Vuelta a Espana: Alberto Dainese sprints to stage 19 win as Sepp Kuss retains lead

Alberto Dainese wins stage 19 of the 2023 Vuelta a Espana
Alberto Dainese's previous two Grand Tour stage wins came on the Giro d'Italia

Alberto Dainese narrowly avoided a crash in the final kilometre to sprint to victory on stage 19 of the Vuelta a Espana.

Green jersey holder Kaden Groves, who has won two stages this year, was among several riders to go down on a straight 2.2km run to the finish in Iscar.

But DSM-Firmenich rider Dainese, 25, avoided danger before passing fellow Italian Filippo Ganna in the sprint.

American Sepp Kuss finished safely in the peloton to retain the overall lead.

The 29-year-old still leads Jonas Vingegaard by 17 seconds, with their Jumbo-Visma team-mate Primoz Roglic just over a minute behind Kuss in third.

They are now following team orders to help Kuss clinch his first Grand Tour win, with Jumbo-Visma set to become the first team to win all three Grand Tours in the same year after Roglic won the Giro d'Italia in May and Vingegaard retained his Tour de France title in July.

Kuss maintained his lead over the final mountain stages and the race returned to the flat on Friday over 177.5km of racing from La Baneza.

After the late crash, Ganna benefited from a lead-out to put him at the front on the final sprint but Dainese came from way back, timing his attack to perfection to snatch his third Grand Tour stage win.

"It was really unlucky to lose a couple of guys in the crash but until that point I was in the perfect position, I was where I wanted to be," he said.

"I knew there was a bit of a headwind so I just let Ganna and the other guys go a bit early and then I was waiting for my moment to go in the wind. I'm super happy to finish a hard Vuelta in this way."

Kuss is not quite assured of victory yet as Saturday's penultimate stage takes the riders into the hills over 208km around Madrid and will feature 10 categorised climbs.