Giro d’Italia 2021 : Stage 17 – Martin gets his GT hat-trick; chaos for GC

Phew! Where shall any of us begin when discussing Stage 17 of the 104th Giro d’Italia? I have had more than an hour and a half to ponder this question, and I can confidently say that I still have not the slightest clue! So much happened inside the final 20km that the mind blurs it together into one big, hot mess of awesome racing. So let’s start where we always start stories like this: with the winner. Israel Start-Up Nation’s Dan Martin took a solo win, despite all odds stacked against him, to complete his grand tour hat-trick atop the Sega di Ala.

Mentioning his win does not even begin to scrape the slightest dribble of ice from the iceberg. Chaos reigned supreme in the group of GC favourites with scintillating teams tactics, downhill crashes, and the first moment of weakness from race leader Egan Bernal. The flaunty Colombian retains the maglia rosa, but today’s spicy racing lit a flame of hope that everything is still to play for in this third week of racing!

Winner, Winner. . .Irish Butter(?)

Before we get into all the nervy bits concerning the GC boys, I want to talk about Dan Martin. I don’t think I have ever come across someone who doesn’t the lanky Irishman. He’s a wonderful family man, and a stupendous bicycle rider. He wears his heart on his sleeve (which is, admittedly, hard to see currently on that wine-colored jersey) and the effort he puts into those pedals is painfully visible by his classic facial expression and swinging body movements.

He was criticised this time last week for losing chunks of time over the gravel. He later said that he’d promised his wife that he wouldn’t crash that day and opted to ride it at his own speed to keep safe. While that choice might have buried any hopes of a high GC finish, it seems that it has worked out for him in the long run.

What’s really impressive about his ride is the perseverance he kept throughout the final climb. With BikeExchange, then Astana, and ultimately Quickstep [yes, Quickstep – ed] piling coal into the furnace throughout the day, the breakaway’s chance never looked very promising. Our man Dan kept chipping away at it, and proved yet again that no one should ever discount the determination of the riders in the break.

Team Tactics Galore!

The day was packed with what should and can only be described as bewildering tactics from a range of teams. So many teams, in fact, that I have decided to break them down by team to unpack each one’s absurdity!


Ah, yes. . . BikeExchange. The team of Simon Yates (or is it Adam? We’re still not sure here in the Towers). With the always-reliable GC contenders, this Aussie-based team opted to take it to the Ineos Grenadiers early today. What they were expecting to get out if it is something that no one knows, but hey, the #CouchPeloton needs a reason to be awake, right?!

Even our resident Aussie was confused!

In typical BikeExchange fashion, they disappeared from the front when the racing really got heated. Pro tip: click through and read Belinda’s entire BEX thread as it’s far better than I can explain here.


Astana. . . The Kazaks. The team that no one is really sure how to feel about. Do we like Vino, do we not like Vino? Nobody knows! Similarly, nobody knows what they were doing today in terms of tactics.

In true Movistar fashion, Astana went to the front for their man Vlasov, only for Vlasov to be. . . off the back just moments later.


We all know that QuickStep playing the role of a GC team is an existential question in its own right, but it seems to be even more confusing who or what they’re riding for nowadays, considering Remco Evenepoel is out of the running and Joao Almeida is out of podium contention.

While we’re on QuickStep, let’s all spare a thought for poor Remco. He came into this race with massive pressure and (unrealistic) expectations on his shoulders and it just keeps getting worse. He took a nasty tumble today involving a guardrail, but somehow managed to do a barrel roll and stuck the landing!

Stay Safe, For Goodness Sake!

The crash shown above was a nasty one in the GC group. Everyone appeared to walk away from it relatively unscathed, but it did take down fan favorite Giulio Ciccone.

Thankfully, Ciccone was able to get back on his bike quickly and finished the stage. He lost a fair chunk of time in terms of the fight for the overall, but our little leg spinner survived to fight another day!

Man Your Battle Stations, GC Hopes!

Okay, let’s all take a breather here. Go grab your cuppa tea and a biscuit. Now, buckle up because we’re about to head into choppy waters!

Just as everyone thought that the maglia rosa was sewn up nice and neat on Egan Bernal‘s shoulders as the race approached the final few days, excitement struck! And get this. . . it was brought on by BikeExchange and Quickstep! It all began at the base of the final climb, where Joao Almeida brought fire to the party.

Not too long thereafter, a chink in the armour of Bernal and the Death Star began to widen. Yates attacked and Bernal lost the wheel. And got gapped. Twitter was unprepared and failed to have the defibrillators on standby.

Once Bernal was distanced, Simon Yates joined Almeida is his rampage of goodness. Dani Martinez hung back to play the role of Teammate of the Race™ for Bernal, and a new bromance formed. . .albeit perhaps an aggressive one.

Meanwhile back on the Twitterverse, we all struggled to wrap our minds around what exactly was coming through our television sets.

Up ahead, Yates and Almeida joined forces to move up the general classification. Bernal had a healthy advantage of more than two minutes at the start of the stage from Damiano Caruso and more than 4min on Yates, but today’s finish was about setting up for the rest of the week to come!

Where The GC Stands

While the maglia rosa didn’t swap shoulders today, time was lost and gained today. The big winner was Simon Yates (somehow) who nabbed Hugh Carthy’s 3rd place for his 5th; and Egan Bernal was certainly one of the losers on the day, even though he didn’t lose a great deal of time. If Bernal doesn’t buy Caruso a drink (or a vineyard) for working with him and Martinez to limit the damage, then Caruso should sue!

For a succinct summary of how the general classification has shifted throughout this race, our friends at El Tio Del Dato have put together this handy graphic!

Who Won, Again?

There’s an incalculable amount to unpack regarding the GC shakeup from today’s stage, but I want to close out the review with talking some more about Dan Martin. While today’s stage will likely be talked about Bernal, it really ought to be about Martin’s victory.

Dan has a thing for pandas, it seems. He won Liege-Bastogne-Liege a number of years back after being chased by a panda. Today, a panda found itself on the roadway as Dan soared towards his victory.

The Final Words

Okay, all, you have really outdone yourselves today in terms of tweeting. There were so many great options for The Final Word that I have decided I can only narrow it down to these three and no further.


Stage 17 Top 5 

1 Daniel Martin (Israel Start-up Nation) 4:54:38

2 João Almeida (Deceuninck-QuickStep) +0:13

3 Simon Yates (Team BikeExchange) +0:30

4 Diego Ulissi (UAE Team Emirates) +1:20

5 Damiano Caruso (Bahrain Victorious) +1:20

GC Top 10 

1 Egan Bernal (Ineos Grenadiers) 71:32:05

2 Damiano Caruso (Bahrain Victorious) +2:21

3 Simon Yates (Team BikeExchange) +3:23 Up from 5th

4 Aleksandr Vlasov (Astana-Premier Tech) +6:03

5 Hugh Carthy (EF Education-Nippo) +6:09 Down from 3rd

6 Romain Bardet (Team DSM) +6:31 Up from 7th

7 Daniel Martinez (Ineos Grenadiers) +7:17 Up from 8th

8 João Almeida (Deceuninck-QuickStep) +8:45 Up from 10th

9 Tobias Foss (Jumbo-Visma) +9:18

10 Giulio Ciccone (Trek-Segafredo) +11:26 Down from 6th

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 the full race review, go to cyclingnews 

Go here for the official Giro website

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