Stage 19, 183km from Longarone to Tre Cime di Lavaredo, Santiago Buitrago claimed a mountaintop victory, finishing 1:46 ahead of the GC contenders. The final part of the stage witnessed intense attacks and counter-attacks among the riders. At the finish line, one finial push allowed Primoz Roglic to narrowly edge out Geraint Thomas by a mere 3 seconds. Despite losing some time, Joao Almeida held onto the third spot in the general classification, trailing by 0:59 seconds. While opinions may vary, the standout performer on the stage was Canada's Derek Gee, who once again showcased incredible resilience and determination by securing second place for the fourth time in this Giro. His unwavering pursuit of a stage win is remarkable, even if it eludes him in this particular race. I'm confident it will come at some point in the future.
So what's the lesson? It's not the same for everyone. After Stage 19, Geraint Thomas was questioned by a journalist about the upcoming Stage 20, an uphill time trial and the last big opportunity for a shake-up in the general classification. Thomas rightly pointed out that the terrain and the task at hand are the same for every rider. The objective is to ride the course as fast as possible, alone, which is often referred to as the race of truth in cycling. However, what sets riders apart is the stage they will be riding in their minds. Numerous factors, such as managing emotions and personal resilience, can either aid or hinder their performance. Ultimately, it is our responses to challenges, both big and small, that make the difference, even when facing the same reality as others. That means it's not the same for everyone.