With only three days remaining in this Tour of Spain, the nineteenth stage was unpredictable with its hilly profile in the first race half and a parcours suited for sprinters in the second part. Three climbs of 10 kilometer with an average gradient of 5 per cent were evenly spread in the first 60 kilometer of the stage.
24 riders escaped on the first of the trio, the Alto da Sela d’Entorcisa (10 km at 4.1%). After the two following difficulties, only eighteen riders remained in the front. Several teams rode a strong pace in the peloton in order to get rid of the sprinters, that’s why the gap with the breakaway oscillated around 2 minutes.
When the peloton came closer to the breakaway, Louis Meintjes crashed with 40 kilometer to go. The South African, 10th in the provisional classification, wasn’t able to continue and was forced to abandon. The red jersey group never managed to join the escapees, who battled for the stage win.
The riders under direction of Valerio Piva and Jean-Marc Rossignon reached the finish line together, 18 seconds behind winner Cort. Odd Christian Eiking is now 11th in the general classification, one day ahead of the final peloton race, which is filled with difficulties. The finish line is situated at the end of the climb towards Castro de Herville (9.7 km at 4.9%).