"It was a very, very uncomfortable four hours" - Luke Plapp battles through diarrhoea to impressive breakaway showing at Giro d'Italia

After his general classification ambitions fell away at the end of the first week of the 2024 Giro d'Italia, Team Jayco AlUla's Luke Plapp has switched targets to hunting stage wins.

On stage 19, Plapp was in the breakaway and well in the fight for victory before eventually crossing the line in 5th. An impressive ride made all the more impressive by the fact that the Australian National Champion was battling diarrhoea throughout the day. "It was a very, very uncomfortable four hours," he reflected afterwards, having thankfully not opted for the white shorts.

"I was happy with the race. The legs were really, really good but it was just that I had a lot of stomach problems which put me in a really uncomfortable position," he continues. "I had to keep stopping and then coming back but yeah, I was really happy with my legs."

In the end it was Decathlon AG2R La Mondiale's Andrea Vendrame who took the stage win, with Plapp as mentioned having to settle for 5th at the line, 2:27 down on the stage winner. "I think what cost me was that first time I had to stop," Plapp assesses honestly. "It took a long time to come back and when I did it was a steep 4km climb when the move had already gone so it just took a long, long time and a lot of energy for me to get back to the front. That was a shame because I could have at the front easily if I started with them. But, it was okay. We targeted this stage and I was happy with it."

If Plapp is to take a stage win on his Giro d'Italia debut, it's likely his best chance has no come and gone. With stage 20 being one publicly targeted by Tadej Pogacar and stage 21 likely to end in a sprint, Plapp will have a tough task to take that maiden Grand Tour stage win.

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