Thanks for following today and be sure to return for the Giro's queen stage tomorrow, which concludes atop the fearsome Stelvio.
Treviso - Alpe di Pampeago
Giro d'Italia - 25 May 2012
Giro d'Italia – Follow this cycling race live with Eurosport. The action starts at 17:15 on 25 May 2012. Our live coverage lets you follow all the key moments as they happen.
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New general classification: 1. Rodriguez, 2. Hesjedal +17, 3. Scarponi +1:39, 4. Basso + 1:45, 5. Uran +3:21.
Result of stage 18: 1. Kreuziger, 2. Hesjedal +19, 3. Rodriguez +32, 4. Scarponi +35, 5. Pozzovivo +43, 6. Basso +55, 7. Uran +57, 9, Nieve +1:18.
Basso is the big loser - he comes home 55 seconds down to will concede around 35 seconds on Hesjedal in the GC, and may drop below Scarponi.
Rodriguez saves his pink jersey, crossing the line 32 seconds down on Kreuziger. Scarponi takes fourth two seconds later.
Hesjedal crosses the line 20 seconds down to take a superb second place.
Roman Kreuziger takes a magnificent win at Alpe di Pampeago!
Kreuziger passes through another tunnel - he is going to hang on for the win.
Scarponi is being caught by Pozzovivo and Rodriguez, with Uran and Basso a bit further back. The time gaps won't be huge - but they will be significant.
Kreuziger may have saved his Giro - but it's not a done deal yet...
The Canadian has distanced Scarponi! And Hesjedal is closing in on Kreuziger!
Hesjedal is really making Scarponi suffer now. Could he be riding into pink tonight?
Basso and Uran continue with their Diesel engines about 10 seconds down on Rodriguez and Pozzovivo.
Hesjedal comes to the front... Kreuziger looks utterly grim. He cannot breath and is a picture of pain. Can he hold on?
Kreuziger is the lone leader but he's on the limit and just 40 seconds ahead of Scarponi and Hesjedal. Rodriguez is another 10 seconds back now.
Hesjedal and Scarponi catch Pirazzi and Cataldo. Pozzovivo and Rodriguez have dropped Basso and Uran.
Rodriguez holds Basso's wheel as they try to fight back, but there's a gap now... Scarponi and Hesjedal have opened a big gap.
Scarponi looks at Hesjedal and almost laughs... then the Canadian attacks! The others cannot follow - it's Scarponi and Hesjedal pulling out.
Another attack from Scarponi! Hesjedal and Rodriguez on his wheel. Basso and Uran need a bit longer to get there. Kreuziger has 1:05 over this quintet. Pozzovivo is clawing his way back.
Scarponi puts in another attack! Hesjedal, Basso, Uran and Rodriguez can follow. Pozzovivo drops, but then fights back.
Kreuziger is now alone up front, as both Casar and Pirazzi crack. But no, Casar is back! Until the Czech puts in another huge dig.
The big rivals look at each other - and then Scarponi attacks! Hesjedal holds his wheel, and the others follow... We're down to the same six as the Passo Giau, plus Henao.
Casar manages to keep up with Kreuziger and the pair return to Pirazzi's wheel. Back with the peloton, Hesjedal is now alone after his team-mates drop back. Basso is back on the front with Caruso. Scarponi is there but looks spent. Rodriguez is taking a back seat ahead of Pozzovivi, Henao and Uran.
Pirazzi attacks! He knows Kreuziger is coming so leaves Casar for dead. The Czech drops both Rohregger and Cataldo and passes by Casar, who tries to hold his wheel.
Kreuziger and Cataldo have caught Rohregger and continue in pursuit of Casar and Pirazzi. It's just a dozen seconds now!
Moreno is back on the main pack so Rodriguez has a team-mate.
Garmin are controlling the pace setting now, as Agnoli hits the wall. Hesjedal has two team-mates up there with him, as Basso's Liquigas take a back seat. Basso still has Caruso and Capecchi though. And now Rabobank's Tom Slagter attacks!
Pirazzi attacks! Casar follows, but both Sella and Rohregger can't. And now Casar puts in a dig!
Agnoli sets the pace in the pack, followed by three Garmin riders, and then his Liquigas team-mates Caruso and Basso. They're onto the climb now too.
Rohregger in trouble already, finding it hard to stay with the three others. But he fights onto Pirazzi's wheel. Sella sets the pace. He won here in 2008, although it was a somewhat assisted victory...
The four leaders are on the early cobbled section of the climb. The Kreuziger trio is just one minute down now.
Ivan Basso is about a dozen riders back, unusually. Flecha and Astana pair Seeldraeyers and Zeits are about to be caught by the pack.
We're almost on to the Cat.1 Passo Pampeago. The four leaders have 1:15 over the Kreuziger chasing group and 2:30 over the main pack.
Inside the last 10km now as the four leaders approach the final climb of the day, the second ascent of the Passo Pampeago.
We now have four riders out in front: Sella and Rohregger have caught Pirazzi and Casar.
De Gendt drops a chain on the descent and loses a bit of ground.
Moments later, Andrey Zeits does exactly the same thing on the same bend!
Pauwels overcooks a bend through a small hamlet and needs to ride off onto a pavement before returning to the road.
The two leaders pass under the 15km-to-go banner. Can they hold on? Sella and Rohregger are hot on their heels, and the Kreuziger trio about 1:40 back.
Kreuziger combining well with QuickStep pair Pauwels and Cataldo in pursuit of the leaders. Hesjedal is a team-mate down after Peter Stetina picks up a puncture.
Another fast descent - and it's going to come down to the last climb. Vacansoleil's Thomas de Gendt is still with the main group - the Belgian is having a superb Giro and is on course for a top ten in Milan.
Kreuziger leads Cataldo and Pauwels over the line 1:59 down. Flecha and Zeits cross the line at 2:15. Back with the main pack, a Movistar rider has come to the front ahead of Liquigas and crosses 2:50 down.
Pirazzi out of the saddle again for the points over the top of the Cat.2 Passo di Lavaze. Casar happy to settle for second, while Sella and Rohregger cross the line 25 seconds down. Pirazzi is up to second in the blue jersey mountains standings, but will have to go on the attack tomorrow as well if he wants to overturn Matteo Rabottini at the top.
Seeldraeyers fades and so Kreuziger is riding alone now. He has about 20 seconds on the bunch.
And now Kreuziger goes! He joins Seeldraeyers and they combine together. Remember, they have another Astana team-mate further up the road - Andrey Zeits, who is riding with Serge Pauwels, who has been reunited with his own QuickStep colleague, Cataldo. Flecha is in this foursome too.
Attack: Kevin Seeldraeyers of Astana jumps clear of the main pack, perhaps preparing the road for team-mate Roman Kreuziger.
Sella has finally caught Rohregger and the two combine in pursuit of the leaders Casar and Pirazzi.
Cataldo catches and passes Lampre's Malori, who was part of that initial first break. Still Liquigas set the pace - surely Caruso and Agnoli don't have much more left in the tank?
Attack: Dario Cataldo of Omega Pharma-QuickStep jumps off the front of the main pack. He's only four minutes down in the GC, which is interesting.
Scarponi has Cunego and Przemyslaw Niemiec with him too, and Rodriguez has one Katusha team-mate, but it's not Moreno.
Hesjedal has two team-mates with him - Vande Velde and Stetina. Kreuziger may try something today - and seeing that he's no longer a threat in the GC, he may be allowed to go.
Liquigas is a man down after Eros Capecchi drops back. So it's Agnoli and Caruso with Basso on the front of the main pack. Gadret sits in Rodriguez's wheel.
Rohregger will soon been joined by Sella, a minute behind the two leaders. Flecha rides solo a bit further back, ahead of Garate and Pauwels. Then we have the main pack, followed by the Cavendish-Intxausti autobus at 19 minutes, and Guardini even further back.
After a fast descent, Casar and Pirazzi are onto the Cat.2 Passo di Lavaze. They have 3:37 over the peloton, which probably won't be enough once the fireworks start in the main pack.
Andrea Guardini, yesterday's winner who was initially involved in the break today, crosses what will be the finish line, a huge 22 minutes off the pace! The Italian youngster milks the crowd with waves and kisses...
Liquigas have four riders again on the front: Valerio Agnoli is back with Capecchi, Caruso and Basso. Garmin have regrouped around Hesjedal too, while Rodriguez has a team-mate. Sky's Colombians, Uran and Henao, are there, but quite far back, as is Gadret. Scarponi and Cunego are together, and Kreuziger is back for Astana.
Yes, Pirazzi takes the points ahead of Casar over the summit - and they are now onto a descent that has never been used in the Giro before. Until today, the Passo Pampeago has only ever been used as a summit finish.
Rohregger continues on his own in pursuit of the two leaders. Pirazzi is back on the front now the summit is approaching - the Italian will probably try and take maximum points again over the top.
It's an entirely new road here: what was clearly a dirt track has been recently covered with a fresh coat of black smooth tarmac. Pirazzi and Casar are nearing the summit now.
Still they climb: they may have passed what will be the finish line in Alpe di Pampeago, but the climb continues for a final section to Reiterjoch before the descent. Casar sets the pace.
Chapeau to Capecchi and Caruso, who are still there for Basso. A Lampre trio is just behind, as is Hesjedal, but Rodriguez still not playing a big role in this climb.
Pirazzi takes the points over what will be the finish line in about 40km, nipping ahead of Casar. Thomas Rohregger crosses the summit 31 seconds down, 20 seconds ahead of the five-man Sella chasing group. The likes of Ventoso and Santaromita pass over in drips and drabs, with the peloton in pursuit.
There are lots and lots of tunnels on this road. Casar still leads Pirazzi on the front of the race. They have 3:07 over the peloton, with five riders in pursuit.
NetApp's Cesare Benedetti is the latest rider from that initial break to be caught by the main pack, which has just passed through a tunnel.
Pirazzi jumps out of the saddle to try and distance Casar. He then slows suddenly, allowing the Frenchman through. What is he playing at?
Cunego and Scarponi are both in this main group, and Kreuziger is back there after failing to find his team car.
De Gendt and Kreuziger are still there - until the Astana rider suddenly pulls up and drops to his team car. He looked fine, but will now struggle to get on. Szmyd has dropped back, so Basso has Capecchi and Caruso on the front.
Just five riders in pursuit now of the leading two now: Flecha, Garate, Zeits, Sella and Paewels.
Rodriguez has one team-mate with him - but it's not Daniel Moreno, who has faded fast.
Basso still as Caruso, Capecchi and Szmyd with him. They are catching riders from that initial break. Katusha's Ignatiev has been swept up. Hesjedal has two Garmin team-mates, where as the pink jersey Rodriguez is isolated and quite far back off the front. Astana are having another bad day: Paolo Tiralongo has been distanced.
Rohregger has hit the wall! The Austrian drops back leaving just Pirazzi and Casar in the lead.
Sandy Casar is setting the tempo for the three leaders. They have 30 seconds on the chasing group now. meanwhile, Liquigas riders start to peel off the front of the peloton: three down, four left (including Basso).
Liquigas are driving the peloton on with gusto. They're doing a lot of damage. In the second chasing group, Zeits and Sella are trying to reel in the three leaders - Rohregger, Casar and Pirazzi.
Rohregger is rejoined before atacking again. Pirazzi bridges the gap, as does Casar. Garate is yet to hit his rhythm. Sella cannot reply either as yet.
RadioShack's Thomas Rohregger sets the pace on the front of the leading group. He has Cazaux in his wheel, and then rides off ahead. The peloton is just 3:30 further down the road now. Quite a few riders have been dropped by this leading group: Haedo, Ventoso, Malori have all gone.
We're onto the first ascent of the Cat.1 Passo Pampeago - 10.5km at 9.7%.
Result of the intermediate sprint at Tesano: 1. Flecha (Sky), 2. Hansen (Lotto), 3. Santaromita (BMC).
Liquigas still drive the pace with seven lime green riders on the front of the bunch. The 16 leaders have 4:10 on the pack, with the Cavendish-Intxausti group 8:20 off the pace.
Fifty kilometres to go - and that will include two ascents of the Cat.1 Passo Pampeago, the Cat.2 Passo Lavaze and an intermediate sprint.
Another mechanical for Szmyd, who drops back to the Liquigas team car. The lead of the break is just under five minutes now.
Ivan Basso is smiling on the front of the peloton, with four team-mates pulling him along. Business as usual for Liquigas. The break is 5:10 ahead.
The leaders pass over a small cobbled section on this unclassified rise. Then it will be on to Tesaro for the intermediate sprint.
Pirazzi and Rohregger have been caught and the leading 16-man group are onto a slight rise following that descent. It will take them up to the plateau on which the intermediate sprint takes place, ahead of the first ascent of the Passo Pempeago. Liquigas controlled the descent in the peloton, which rolls along 5:50 down on the leaders.
Another withdrawal to report: Italian Francesco Chicchi of Omega Pharma-QuickStep has called it a day.
Pirazzi and Rohregger have 20 seconds over the 14 other riders from the initial break. The back is six minutes back.
Already four hours in the saddle for the riders today - and another three huge climbs still to come.
Hunter is back on his way, but that fall will have ruined his day. There's no blood on him so he may have just come off on the grass verge and hurt his ankle trying to stablise himself. But all his hard work on the last climb will be un-done.
CRASH: Robbie Hunter of Garmin goes down on a corner. He'll need a new bike and looks to have hurt his right leg.
Hesjedal is keeping as close to Basso as possible on this descent. Five Liquigas riders on the front of the pack for this fast downhill.
Pink jersey Rodriguez has momentarily become the best young rider: he's wearing a white gilet for this descent.
The peloton go over the summit and commence the descent. Pirazzi and Rohregger are out in front of the leading group after that attack towards the end of the climb. They're descending well and have six minutes on the bunch.
Liquigas, as a team, are excellent on the downhills. It will be interesting to see if they press once they go over the top of the Manghen.
Liquigas and Lampre are now on the front of the peloton as they get nearer to the summit. Positioning for the descent will be vital. The gap is down to 5:45.
This descent is quite terrifying: the road is winding and only a few metres wide. Meanwhile, there's a lot of dust and earth on each side, which could be very slippery. Garate was dropped by the leaders towards the end of the climb, but should fight back on now the road is going downhill. Expect one or two riders to come a cropper on the descent, mind.
Cheeky from Pirazzi, who sees Sella putting on a gilet and takes the chance to attack! Rohregger follows, but then gets boxed in by the TV camera bike and gesticulates wildly. Pirazzi goes over the summit of the Cat.1 Passo Manghen in pole position, with Rohregger a few lengths back in second. Sella takes third.
Emanuele Sella sets the pace now and manages to shout at one spectator who gets too close. Pirazzi then attacks, followed by Rohregger. Sella then catches and passes them - but the rest of the group is still there.
Movistar's Benat Intxausti has been dropped by the peloton! The young Spaniard started the day in sixth place in the GC, 3:04 down on Rodriguez. He may tumble down the standings today if he continues at this rate...
BMC's Alessandro Ballan has been dropped by the bunch. The gap back to the peloton from the leading break is 7:40 now. The leaders are onto the narrow, steep roads towards the top of the climb.
Guardini has been caught by the peloton. He's going to suffer big time for the rest of the day. What was he thinking getting into that break? The leaders are onto the steep 10% section of the climb. Guardini will soon be out the back and alongside Cavendish in the autobus...
Astana's Roman Kreuziger - now more than 12 minutes down after imploding on the Passo Giau two days ago - has been relegated to water bottle duties for his team. Rumour has it Astana will flog him to QuickStep at the end of the season. He's been a real disappointment since joining from Liquigas in 2010.
Pirazzi and Cazaux on the front of the leading group, who are down to 16 men after dropping Guardini. After hitting the heights with his win yesterday, the Farnese Vini sprinter will be experiencing a very different race today, riding solo up a brutal mountain five minutes off the pace.
Mechanical problem for Sylvester Szmyd, who drops back to the Liquigas team car for some assistance and a chat. Basso will want to have the Pole on top form today.
Katusha's Gatis Smukulis sets the pace on the front of the bunch. With the leaders, it's Sandy Casar and Francesco Ventoso. There's still another 6km of this long climb remaining.
Now Liquigas beginning to edge closer to the front. It's a big day for Basso - the Italian looked by far the strongest on the Passo Giau, but failed to take any time over his rivals. It's now or never if he wants to win a third Giro title...
Robbie Hunter is still right up there alongside team-mate Ryder Hesjedal and tucked behind the Katusha team leading the peloton. The gap is 8:10 as the bunch passes three playful ponies. Meanwhile, Jose Herrada needs a wheel change for Movistar, and has Sergio Pardilla to help pace him back.
Some interesting prections filtering in below in the comment box: Mehmet Murat thinks Uran will win the stage ahead of Scarponi, who will take the pink jersey. Not a very likely scenario...
Red jersey Mark Cavendish is riding in a group of around 30 riders off the back of the peloton. They're about a minute down on the main pack. Pink jersey Rodriguez has come further forward now, alongside his team-mates.
NetApp's Cesare Benedetti is driving a fast pace in the leading group. Their lead is down to 8:15 over the peloton as they approach the tough part of this climb.
Yesterday's winner Andrea Guardini has been dropped by the leading group. He's already a minute or so behind.
Liquigas are notable in their absence here - for once, they seem totally indifferent to the pace-setting. Meanwhile, pink jersey Rodriguez holds the wheel of Basso well off the front of the bunch.
Yes, Vande Velde had a problem with his chain - but he appears to be back on with the peloton now. Back in the group, it's Zeits setting the pace, before Flecha, Garate and Pauwels come through.
It's Russian engine Pavel Brutt setting the pace for Katusha at the moment, doing his best Sylvester Szmyd impression. Off the back of the peloton, Garmin's Christian Vande Velde appears to be having some problems. He's being paced back by team-mate Ramunas Navardauskas, who wore the pink earlier in the race.
Behind Katusha, the teams of Hesjedal (Garmin), Scarponi (Lampre) and Basso (Liquigas) ride in unison. The temperature is down to 11 degrees centigrade now we're getting high up.
The gap is up to 10 minutes now. It will be interesting to see what happens with the favourites on this climb - will they stay together or will we see some attacks? There are still three climbs after the Manghen, remember. At the moment, it's Katusha setting the pace, so Liquigas are not employing their usual tactic. Already, the pack has shed a lot of riders - it's only about 100-strong.
The peloton are onto the Passo Manghen now. It's a massive climb, rising from 383m above sea level to over 2000m. It has an average gradient of 7.4% for 20.5km - but it's 10% for the last 6km and has ramps as high as 15%.
Jose Rujano of Androni Giocattoli has retired from the race. Usually, these kinds of stages would have been ideal for Rujano, but the Venezualan has been in very poor form in this year's Giro, suffering from the bad weather and now from fatigue.
Sandy Casar leads the break onto a cobbled section of road that marks the start of the Cat.1 Passo Manghen. Almost nine minutes further back, the peloton passes through the feeding zone.
The leaders pass through the town of Telve for the feeding zone. The gap continues to grow: 8:50 now.
Astana's Andrey Zeits downs a mini can of Coke before tossing it to the side of the road. He may well pick up a fine for that. The gap is now 7:50.
On the front of the break, Ventoso seems to be riding with a nose bleed. Perhaps it's the altitude?
The sun that shone down at the start of the stage has been replaced by rain. Pink jersey Joaquim Rodriguez has put on a black jacket as he rides surrounded by Katusha team-mates. It's a very localised shower, mind, because the leaders are still riding under the sun, seven minutes further up the road.
The lead is 6:35 after the first climb of the day. There's a slight plateau now, then the descent to the feeding zone ahead of the first major task of the day, the Cat.1 Passo Manghen.
The leaders have passed over the summit of the Cat.3 Sella di Roa: 1. Stefano Pirazzi (Colnago) 5pts, 2. Thomas Rohregger (RadioShack) 3pts, 3. Serge Pauwels (QuickStep) 2pts.
Sprinter Andrea Guardini, who won yesterday's stage after a superb surge past world champion Mark Cavendish, is understandably struggling to stay in contact with the leading group on this first climb. They're about 3km from the summit.
The 17 leaders start the Cat.3 Sella di Roa with 7:05 over the pack.
A reminder of the leaders, who are about to start the first climb of the day: Casar (FDJ), Rohregger (RadioShack), Sella (Androni), Pirazzi (Colnago), Flecha (Sky), Santaromita (BMC), Pauwels (QuickStep), Garate (Rabobank), Malori (Lampre), Ventoso (Movistar), Zeits (Astana), Hansen (Lotto Belisol), Benedetti (NetApp), Cazaux (Euskaltel), Ignatiev (Katusha), Guardini (Farnese Vini) and Haedo (Saxo Bank).
I spoke too soon: the 17 leaders increase their lead to 7:40. The final classification to catch up on is the youth standings: Colombian Rigoberto Uran (Team Sky) is in the white jersey and leads his compatriot and team-mate Sergio Henao by 1:46.
The lead has stabilised at 6:20 as the leaders edge closer to the first climb of the day. // "Rodriguez will take some stopping a good result today and he could be top of both points and general," says Paul below. Meanwhile, Bizarro picks Movistar's Benat Intxausti for the win - the Spaniard is currently sixth in the GC. Finally, Elisabeth is going for Domenico Pozzovivo, who she thinks was "bluffing on the Giau" two days ago.
One notable absentee from the break is blue jersey Matteo Rabottini (Farnese Vini). The stage 15 winner could have sewn up the mountains classification today, but he won't be too distressed: none of his rivals for the blue jersey are in the break either, and he's looking good for taking the blue all the way to Milan.
Who do you fancy for the win today? Will one of these breakaway riders stay out or will the battle for the GC take over come the second ascent of the Passo Pampeago? Have your say in the comment box below...
The best placed rider in the GC is Frenchman Sandy Casar, who is 12:25 behind Rodriguez in the standings.
The gap increases to 6:15 as the riders continue the opening 70km flat segment of today's stage. The finish at Alpe di Pampeago became famous after Marco Pantani attacked on the climb during the peak of his career. In 1998 the Pirate cracked main rival Pavel Tonkov to win the stage and set up overall victory. The year after Pantani dropped Gilberto Simoni to win again, while Simoni won in Alpe di Pampeago in 2003.
The breakaway now has 5:45 over the peloton. No surprise seeing Emanuele Sella in the group today: the Italian won the stage to Alpe di Pampeago back in 2008. The diminitive climber won three stages that year - although he later tested positive for CERA and was banned for one year.
There were 165 riders at the start today after Italy’s Elia Favilli and Alfredo Balloni (both Farnese Vini) withdrew from the race.
The stand out men in the break are Garate, Sella and Pirazzi, all of whom are strong climbers. It's interesting to see yesterday's stage winner Guardini there too. The young Italian is clearly eager to stay in the limelight.
The leading group now has four minutes over the peloton. The riders are: Casar (FDJ), Rohregger (RadioShack), Sella (Androni), Pirazzi (Colnago), Flecha (Sky), Santaromita (BMC), Pauwels (QuickStep), Garate (Rabobank), Malori (Lampre), Ventoso (Movistar), Zeits (Astana), Hansen (Lotto Belisol), Benedetti (NetApp), Cazaux (Euskaltel), Ignatiev (Katusha), Guardini (Farnese Vini) and Haedo (Saxo Bank).
Today's climbs: Cat.3 Sella di Roa - 7.1% for 4.8km, Cat.1 Passo Manghen - 7.4% for 20.5km (including 10% for last 6km and ramps of 15%), Cat.1 Passo Pampeago - 10.5km at 9.7%, Cat.2 Passo Lavaze - 6.3km at 8.6%, Cat.1 Passo Pampeago (for a second time).
BREAK: A group of 17 riders has ridden off the front, including Juan Manuel Garate (Rabobank) and Francesco Ventoso (Movistar). More information coming up when it filters through on race radio...
World champion Mark Cavendish picked up maximum points in the intermediate sprint yesterday, but could only take second place at the finish. The Manxman increased his lead over Rodriguez in the red jersey standings to 29 points, which puts him in a precarious position given the itinerary for the next three days. Should the Spaniard finish highly in these next two mountain stages, he could well overturn Cavendish's lead.
There was no change yesterday in the overall standings: Spain's Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) leads Canada's Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin) by 30 seconds at the top. Ivan Basso (Liquigas) is third at 1:22, while another Italian, the defending champion Michele Scarponi (Lampre), is fourth at 1:36. The top five is completed by Colombian youngster Rigoberto Uran (Team Sky), 2:56 in arrears.
Today's mouth-watering stage is under way - let the battle commence!
Yesterday, Italian youngster Andrea Guardini went off-script with an emphatic sprint win over world champion Mark Cavendish in stage 18 of the Giro d'Italia. The 22-year-old Farnese Vini rookie led out the bunch sprint at the close of a short and fast 149km stage to Vedelago, holding off the challenge from both Team Sky's Cavendish and Italy's Roberto Ferrari (Androni Giocattoli). It was Guardini's maiden win on his debut Grand Tour.
It's a bright, sunny day at the start in Treviso, with temperatures already in the early 20s and predicted to peak at around 28 degrees centigrade.
Today's stage is the first of a brutal Alpine double-header that will in all likelihood decide the destiny of this year's Giro. Apart from the first Cat.3 climb, the four climbs on the agenda have double digit gradients - and the riders will have two ascents of the demanding Passo Pampeago.
Welcome to live coverage of stage 19 of the Giro d'Italia - a stage which could decide who rides into Milan wearing the pink jersey. There are five classified climbs on the 198km stage from Treviso, culminating with the summit finish atop the Cat.1 Alpe di Pampeago.