[QODLink]
Cycling
Kreuziger powers to Giro stage win
Czech rider wraps up stage 19 Giro d'Italia win as Ryder Hesjedal increases pressure on race leader Joaquim Rodriguez.
Last Modified: 25 May 2012 17:10
Kreuziger, above, took the solo victory on the summit but Canadian contender Hesjedal finished second to keep in touch with the leader [REUTERS]

Czech rider Roman Kreuziger won the 19th stage of the Tour of Italy on Friday as Joaquim Rodriguez narrowly held on to the overall lead.

Spain's Rodriquez lost time to Canadian Ryder Hesjedal but held onto the leader's pink jersey by 17 seconds with two stages remaining having started this first of two days in the Alps half a minute up on his arch rival.

At the end of this 149km mountainous run featuring five classified climbs and culminating in the category 1 summit finish Kreuziger crossed the line 19sec up on Hesjedal.

Rodriquez came through in third, at 32s and in fourth came last year's Giro winner, Italian Michele Scarponi. The big loser of the day was Ivan Basso. Placed third, at 1min 22sec, in the overall standings before the start of the day's action the Italian came home 40sec behind Hesjedal.

Early attack

A 17-man group broke away from the peloton at the start to attack the first climb, the Passo Manghen, with a lead of almost nine minutes.

On the first passage through the Pampeago summit France's Sandy Cesar and Italian Stefano Pirazzi were duelling up front.Kreuziger made a forward move away from the main pack on the climb up Passo Lavaze at 30 km from the finish, accompanied by Italian Dario Cataldo.

He joined pacesetters Pirazzi and Casar at the 4km mark, before leaving this duo behind shortly after as he made his successful bid for glory.

The 26-year-old Czech was celebrating his first ever stage win in the Giro after finishing last year's race as best young rider, in fifth place overall after Alberto Contador's disqualification.

With Hesjedal fancied to upstage Rodriguez in the closing time trial, the Spaniard goes into the penultimate stage on Saturday knowing he will have to ride for his life if he is to retain the pink jersey after Sunday's finish in Milan.

Scarponi is lying third now in the overall standings, at 1min 39sec.

Saturday's second day in the Italian Alps is a 219km run featuring the dreaded Mortirolo, one of the toughest climbs in Europe, before reaching the Passo Stelvio summit, at 2757m altitude the highest point of the Tour.

Source:
AFP
Topics in this article
People
Country
City
Featured on Al Jazeera
UNHCR says hundreds of people trapped in Yaloke town risk death if they are not evacuated to safety urgently.
'Justice for All' demonstrations swell across the US over the deaths of African Americans in police encounters.
Six former Guantanamo detainees are now free in Uruguay with some hailing the decision to grant them asylum.
Disproportionately high number of Aboriginal people in prison highlights inequality and marginalisation, critics say.

Featured
Long-standing dispute over Christian use of the word 'Allah' raises concerns about a very un-Merry Christmas.
The threat posed by ISIL has prompted thousands of young Kurds to join the PKK.
Baja California - with its own grim history of disappeared people - finds a voice in the fight against violence.
Russian feminist rockers fight system holding 700,000 - the world's largest per capita prison population after the US.
Weeks of growing protests against Muslims continue in Dresden with 15,000 hitting the streets last Monday.