Giro d’Italia: 5 riders who should go in the breakaway on stage 19

Possible last chance for the escapees, but who will be in the move?

Clock07:07, Friday 24th May 2024
Georg Steinhauser was the last rider to taste success from the breakaway on stage 17 of the Giro d'Italia

© Getty Images

Georg Steinhauser was the last rider to taste success from the breakaway on stage 17 of the Giro d'Italia

By the looks of it, Friday’s stage 19 of the Giro d’Italia should offer one last chance for the breakaway to survive and contest the stage, with the GC riders – hopefully – saving themselves for one final blow-out battle on Monte Grappa on Sunday.

This means that it’s probably also the last chance for any rider who isn’t a GC climber or sprinter to get a win. As such, there’s likely to be a big battle for the breakaway, and probably a large group that eventually gets away. Many teams will be looking at Friday as their last opportunity to win and save their Giro – only nine teams have won in this race so far, meaning 13 are three days away from leaving without a victory.

The stage itself is a tough one, finishing on the flat, but that comes at the top of the 10.7km Cima Sappada, the last of three categorised climbs in the final 60km. This will make for a testing final part of the stage, and should mean it’s a climber who wins, though don’t be surprised to see more all-round breakaway type riders among the escapees.

It’s something of a lottery concerning who will get in the break, with a good chunk of the peloton trying to be there. But who really should be there, or who needs to be there? Here are five riders we think will be in the move on Friday.

Read more: The GC standings at the Giro d'Italia

Michael Valgren (EF Education-EasyPost)

This Giro d’Italia is Michael Valgren’s first Grand Tour since 2021, and his first since a serious crash sidelined him for much of 2022 and 2023. It’s been a long road back, but this race has seen Valgren back to near his best, and he’s been in several breakaways so far this race, but not quite won yet. He’s clearly motivated and feeling good, and would be a very popular winner. The finale might be a little hard for the Dane, but he should still be active early in the day nonetheless, and we expect to see him give it his all.

It’s likely that EF Education-EasyPost will throw a lot at stage 19, for two reasons: they could do with another win or result, and Georg Steinhauser’s win on stage 17 will have given them confidence. Valgren is an obvious call, but Esteban Chaves may be better suited to the stage, and maybe even Steinhauser again, so look out for the black and pink jerseys in the breakaway battle.

Read more: No power meter, no gloves, no fear – Georg Steinhauser solos to Giro d’Italia stage win on debut

Attila Valter (Visma-Lease a Bike)

If we’re talking about teams who need to save their Giro, Visma-Lease a Bike are near the top of that list. They do have a stage win, thanks to Olav Kooij, but in general their Giro has been something of a mess. Their intended leader Wout van Aert didn’t start, their GC rider Cian Uijtdebroeks and Kooij both pulled out early, and various other illnesses and injuries mean they’ve been down to four riders since the start of the second week. They built their spring around this race, and coming away with one stage victory could be a disappointment.

It goes without saying that a win on stage 19 would be a big boost for the team, and the rider we back to be their best contender is Attila Valter. The Hungarian has been good at getting in moves, and seems to be striving when the climbing is harder, which fits the bill of stage 19. Eyes will be on him after his exploits so far, but if Valter gets in a good move, his climbing abilities should put him in contention for a win.

Giulio Pellizzari (VF Group-Bardiani CSF-Faizanè)

Giulio Pellizzari is the youngest rider in this race, but has become something of an icon, not just for his repeated breakaway attempts, but also as the recipient of a special gift from Tadej Pogačar on stage 16, and then going on to win the revised Cima Coppi a day later. The 20-year-old Italian is excited and motivated but more importantly, he’s coming into some good form in this final week. He’s been so keen to be in all the big moves that it’s almost impossible to imagine that he won’t be on Friday, and he has been climbing really well, so he could be a serious contender for a stage victory.

As the youngest rider on the start list, and riding for an Italian invited team, a victory would be a huge coup, but it hardly seems impossible, and if any Italian ProConti rider is going to win stage 19, you’d bet on the exuberant Pelizzari to be the one to do it.

Nick Schultz (Israel-Premier Tech)

Another team who are down to just four riders – and don’t have a stage win to show for it – are Israel-Premier Tech, who have had fairly awful luck and little results to speak of in this race. It’s a shame, because the team has in general been going really well in 2024, but things just haven’t fallen their way in Italy, and they’re relying on breakaway presence to try and salvage something from this Grand Tour.

The rider who has been most active for them so far is Marco Frigo, but with stage 20 heading to his hometown of Bassano del Grappa, it’s easy to imagine he might save himself for that, so we’re picking Nick Schultz for the stage 19 breakaway. Schultz is currently in a very exclusive club of riders who have beaten Tadej Pogačar this year, as he held off the Slovenian to win stage 1 of the Volta a Catalunya, and whilst that may not mean anything serious, it does show the Australian’s strength. He’s come close to breakaway victory before, notably on a stage of the Tour in 2022 where he was beaten by Magnus Cort, so he knows he can do it. He just will need to be alert to things and follow the right moves to make the break on Friday.

Juan Pedro López (Lidl-Trek)

Jonathan Milan has been in fine fettle during this year’s Giro d’Italia, bossing the sprints and essentially making up for the Lidl-Trek’s lack of exploits elsewhere in the race. Where the Italian has succeeded, Juan Pedro López has underwhelmed, in a race he’s never really had a chance to settle.

Read more: Giro d’Italia sprint analysis: Only chaos can defeat Jonathan Milan

He was off the pace on day one, rallied for a few days but then unravelled in the first time trial and never really came back from that point onwards. A month ago he was winning the Tour of the Alps but that form has completely vanished over the last two and a half weeks, and with three days remaining the 26-year-old finds himself 31st overall and with little to show for his Giro up to this point. Other than a couple of appearances in the breaks, and one top-ten on stage 2, López has been a shadow of the rider who wore the maglia rosa for almost half the race in 2022. Of course, rescuing the situation is entirely possible, even this late in the race. Stage 19 and 20 both offer the Spaniard the chance of redemption and at this point in the race, López can’t afford to be too picky. His best form clearly isn’t at the race but that doesn’t mean the climber can’t be active in the early moves and then bide his time for the finales of both mountain stages.

For everything you need to know about the 2024 Giro d'Italia, from the history of the race to this year's route and start list, be sure to check out our dedicated race hub.

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