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Giro d'Italia 2017: Tom Dumoulin loses pink while Mikel Landa finally takes a stage win

Nairo Quintana inherits the race lead as Mikel Landa takes a stage after twice finishing second

Josh Cunningham
26 May 2017

Mikel Landa has won Stage 19 of the Giro d'Italia, riding away from his breakaway companions to take a fine solo victory atop a Piancavallo summit finish.  After finishing 2nd on Stage 16 to Vincenzo Nibali, then second again to Tejay Van Garderen on Stage 18, the win had been a long time coming for the Spaniard, who has now all but won the mountains classification. 

In the race for the overall GC the pink leader's jersey changed hands from Tom Dumoulin to Nairo Quintana after the Dutchman was dropped on the final climb, finishing over a minute down to the rest of the favourites. 

Quintana now takes a 38 second lead over Dumoulin and 43 seconds over Nibali going into the final mountain stage tomorrow, before the final closing time trial.

Giro d'Italia Stage 19: A dramatic day

The 191km stage from San Candido and Piancavallo was the penultimate road stage of the race, and so one of only two remaining opportunities for riders to gain a buffer over Tom Dumoulin before the final time trial in Milan. 

It did not take long for the race to come alive either, with big splits in the peloton forming after just 50km, and the pink jerseyed Dumoulin - along with other GC riders Steven Kruijswijk, Bauke Mollema and Adam Yates - caught out behind. 

A lot of conjecture erupted after claims that the splits had been caused by Quintana's Movistar team and Nibali's Bahrain-Merida team riding hard after Dumoulin had stopped for a nature break, but these reports were unconfirmed.

This, the day after Dumoulin had publicly berated both riders for being too concerned with him and not the other GC riders, going so far as to say he hoped that they lost their podium places as a result.

But with the help of the teams of Kruijswijk, Mollema and Yates, the group containing Dumoulin managed to bring the race back together on the second climb of the day. 

Meanwhile a very strong breakaway was up the road, containing a number of riders who have been on the attack a lot over the previous three weeks. Pierre Rolland, Mikel Landa, Luis Leon Sanchez and Rui Costa all formed part of the 18-man move, and with over an 11 minute advantage with just the final climb remaining, it looked certain that the stage winner would come from this group.  

Tom Dumoulin suffered a puncture and another chase back before the final climb, one more event in the ever-increasing list of challenges that he has had to face in his defence of pink, but he again arrived back safely.

Once the climb began it was Costa and Landa who hit out at the front of the race, while the peloton rode tempo behind the domestiques of Movistar, Bahrain-Merida and Team Sunweb. 

It did not take long for Landa to drop Costa, leaving the Spaniard with a 9.5km ride to the finish, as Costa teamed up with Pierre Rolland in chase.

But while the race for the stage was all but over, the race for GC was lighting up as the road pitched and gaps began to open between Tom Dumoulin and the rest of the favourites group.

Initially led by Simon Geschke, but then riding alone, Dumoulin sat between 15 and 20 seconds off the back of the group for much of the climb, while Thibaut Pinot, Ilnur Zakarin and Vincenzo Nibali began attacking off the front of it. 

Pinot, Pozzovivo and Zakarin all gained time, and despite being distanced on one occasion in the finale, Quintana finished 2 seconds ahead of Nibali, and ensured that this Giro d'Italia will be one that is fought over until the very last pedal stroke.