Vendrame wins Giro stage with a downhill attack and Pogacar leads with one big stage left

SAPPADA, Italy (AP) — Andrea Vendrame's solo downhill attack won him the 19th stage of the Giro d’Italia while overall leader Tadej Pogacar avoided any risks on the rain-slicked roads on Friday.

The second win of Vendrame’s career at the Giro followed a stage victory in 2021 for the Italian rider.

Vendrame clocked just under four hours on the undulating stage, which included three categorized climbs in the final 60 kilometers (37 miles) of the 157-kilometer (98-mile) route from Mortegliano to Sappada.

Vendrame got in an early breakaway and then attacked on the descent from the penultimate climb to Sella Valcalda.

Pelayo Sanchez crossed second, 54 seconds behind, and Georg Steinhauser was third, 1:07 behind. Pogacar and the other leaders finished about 15 minutes behind.

Pogacar remained 7:42 ahead of second-placed Daniel Martinez and 8:04 ahead of third-placed Geraint Thomas.

Already a two-time Tour de France champion, Pogacar is attempting to win the Giro and the Tour this year, a feat that hasn’t been achieved since 1998 by Marco Pantani.

Thomas fell with less than 10 kilometers (6 miles) to go but quickly switched bikes and caught back up to the other leaders.

Stage 20 on Saturday features the final climbs of the race over a 184-kilometer (114-mile) leg from Alpago to Bassano del Grappa, featuring two ascents of the first-category climb up to Monte Grappa, followed by a mostly downhill finish.

The Giro ends in Rome on Sunday with a mostly flat stage suited for sprinters.


AP cycling: