Victory for Andrea Vendrame on stage 19 of 2024 Giro d'Italia as Decathlon AG2R La Mondiale just keep winning

Benefitting from the GC riders taking the day off, Andrea Vendrame has secured the victory on stage 19 of the 2024 Giro d'Italia from the breakaway, attacking solo with around 28km to go for his second career Giro stage win.

In an incredibly fast start to the day, there was no let-up to the full-gas racing over the opening 50km. A number of different breakaway attempts managed to get themselves around 20 or 30 seconds ahead before things fell apart and they were swallowed up by the bunch.

With 100 kilometres to go, a group of six that included Julian Alaphilippe, Luke Plapp, Jhonatan Narvaez, Pelayo Sanchez, Quinten Hermans and Andrea Vendrame were clear and had been for around 25km. Due to the consistent attempt of counters and subsequent upping of the pace behind though, the leaders had only managed to eek out a 15-second advantage, despite riding pretty much full-on.

One of those counters, including Enzo Paleni, Jasper Stuyven, Mattia Bais and Edward Theuns managed to get themselves into the lead group. When a much bigger group that included the likes of Mikkel Honore, Georg Steinhauser, Tim van Dijke, Simon Velasco, Michael Valgren, Dries De Pooter, Alessandro De Marchi, Jan Tratnik and Manuele Tarozzi joined, the peloton completely sat up.

With 75km to go, the situation was now, a lead group of 19 had finally snapped the elastic, with a UAE Team Emirates-controlled peloton allowing the gap to extend over the five-minute mark. As Narvaez was the best placed in the GC at over an hour down, the team of the Maglia Rosa, Tadej Pogacar, had nothing to worry about in that regard.

As the first of three categorised climbs began with just under 57km to go, the breakaway's lead was over eight minutes from the peloton. With Alaphilippe attacking from the bottom of the Passo Duron, at the summit an elite group of 5 had gone clear of the rest. Alongside the Frenchman were former stage winners, Steinhauser, Narvaez and Sanchez plus Alpecin-Deceuninck's Hermans. Soon on the descent, they were joined by Vendrame.

With things threatening to regroup further, Alaphilippe attacked again with just over 38km to go and whilst he wasn't able to ride clear solo, he again dragged a smaller group clear with the likes of Narvaez, Steinhauser, Hermans, Vendrame, Sanchez and a diarrhoea-battling Luke Plapp with him. At the top of the penultimate climb, the leaders advantage was 42 seconds over their nearest chasers and over eleven and a half minutes to the peloton.

An attack from Vendrame was then met with apathy by his breakaway companions and with 20km to go, the Italian had extended his lead to over half a minute. With the lack of urgency continuing over the subsequent kilometres, Vendrame managed to extend his lead to 1:00 with 15km to go. Already a stage winner from the 2021 Giro, Vendrame was looking good to get just his 5th professional win.

Steinhauser launched a big attack from the chase with just over 11km to go, riding clear from his rivals but Vendrame still over a minute ahead, the German had a big job ahead of him to close the gap. Rather than closing the gap however, Steinhauser was being caught and dropped by a counter-attacking Sanchez on the final climb of the day.

Beginning the final 5km of false flat and descent with an advantage of 1:09, victory was all but assured for Vendrame as long as he stayed upright, continuing the incredible start to the season for the Decathlon AG2R La Mondiale Team.

Over 10 minutes down the road, Einer Rubio was attempting to light up the GC fight although moves from both the Movistar Team rider and Romain Bardet weren't able to really separate things, the sudden increase in tension did see Geraint Thomas involved in a crash. Thankfully for the INEOS Grenadiers leader however, he was able to safely get back to his rivals by the line.

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