Giro d’Italia 2021 : Stage 16 – Bernal takes no prisoners on the Princess stage

Stage 16 of this year’s Giro should have been the Queen Stage. However, due to weather concerns and a meeting between the organisers and the riders, the stage was cut to 155km and only two classified climbs, instead of four. Bad flying conditions meant that the TV transmitters were not in place to relay the race pictures, so we were tantalised with only 4G patches. The last rider we saw on the mountain was Egan Bernal attacking out of a GC group. The first rider we saw come round to the finish line was the same. And the GC group had quite the shake-up.

How it went down

I’m not going to go into why the race was shortened or why we didn’t get pictures (too boring, too shrill on Twitter, too many cycling fans who double as helicopter pilots).

Quite simply, this was the race on the day. 

The stage was cut to this:


A ginormous break went free, but then, at some point that we didn’t see, it split into six riders, including Vincenzo Nibali, Joao Almeida and Davide Formolo (among others) that made a quick getaway from the chasing group. None of them stayed out in front the whole race …

Ineos Grenadiers were on the front of the peloton. But EF had a dream … Hugh Carthy looked out the window to the cold, torrential rain before breakfast and said ‘we can win the Giro today’. The EF plan was a good one, as they came to the front with 50km to go. Tejay Van Garderen and Alberto Bettiol shredded the break’s gap and dropped a good many of the peloton to the cold, wet gruppetto.

As they got closer to the Passo Gaiu, the peloton got smaller and smaller until it was no longer a peloton, but the maglia rosa group. Which had only six riders left: EF’s Simon Carr riding with Hugh Carthy, Egan Bernal with Dani Martinez, and domestique-less contenders Romain Bardet (Team DSM), Simon PHILIP Yates (Bike Exchange), Guilio Ciccone (Trek-Segafredo), and Damiano Caruso (Bahrain-Victorious).

Once on the climb, the TV coverage became patchier … just when it was getting REALLY good!

The last thing we saw before the finish line was Egan Bernal attacking and going free, while the remaining riders must have thought, ‘Oh maaaaaan …

We watched crowd shots at the finish line and mist over the mountains as we kept tabs on the time gaps on the descent to the finish. Bardet was FLYING. Yates was standing still. Caruso was riding himself to the second step of the GC podium.

And then we saw this – a gesture that was very well-received by fans who love the Giro.


That Bernal had the presence of mind – and the balance – to take off a soaking wet rain cape and put it in the back of his jersey so that he could cross the line with the maglia rosa on display. #Class


But what does it mean?

So what happened to the rest of the GC?

Damiano Caruso and Romain Bardet came in second and third on the stage. Caruso took over the second step of the GC podium (Yates was MIA, ending up slipping from 2nd to 5th in the GC) and Bardet jumped from 9th to 7th. There was a lovely moment between the two riders as they were crossing the line. They had ridden the descent together and they both made it! Later, Bardet said that he hadn’t realised he came in second … so even the riders couldn’t see what was going on!

Hugh Carthy didn’t win the Giro today, but he certainly got the party started and he moved up to 3rd overall, 3:40 down from Bernal. And what does he have to lose? Here’s betting we’ll see more EF fireworks the rest of the week.

All those rain jackets … my worst nightmare is seeing a rider get the jacket sleeve in their wheel. Luckily, there were no pictures of the exact thing happening to Aleksandr Vlasov. He loses time on Bernal (he’s at 4:18 from 1.57 this morning) but he is still in fourth place.

Remco Evenepoel had a mare of a day – well and truly out of the running, but says he’ll carry on to help Joao Almeida – maybe now they’ll go back to chasing stages.

Almeida goes back into the Top 10 after his solid ride today.

The ones who didn’t do so well

Simon Yates also had a mare of a day, although not as bad as Evenepoel. He was ‘riding a few bike lengths off the back’ of the maglia rosa group – the commentators kindly wondering if that’s ‘just his way’. (I don’t get the whole riding in the back by choice thing …). It was clear quite quickly that he did not have diamonds in his legs today. He lost minutes to Bernal today, dropping to 5th place and 4.20 down.

The big question: Where was the squeegee?!

You have to hand it to George Bennett

The last word


Stage 16 Top 5 

1 Egan Bernal (Ineos Grenadiers) 4:22:41

2 Romain Bardet (Team DSM) +0:27

3 Damiano Caruso (Bahrain Victorious) same time

4 Guilio Ciccone (Trek-Segafredo) +1:18

5 Hugh Carthy (EF Education-Nippo) +1:19

GC Top 10 

1 Egan Bernal (INEOS Grenadiers) 66:36:04

2 Damiano Caruso (Bahrain Victorious) +1:51

3 Hugh Carthy (EF Education-Nippo) +3:40

4 Aleksandr Vlasov (Astana-Premier Tech) +4:18

5 Simon Yates (BikeExchange) +4:20

6 Giulio Ciccone (Trek-Segafredo) +4:31

7 Romain Bardet (Team DSM) +5:02

8 Daniel Martinez (Ineos Grenadiers) +7:17

9 Tobias Floss (Jumbo-Visma) +8:20

10 Joao Almeida (Deceuninck-QuickStep) 10:01

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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