Hindley in striking distance of Giro win

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Australia's Jai Hindley goes into the final weekend of the Giro d'Italia just three seconds behind leader Richard Carapaz.

The Ecuadorian held on to the pink jersey as Dutchman Koen Bouwman won stage 19 of the Giro, a mountainous 178km ride from Marano Lagunare to Santuario di Castelmonte, in bizarre fashion on Friday.

Carapaz, three seconds clear of the second-placed West Australian in the general classification going into the stage, was joined by three Ineos Grenadiers teammates in a packed peloton right up until the final few kilometres.

Spaniard Mikel Landa - third in the general classification before a stage that passed through parts of Slovenia and needing to close the gap - made the first move.

The top three riders were left alone as the leaders' group approached the stage end.

Carapaz led Hindley and Landa ahead of the final sprint, with the Colombian coming home in front of his rivals at the crucial moment.

He keeps the "maglia rosa", with only one more mountainous stage to come before Sunday's time trial finale.

There had already been plenty of drama further ahead of the overall leaders. With five riders vying to win the stage, three overshot the final corner, allowing Bouwman to come through for his second stage victory of this year's Giro.

"I knew there was a corner to the left but I didn't know it was this sharp," Bouwman said. "I had to brake quite hard and I knew I had to take the inside (of the corner).

"Now to win two stages in the Giro - I'm just so happy I don't have words."

There was some bad news for Carapaz on Friday, however, as teammate Richie Porte dropped out of the Giro through illness, leaving the race leader missing a key domestique for the final two stages this weekend.

"Truth is, it's been a really difficult day," Carapaz said. "I'm really disappointed about Richie, it's unlucky."

All could be decided on the penultimate leg on Saturday. The 20th stage has been given the maximum difficulty rating of five stars and features three gruelling climbs in a 167km ride from Belluno to Marmolada.

With AP

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