Chaves wins Stage 19, Carapaz keeps Giro lead

SAN MARTINO DI CASTROZZA, Italy (AP) — Esteban Chaves secured an emotional victory on the 19th stage of the Giro d’Italia on Friday, and Ecuadorian cyclist Richard Carapaz remained in the overall lead.

It was Chaves’ first win since being diagnosed with Epstein-Barr virus while competing in last year’s Giro and taking eight months off from racing.

“This is pure happiness,” Chaves said. “It takes a heavy weight off my back. It’s a relief to be a winner again. It shows I can do it.”

Chaves, a Colombian who rides for Mitchelton-Scott, crossed the line 10 seconds ahead of Italian cyclist Andrea Vendrame, who had two mechanical failures in the final four kilometers of the uphill finish to San Martino di Castrozza.

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Amaro Antunes was third, 12 seconds behind Chaves at the end of the 151-kilometer route from Treviso.

Carapaz remained 1 minute, 54 seconds ahead of Vincenzo Nibali and 2:16 ahead of Primoz Roglic of Slovenia.

“It’s another good day for us and we’re looking forward to tomorrow,” Carapaz said. “We’re ready to defend the Maglia Rosa in a harder stage than today.”

Saturday’s penultimate stage is the last chance Carapaz’s rivals have to gain significant time on the Movistar cyclist ahead of the final time trial in Verona on Sunday.

The 20th stage is the last mountain leg, with five long, categorized climbs in the Dolomites along the 194-kilometer route from Feltre to Croce d’Aune-Monte Avena.

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This story has been corrected to show it was Stage 19 of the Giro, not Stage 18.

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