a quick bike change but overall leader Tadej Pogacar and the other top contenders slowed down and waited for Thomas to recover, ensuring he did not lose any time on his rivals.

Pogacar told Eurosport: "I think it showed that everyone has respect. Nobody in the group wanted to pass Thomas in that kind of way.

"I hope he's OK after the crash. After all the control, it's a stupid moment, I hope he's OK and we can have a great show tomorrow."

Thomas later confirmed he was "OK" and added: "It was lucky really. I just bounced straight back up and got back really quick. It was a stupid crash really. I was looking behind and the guys in front moved over."

Vendrame crossed the finish line 55 seconds ahead of Spain's Pelayo Sanchez (Movistar) with Georg Steinhauser of Germany (EF Education-EasyPost) in third place, a further seven seconds behind.

Slovenian Pogacar finished 15 minutes behind Vendrame with the rest of the peloton but still has a comfortable advantage with two stages left.

"I had been aiming for this stage since the start of the Giro. It was important to get into the day's breakaway and I tried to save energies the whole day," Vendrame said.

"I attacked on the descent, taking a risk, saw that I had a good lead and kept pushing. It's a special emotion because I won close to my home."

Saturday's mountainous 184km run south from Alpago to Bassano del Grappa gives Pogacar's rivals one last chance to attack him before the race ends on Sunday with a flat circuit, starting and ending in Rome.

Stage 19 result

1. Andrea Vendrame (Ita/Decathlon AG2R-La Mondiale) - 3hrs 51mins 4secs

2. Pelayo Sanchez (Spa/Movistar - +54 secs

3. Georg Steinhauser (Ger/EF Education-EasyPost)- +1mins 7secs

4. Jhonatan Narvaez (Ecu/Ineos Grenadiers) +2mins 27secs

5. Lucas Plapp (Aus/Jayco-AlUla) - same time

6. Simone Velasco (Ita/Astana Qazaqstan Team) +2mins 30secs

7. Jan Tratnik (Slo/Visma–Lease a Bike) - same time

8. Michael Valgren (Den/EF Education-EasyPost) - same time

9. Julian Alaphilippe (Fra/Soudal-Quick-Step) +2mins 32secs

10. Quinten Hermans (Bel/Alpecin-Deceuninck) +3mins 52sec

General classification after stage 19

1. Tadej Pogacar (Slo/UAE Team Emirates) 71hrs 24mins 3secs

2. Daniel Martinez (Col/Bora-Hansgrohe) +7mins 42secs

3. Geraint Thomas (GB/Ineos Grenadiers) +8mins 4secs

4. Ben O'Connor (Aus/Decathlon-AG2R La Mondiale) +9mins 47secs

5. Antonio Tiberi (Ita/Bahrain Victorious) +10mins 29secs

6. Thymen Arensman (Ned/Ineos Grenadiers) +11mins 10secs

7. Romain Bardet (Fra/DSM-Firmenich PostNL) +12mins 42secs

8. Einer Rubio (Col/Movistar) +13mins 33secs

9. Filippo Zana (Ita/Jayco-AlUla) +13mins 52secs

10. Jan Hirt (Cze/Soudal Quick-Step) +14mins 44secs