ALPE DI MERA, Italy — British cyclist Simon Yates attacked on the steep ascent to the finish to win the 19th stage of the Giro d’Italia and made only a dent on Egan Bernal’s overall lead with two days remaining. Yates attacked with more than six kilometers (four miles) to go and held off the field on the double-digit gradient to the Alpe di Mera finish.
Joao Almeida was second at the end of the 166-kilometer (103-mile) leg from Abbiategrasso, 11 seconds behind Yates. Bernal decided not to respond to Yates and merely to manage the gap; the Colombian finished third, 28 seconds behind. Yates remained third overall, 2 minutes, 49 seconds behind Bernal, who actually increased his lead slightly over second-placed Damiano Caruso to 2:29.
The stage was modified to bypass the top-category climb of the Mottarone after a cable car disaster there killed 14 people on Sunday. The new, slightly shorter route nevertheless featured three categorized climbs – including a top-classed one to the finish. The riders unanimously decided to donate all of the prize money from the stage to the sole survivor, five-year-old Eitan Biran, and the families of the victims.
The penultimate stage has been given the maximum difficulty rating of five stars. The 164-kilometer (102-mile) route from Verbania to Valle Spluga-Alpe Motta includes more than 4,200 meters of vertical gain and three top-category climbs including the final ascent to another summit finish. The Giro finishes in Milan with an individual time trial. Yates win during Stage 18 of Giro d’Italia only dents Bernal’s lead originally appeared on NBCSports.com