Giro D’Italia – Stage 19 – Bella Tappa Tiralongo

The 34 year old Sicilian Paolo Tiralongo (Astana) attacked the group of favorites from 5km out from the Macugnaga finish. The counter attacks were furious, coming from Joaquim Rodriguez, John Gadret and the Maglia Rosa himself Alberto Contador. Tiralongo against all odds, summoned all the strength he had left and held them off into the final km. It was only the Maglia Rosa himself who could stay with Tiralongo as the Italian sped into the final 500m. Neck and neck, Tiralongo and Contador battled to the finish, the domestic against the most dominant rider in the race, and somehow, someway, Tiralongo surged at the line taking the line first.

Or so the story will be told. Perhaps, how it should be told. The more accurate reality is, Tiralongo put in the dig of his life from 5 or 6 km out and the counter attacks did, in fact, come. But where the story is slightly different, is that Contador caught Tiralongo with 700m remaining and told Paolo to take his wheel. Contador rode as quickly as possible, but only fast enough to keep Tiralongo with him. As Contador scanned behind to his rivals, he slowed, moved aside in the final few meters and, needing not attack any more, watched his former teammate Tiralongo (who has been pro since 1999) take the first win of his career.

Stage 19 Top Five
1. Paolo Tiralongo (Astana)_______5h26’27”
2. Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank)
3. Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas)______+:03″
4. John Gadret (AG2R)___________+:06″
5. Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha)

Full Stage results: Gazzetta official

Overall Classification after 19 stages
1. Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank)_____77h11’24”
2. Michele Scarponi (Lampre)_______+5’18”
3. Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas)________+5’52”
4. John Gadret (AG2R)_____________+7’53”
5. Kanstantsin Sivtsov (HTC)________+9’58”
6. Mikel Nieve (Euskaltel)__________+10’08”
7. Roman Kreuziger (Astana)_______+10’20”
8. Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha)_____+10’43”
9. Denis Menchov (Geox)__________+10’51”
10. Jose Rujano (Androni)__________+11’50”

Full GC: Gazzetta official

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