While Chris Froome (Team Sky) and Tom Dumoulin (Team Sunweb) were battling for overall Giro d’Italia victory on the climb to Cervinia, yet again, another race was also being fiercely contested as Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana) and Richard Carapaz (Movistar) fought the best young rider’s white jersey and even the final place on the podium place in Rome.
The 24 year-old Colombia and Ecuadorian riders have been locked in a battle for the white jersey since the start of the Giro d’Italia in Jerusalem more than three weeks ago. They have swapped spells in the special jersey and even focused on racing their own race even during Stage 19 to Bardonecchia when Chris Froome won alone, three minutes ahead to set up his overall victory.
Lopez and Carapaz could have perhaps helped reduce Froome’s winning margin and so help Dumoulin take the pink jersey. However, they stayed tucked on the wheels while Dumoulin and Pinot pursued Froome, before fighting it out on the Jafferau climb above Bardonecchia. Carapaz gained 12 seconds with a late attack, but Lopez was still in the white jersey on Saturday.
The Movistar team rode hard to set up Carapaz before the long climb to Cervinia and then Carapaz tried several attacks, but Lopez marked him closely just as Froome did with Dumoulin. They eventually got away from the fight for pink to contest their own battle for white but were pulled back before the line and finished together.
Lopez will now ride into Rome on Sunday in the white jersey thanks to a 47-second lead on Carapaz in the general classification. He is also set to climb on the final podium in Rome alongside Froome and Dumoulin.
“It’s still difficult to believe I reached the podium at the Giro. It’s fantastic. I’m really happy, happy to have done it and to have raced the Giro without real problems,” Lopez said after the stage.
Carapaz: a Giro d’Italia revelation
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