Stage 9 of the 2021 Giro d’Italia promised fireworks and we got them. With a kilometre to go, Egan Bernal made sure he put his team’s work to good use and rocketed past the two remaining breakers, Geoffrey Bouchard (Ag2r La Mondiale) and Jumbo’s Koen Bouwman, and away from his GC rivals to take his first Grand Tour stage win (yes, it’s true) and the maglia rosa.
The first big test
With Tro Bro and the Giro gravel, today is Sunday, dirty Sunday.
— nyvelocity (@nyvelocity) May 16, 2021
What with it being a short 160km stage and the final kilometre being both super steep and on dirt, it was expected to be the stage that the GC men were really tested.
A large-ish break was allowed to go away (finally) about halfway through the stage. Groupama-FDJ rode tempo in the peloton to keep the break from getting too far away and their teammate Attila Valter sheltered in his maglia rosa.
The men in today’s #Giro break: Bennett, Bouchard, Bouwman, Carr, Edet, Fabbro, Gallopin, Guerreiro, Kangert, Mollema, Rubio, Sanchez, Sepulveda, Storer, Ulissi, Visconti, Zana.
— Deceuninck-QuickStep (@deceuninck_qst) May 16, 2021
— Ken Sommer (@KenSommer) May 16, 2021
On the final climb, the intensity was ratcheted up by, of course, INEOS Grenadiers. They had Deceuninck QuickStep and Trek Segafredo on their wheels. Although Salvatore Puccio was leading the way with Egan Bernal on his wheel, it wasn’t challenging enough to drop any of the main GC contenders outright, although it did start to tire them out and it had the maglia rosa on the ropes. An aside: I always thought Puccio was a sprinter. I have no idea why.
Ganna is Italian for Mary Mother of God please make this stop
— Dr Headgear (@DrHeadgear) May 16, 2021
When you ask the team for everything you need to deliver. @Eganbernal delivered.
— John Galloway (@VelocastJohn) May 16, 2021
Through the tunnel, it was Bouchard with Bouwman hot on his wheel, who came out first and made the turn into the off-road finale. At first it looked like Bouwman actually had the stage in the bag, but once under the flamme rouge, the race served up one of those incredibly intense final kilometres, where the action didn’t unfold, it erupted!
— World Cycling Stats (@wcsbike) May 16, 2021
Holy sh*t Egan Bernal. Just BLEW that to pieces. #Giro
— Issie 💙 (@IssieAtch) May 16, 2021
— Issie 💙 (@IssieAtch) May 16, 2021
I had slight reservations about Bernal's ability to blow people away.
I thought if he was going to win, it would be a smooth defensive performance.
Appatently not !
— Just Pro Cycling (@justprocycling) May 16, 2021
— Mihai Simion (@faustocoppi60) May 16, 2021
Bernal makes his mark
It might seem bizarre, but this stage was Bernal’s first grand tour stage win. If you remember back at the 2019 Tour de France, he never won a stage on his way to the top step in Paris. He’s also had a rough two years since that win, with expectations running high and race performances running low. His sensitive soul certainly came out in the after-stage interviews.
🎙️ @Eganbernal: "I cannot believe what just happened, I just won my first stage in a grand tour. I made a lot of sacrifices to get where I am now."
— Giro d'Italia (@giroditalia) May 16, 2021
— CyclingCentral (@CyclingCentral) May 16, 2021
— INEOS Grenadiers (@INEOSGrenadiers) May 16, 2021
What now, my loves?
The top 10 wasn’t shaken up completely but it did start to show exactly who was on a good ride and who wasn’t. INEOS will take the race and try to lock it down – let’s hope the riders snapping at their heels are able to make it attackity and exciting all the way to the final Saturday mountain stage.
Vlasov and Ciccone look like the best climbers after Bernal, but for both there is doubt about coping with the whole three weeks and especially the TT. #Giro104
— Felix Schönbach (@Felixschoenbach) May 16, 2021
Have to say I'm very impressed by Ciccone. I did not see him doing GC. Thought stages and another KOM campaign would suit him better. Happy to be wrong.#Giro
— Dan Deakins (@DanDeakins) May 16, 2021
Let’s hear from the peloton’s most enthusiastic pedaller
— Trek-Segafredo (@TrekSegafredo) May 16, 2021
And they’re all in for Ciccone, who moves up three spots in the GC to number 4 – 21sec behind Bernal.
Vincenzo Nibali: “My Giro started uphill and isn’t getting much better."
— VeloNews (@velonews) May 16, 2021
I’d put my money on Carthy before I put it on Yates, to be honest.
For the Brits, Carthy and Yates still not losing loads of time… There's plenty of racing left for their form to build to what we were expecting, for Yates in particular #Giro104
— Tim Bonville-Ginn (@TimBonvilleGinn) May 16, 2021
The final word
Geoffrey Bouchard inconsolable à l’arrivée de l’étape du jour 🥺 Les larmes en interview d’après course malgré le gain du maillot du grimpeur 💔 Courage @GeoffBouche, la forme est là !!! Tu auras de nouvelles occasions de jouer la gagne sur ce Giro 👊🏼🙏🏼
— Simon Courteille (@SimCourteille) May 16, 2021
Stage 9 Top 5
1 Egan Bernal (Ineos Grenadiers) 4:08:23
2 Giulio Ciccone (Trek-Segafredo) +0:07
3 Aleksandr Vlasov (Astana-Premier Tech) same time
4 Remco Evenepoel (Deceuninck-QuickStep) +0:10
5 Dan Martin (Israel Start-up Nation) same time
GC Top 10
1 Egan Bernal (INEOS Grenadiers) 35:19:22
2 Remco Evenepoel (Deceuninck-QuickStep) +0:15
3 Aleksandr Vlasov (Astana) +0:21
4 Giulio Ciccone (Trek-Segafredo) +0:36
5 Attila Valter (Groupama-FDJ) +0:43
6 Hugh Carthy (EF Education-Nippo) +0:44
7 Damiano Caruso (Bahrain Victorious) +0:45
8 Dan Martin (Israel Start-up Nation) +0:51
9 Simon Yates (Team Bike Exchange) +0:55
10 Davide Formolo (UAE Team Emirates) +1:01
All the jerseys
Jerseys after Stage 9
💗🏆 Egan Bernal 🇨🇴
💜💨 Tim Merlier 🇧🇪
💙⛰️ Geoffrey Bouchard 🇫🇷
🤍👶 Egan Bernal 🇨🇴 pic.twitter.com/sHHAfe7x2q
— pro cycling trumps (@procycletrumps) May 16, 2021
Leader’s jersey Egan Bernal (INEOS Grenadiers)
Points jersey Tim Merlier (Alpecin-Fenix)
King of the Mountains Geoffrey Bouchard (Ag2r Citroen)
Best Young Rider Egan Bernal (INEOS Grenadiers)
For full race reviews, go to cyclingnews.
Official race website: Giro d’Italia