Giro d’Italia 2021 : Stage 14 – Fortunato conquers Zoncolan, Bernal takes more time

Stage 14 was the first serious climbing stage in the Giro d’Italia and serious in Italian is pronounced Zoncolan. Fans were afroth with anticipation but as is often the case, the race only really got off the ground in the final handful of kilometres. Lorenzo Fortunato of Eolo-Kometa was the breakaway rider who took the Zoncolan on and won his first ever professional race. Zig-zagging Jan Tratnik (Bahrain Victorious) and Alessandro Covi (UAE Team Emirates) completing the stage podium. Egan Bernal tried to play it cool but good legs meant that when he saw a chance, he took yet more time from his rivals and he stands firmly on top of the GC.

Lorenzo the Lucky

Lucky in that Lorenzo Fortunato got in the break of the day – a break that went the whole way. During the day, the talk certainly wasn’t of Fortunato winning the stage, with breakmates such as Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo) and George Bennett (Jumbo Visma), but once Jan Tratnik went out on his own halfway up the final climb, Fortunato picked his moment and rode up to the Bahrain Victorious rider with ease. In a flash, they gained 45 seconds and the chasing group never got anywhere close to catching them, although Alessandro Covi gave it a good try.

Fortunato and Tratnik worked together until about 2.3km to go. With Tratnik starting to slip back, Fortunato went his own way up the gruelling inclines to the finish line.

Most of the time it looked like he was going to cry and vomit simultaneously and at one point an overzealous fan almost knocked him over. (I did not miss dickheads running close to the riders last year when fans weren’t allowed on the climbs.)

The mist on the mountain must have made the appearance of the finishing line look like dream to the Eolo rider but it was real and he got to make a fine victory salute before he fell into his soigneur’s arms.

From the fresh faced winner:

“I want to thank to all of Eolo-Kometa, Luca Spada who is here with me, because without them, I would never have achieved this wonderful result. I came here thinking of getting into breakaways, but I never imagined winning on the Zoncolan.

“But in the car with Stefano Zanatta, Sean Yates, Ivan Basso, and Jesús Hernández, and Alberto [Contador], who is in the team, I think it is the minimum I can do to win this stage, and now we’ll look for others. I’m climbing well, I’m strong, and for sure we will see each other in other stages.”

From a very happy Baby Blackbird. Sounds like he might have done himself an injury.

Understatement from the runner-up Jan Tratnik, not to mention a strong ‘caps not hats’ game.

What were Astana up to?

I can understand a team wanting to make a showing. I can understand a team trying to throw down a gauntlet. Perhaps take the race to the maglia rosa. But I can’t understand what Astana was up to, riding on the front almost the entire stage. Even Bernal was mystified, saying they never asked for help, never tried to join forces to distance the other riders, nothing. Why try to out-Ineos Ineos?

They did get everyone really excited on the descent off the penultimate climb, where the riders were going like the clappers and achieving huge gaps between about 8 riders in front (Vlasov and Bernal included) and everyone else. But it all came back together once the road started to flatten out.

In the end, Ineos got a free ride, so riders were nice and fresh when the final climb loomed into sight – Egan Bernal had four teammates with him, while Aleksandr Vlasov only had two Astana teammates with him, soon to disappear to none. If they were trying to distance Vlasov’s rivals for the second step … oh man, that went so wrong.

Simon PHILIP Yates attacked with a few kilometres to go, cracking the other GC riders, but carrying Bernal along with him. Then Bernal saw his chance, torched off the afterburners and away he went to pick up even more time on everyone else. The big winner in the GC was Yates, jumping to second, and the big loser was Vlasov, who lost over a minute on Bernal and dropped to fourth place.

While behind them …

The final word


Stage 14 Top 5 


1 Lorenzo Fortunato (Eolo-Kometa) 5:17:22

2 Jan Tratnik (Bahrain Victorious) +0:26

3 Alessandro Covi (UAE Team Emirates) +0:59

4 Egan Bernal (INEOS Grenadiers) +1:43

5 Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo) +1:47

GC Top 10 


1 Egan Bernal Gomez (INEOS Grenadiers) 58:30:47

2 Simon Yates (BikeExchange) +1:33

3 Damiano Caruso (Bahrain Victorious) +1:51

4 Aleksandr Vlasov (Astana-Premier Tech) +1:57

5 Hugh Carthy (EF Education-Nippo) +2:11

6 Emanuel Buchmann (BORA-hansgrohe) +2:36

7 Giulio Ciccone (Trek-Segafredo) +3:03

8 Remco Evenepoel (Deceuninck-Quick Step) +3:52

9 Daniel Martinez (Ineos Grenadiers) +3:54

10 Romain Bardet (Team DSM) +4:31

All the jerseys

Leader’s jersey Egan Bernal (INEOS Grenadiers)

Points jersey Peter Sagan (BORA-hansgrohe)

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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