Tough day in saddle for Intxausti, Tiralongo, Guardini
Two riders hanging in the top 10 going into the final stages of the Giro faced a day of reckoning on Friday.
Beñat Intxausti, the promising Movistar rider who was sixth going into Friday’s 19th stage, sunk like a rock after finishing with the gruppetto in 157th, at 40:42 back. He fell to 33rd overall, at 43:14.
Paolo Tiralongo, the Astana rider who won a stage in the first week and was fourth overall after the first major climbing stages, also suffered. He lost 17:51, and coupled with his losses Wednesday, is now 22nd, at 21:32 back.
Among the biggest cheers came for Andrea Guardini (Farnesi Vini-Selle Italia), who finished dead last in 163rd, at 46:44 back. He made the time cut and remains in the race, but team cars and officials were all patiently waiting for him to cross the line before they could bust down the mountain road.
Guardini was last on the stage to Cortina, last in Friday’s stage, but first when it counted, when he beat back Mark Cavendish (Sky) in Thursday’s sprint. Guardini is down 4:53:38 — nearly an entire stage — on overall leader Rodríguez.