Scarponi Takes Stage, Basso Takes Lead in Giro d’Italia

May 28, 2010 Updated: October 1, 2015

Michele Scarponi (here riding in Stage 16) helped Ivan Basso win the Maglia Rosa, and in return was allowed to win Stage 19 of the 2010 Giro d'Italia. (Luk Beines/AFP/Getty Images)
Michele Scarponi (here riding in Stage 16) helped Ivan Basso win the Maglia Rosa, and in return was allowed to win Stage 19 of the 2010 Giro d'Italia. (Luk Beines/AFP/Getty Images)
Androni rider Michele Scarponi took the stage win over a gut-wrenching series of climbs in Stage 19 of the 2010 Giro d’Italia, or rather, he was allowed to take the win, as a reward for helping Liquigas riders Ivan Basso and Vincenzo Nibali take the Maglia Rosa for Basso on the final two climbs of the day.

Basso, Nibali, and Scarponi dug deep to open a gap over the slopes of the Passo del Mortirolo. In return for working with the Liquigas riders, Scarponi was allowed to cross the line first.

The stage featured a trio of notable rides: a strong performance by Ivan Basso, who pushed very hard up Mortirolo, seemed almost spent on the final climb, and then dug deep to put on a burst of speed to open the gap wide enough to take the overall lead, by 51 seconds.

BMC rider Cadel Evans made an even a stronger ride, getting dropped repeatedly on Mortirolo, and repeatedly clawing his way back, to end up helping Caisse d’Epargne’s David Arroyo on the final climb.

The ride of the day unquestionably goes to Arroyo, who fought unremittingly to try to keep his pink jersey. The experts all said he would lose it in the mountains. He put on an amazing performance, almost proving them wrong: he climbed most of the Mortirolo alone, caught up and passed every chase group, and, though clearly exhausted, still pushed hard on the final climb.

In the end he simply didn’t have enough. His huge solo effort had drained him, and Arroyo ended up handing the lead over to Ivan Basso.

Tomorrow’s stage, Bormio and Ponte di Legno Tonale, includes five major mountain climbs, and is the hardest of the race. Here is where the efforts put in today will take a toll. Can Ivan Basso defend? Does he have anything left, after today? And how can David Arroyo possibly have anything left after his all-out effort on Stage 19?

It is quite possible that Ivan Basso will win the Giro. It is less possible, but far from impossible, that Davisd Arroyo, only 51 seconds back, could retake the lead.

It seems improbable that either Basso or Arroyo would crack, but then, Richie Porte, who wore the Maglia Rosa earlier in the race, cracked and was dropped today. If that happens, Nibali and Scarponi are only a few minutes back.

Whatever the outcome, tomorrow’s stage promises great drama.

Results Stage 18 2010 Giro d’Italia

#

Rider

Team

Time

1

Michele Scarponi

Androni

5:27:04

2

Ivan Basso

Liquigas

0

3

Vincenzo Nibali

Liquigas

0

4

Alexandre Vinokourov

Astana

+3:05

5

John Gadret

Ag2R

+3:06

6

Cadel Evans

BMC

+3:06

7

David Arroyo

Caisse d'Epargne

+3:06

8

Carlos Sastre

Cervélo

+3:06

General Classification After Stage 18

#

Rider

Team

Time

1

Ivan Basso

Liquigas

89:55:56

2

David Arroyo

Caisse d'Epargne

0:51

3

Vincenzo Nibali

Liquigas

0:02:30

4

Michele Scarponi

Androni

0:02:49

5

Cadel Evans

BMC

0:04:00

6

Carlos Sastre

Cervélo

0:05:32

7

Richie Porte

Saxo Bank

0:06:00

8

Alexandre Vinokourov

Astana

0:06:02