Giro d’Italia 2021 : Stage 9 – Bernal’s muddy path to the stage and the maglia rosa

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

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.

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. 


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! 

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.

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.

Let’s hear from the peloton’s most enthusiastic pedaller

And they’re all in for Ciccone, who moves up three spots in the GC to number 4 – 21sec behind Bernal.

I’d put my money on Carthy before I put it on Yates, to be honest.

The final word


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

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

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