28 May 2011

Contador lets team-mate win 19th stage

11:57 am on 28 May 2011

Italian Paolo Tiralongo of the Astana team was gifted victory on the 19th stage of the Tour of Italy by Spaniard Alberto Contador, who retained the overall leader's pink jersey.

Contador caught up with Tiralongo in the final kilometre of the 209 km ride from Bergamo to Macugnaga, but allowed his Italian former team-mate to cross the finish line ahead of him and the chasing peloton.

The stage was raced in rainy conditions and was studded by a series of breakaways, notably the final climb of 28.2 kilometres (at a 3.9 per cent average gradient).

The first peloton headed by team-mates of Katusha's Joaquin Rodriguez tracked down the breakout pack with 13.5 kilometres to go and Contador moved smoothly to the front to dictate a smooth finish, pacing his ride-in behind Tiralongo.

Sunday's penultimate stage is a 242-kilometre ride from Verbania to Sestriere.