Fabio Aru won stage 19 of the Giro d’Italia to move second in the overall standings as Alberto Contador retained the leader’s pink jersey.
Team Astana’s Aru pulled away on his own in the final kilometres into Cervinia to win the stage by 28 seconds from Cannondale-Garmin’s Ryder Hesjedal.
Aru said: “I knew the final 100km by heart from the Tour of the Val d’Aosta, which was one of my favourite Under-23 races. I feel very tied to this region.
“I didn’t know what to think in the final metres. For 20 days the team has always been close to me, even in the difficult moments, and today my team-mates made the race. The team was fantastic from start to finish, every one of them.”
He still trails Contador by four minutes and 37 seconds in the general classification, with Aru’s teammate Mikel Landa a further 38 seconds back in third.
— Giro d’Italia (@giroditalia) May 29, 2015
Contador, who did not respond to Aru’s attack, said: “Obviously, I’d like to win a stage, but it is hard: the final group is always small and I don’t have team-mates with me because they work hard early in the stage, so the result today is perfect for me.
“Anyway, if you ask anyone which they would prefer, a stage win or the Maglia Rosa, they’ll say the Maglia Rosa, so I’m very, very happy because I’ve got through another very hard day.”
Today’s 20th and penultimate stage is a 199 km slog from Saint Vincent to Sestriere, taking in the brutal climb of the Colle delle Finestre on the way.
Alberto Contador increased his lead on the 18th stage of the Giro d'Italia on Thursday, while former world champion Philippe Gilbert won the stage.
With Contador still in charge at the Giro d'Italia, Sacha Modolo picks up his second stage win