Esteban Chaves ended his year-long wait for a victory with an emotional stage 19 success at the Giro d’Italia.
Chaves (Mitchelton-Scott) was diagnosed with Epstein-Barr virus last season and took an eight-month break from cycling.
But the Colombian showed his renowned bravery to attack multiple times on the final climb and drop the rest of a breakaway group.
Chaves finally broke clear of Francois Bidard and Pieter Serry with just 2.5 kilometres left of the 151km run from Treviso to San Martino di Castrozza.
It was the 15th win of Chaves’ career and his first since a victory at the 2018 Giro, the prelude to his absence from the sport with an ailment that causes glandular fever.
“It is unbelievable, I never give up,” Chaves told Eurosport.
“I attacked many times until I dropped everyone. This is one I had to dig out and I am so happy.”
Andrea Vendrame (Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec) eventually finished second, 10 seconds adrift, after having a couple of mechanical issues on the final climb.
Amaro Antunes (CCC) was two seconds further back in third place.
Further down the road, Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana) attacked on the final climb to take back just under a minute on his general classification rivals.
Ecuador’s Richard Carapaz (Movistar) will take a lead of one minute and 54 seconds into Saturday’s 20th stage over Vincenzo Nibali (TBM).
Primoz Roglic (Team Jumbo–Visma) is a further 22 seconds back in third.