VAL DI FIEMME, Italy (AP) — Roman Kreuziger won the 19th stage of Giro d’Italia on Friday, and Joaquin Rodriguez retained the overall lead.
With a superb final climb, Kreuziger finished the penultimate mountain leg of the Giro in 6 hours, 18 minutes and 2 seconds. Ryder Hesjedal was 19 seconds behind.
It was one of the toughest stages in this year’s Giro, with five categorized climbs along the 198-kilometer (123-mile) route from Treviso to Val di Fiemme, including two ascents of the daunting Passo Pampeago and a third category one climb.
Saturday’s 20th stage is another difficult test, with the 219-kilometer (136-mile) trek from Caldes culminating in a 14-mile ascent of the Passo dello Stelvio, which has an average gradient of 12 percent.
The Giro finishes on Sunday.