Černý, the Czech national time trial champion, showed off his power and speed in the closing kilometers of the shortened stage after a stinging attack off the front of the day’s 14-rider breakaway saw him ride away from the rest of the group, which had amassed a sizeable advantage of more than 10 minutes after the peloton sat up.
Despite a concerted effort from the five remaining chasers behind him, Černý dug deep and was able to maintain an advantage of around 20 seconds going into the final three kilometers of the 124-kilometer race before finally raising his hands in the air with delight after securing the stage win.
Černý’s first Grand Tour stage win, and his first WorldTour victory, comes off the back of two strong time trial performances already at the Giro d’Italia, sixth in stage one and fifth on stage 14.
The Winner’s Interview with Josef Černý
Josef, congratulations! How does it feel to take your first Grand Tour win?
“I still cannot believe it but it is a really nice feeling. I didn’t believe it until I was about 500 meters to go. I still had about 25-30 seconds in the last ten kilometres but it was a full headwind. I thought I could I could do it and I was pushing hard and now I’m here after crossing first in the finish line. It’s unbelievable. I cannot describe it, it was just incredible. I try so much and today, I have achieved my dream. I am really happy for my team, my family, and my girlfriend.”
Talk us through today’s shortened stage?
“It was a strange day and it was a very difficult moment. We had three really heavy days in the mountains in the last days and today, it was raining full gas. I was really happy the organizer shortened the stage but it was still a hard day. I think history will not ask me if I won a shortened stage or a longer stage, I just won the stage. It’s really nice to have the hands in the air in the finish line. I was lucky in the breakaway and we were working well together and in the final, it was just about who had the better legs.”
After two good results in the time trials, you now have a stage win. How has the Giro d’italia been for you?
“This Giro d’Italia has been really special for me. I was happy with my results in the time trials and I’m looking forward to the final one in Milan. But to win a road stage is really special. I enjoy the fight in the breakaway because it’s a lottery. I was happy that I had good legs after the Stelvio yesterday and I’m happy I was able to show what I can do.”
Stage 19: Abbiategrasso > Asti (124km)
Top 3: 1. Josef Černý 2. Victor Campenaerts (NTT Pro Cycling) 3. Jacopo Mosca (Trek – Segafredo)
CCC Team Top 3: 1. Josef Černý 2. 60. Kamil Małecki 64. Attila Valter