VAL DI FIEMME, Italy -- Roman Kreuziger won the 19th stage of Giro d'Italia on Friday, and Joaquin Rodriguez retained the overall lead.
With a superb final climb, Kreuziger finished the penultimate mountain leg of the Giro in 6 hours, 18 minutes and 2 seconds. Ryder Hesjedal was 19 seconds behind.
Rodriguez finished third. His advantage over Hesjedal in the overall standings was down to 17 seconds.
It marked one of the toughest stages in this year's Giro. It featured five categorized climbs along the 123-mile route from Treviso to Val di Fiemme, including two ascents of the daunting Passo Pampeago, and a third category one climb.
The 20th stage Saturday is another difficult test, with the 136-mile trek from Caldes culminating in a 14-mile ascent of the Passo dello Stelvio, which has an average gradient of 12 percent.
The Giro finishes on Sunday.