For the fourth time in this 2024 Giro d’Italia, Enzo Paleni hit the front this Friday. On a very hilly stage 19 towards Sappada, the young Frenchman managed to slip into the breakaway which fought for victory. Andrea Vendrame claimed the win while the Groupama-FDJ rider took sixteenth place after a tough uphill final. The last mountain stage of the Giro will be on the menu on Saturday.

For many, it was the last stage suitable for the breakaway. Due to a very hilly profile but without any major climb on the menu, stage 19 was definitely an opportunity for the attackers. As a consequence, many of them wanted to enter the break in the first hour of racing. “A group went almost from kilometre 0 with good riders but certain teams who missed it and who absolutely wanted to be in front chased hard,” explained Frédéric Guesdon. “So the pace was very high until kilometre 30, where the first little bump was located. Everything got back together.” “The goal was to join the breakaway today,” stated Enzo Paleni. “But it wasn’t easy. We caught the first break before the start of a technical section, then a group of six riders went on a climb with Alaphilippe and other strong guys.” The fight did not stop there, however, and indeed continued for another twenty kilometers. “I attacked with three guys later, then a final group of nine riders managed to bridge across,” said Enzo.

“It’s motivating for the future”, Enzo Paleni

After more than sixty kilometres, the bunch finally decided to ease off and the 19-man breakaway could take off. “When I looked around in the break, there were only big names,” explained Enzo. “We knew that it was going to be hard for Enzo who was with better climbers and riders in good shape,” confirmed Frédéric. “Four riders who were there had already won a stage at the Giro this year: Alaphilippe, Narvaez, Steinhauser and Sanchez. The main thing was to have him in front, then the goal was for him to enjoy, give his all and achieve the best possible result. Just being in the breakaway today shows he’s got good form, because there wasn’t just anybody with him.” The bunch completely lost interest in the stage victory, but the battle for it started too early for the young rider from Groupama-FDJ. “I tried to save as much energy as possible to be ready for the steep climb in the middle of the route,” he commented. “Unfortunately, I didn’t have the legs today to fight up front, so I hung on as much as possible in the group where I found himself”.

With the best ones attacking in front, Enzo Paleni was dropped around forty kilometres from the finish. “He was not the first one to be distanced either,” explained Frédéric. “He came too short in the final, which is normal in the third week, for his first Grand Tour, but he showed good things.” “It’s satisfying to have been in the breakaway, because that was the goal,” added Enzo. “It’s motivating for the future and makes me want to try again.” The opportunities should be limited between now and the end of this Giro, because before the expected sprint in Rome on Sunday, the double ascent of Monte Grappa (18 km at 8%) looms on Saturday for the 20th stage. “It’s going to be a hard day for us, but we’re going to hang on and try to get through this stage as best as possible and then focus on Sunday,” concluded Frédéric.

To read in this category…

No comment