Giro d’Italia 2021 : Stage 19 – Yates takes stage, Bernal holds his own

Coming into the last weekend of this year’s Giro d’Italia 2021, the rerouted Stage 19 with its summit finish was always going to be a tense affair with (we hoped) aggressive riding. And that is exactly what we got. With Deceuninck-QuickStep, all in for Joao Almeida, and Bike Exchange, all in for Simon Yates, alternating putting down the pain, it was definitely a day of reckoning. By the end of the stage, it was Yates who took the solo win, with Almeida coming second, and maglia rosa Egan Bernal rolled in third, limiting his losses to 28sec. Yates is now 2.29 behind Bernal, but only 20sec away from Bahrain’s Damiano Caruso‘s second step on the podium. The GC top 10 stays the same.

The BEX Express comin’ down the tracks

Just as they did on Wednesday, BikeExchange took the race to Ineos Grenadiers and the maglia rosa on the back of Egan Bernal. They did have a lot of help from Deceuninck-QuickStep and by the time the peloton overtook the break (which never was going to do the distance anyway), it was a select group of GC men.

As the hairpins of the final climb of Alpe di Mera combined with the hard riding of BEX and DQS to become the perfect winnowing machine, it was Joao Almeida who made the first attack, an attack followed by Simon Yates, but ignored by Bernal and his Ineos super-domestiques, Castroviejo and Martinez. The Ineos riders did a brilliant job containing attacks and ensuring that when they both had peeled off, Bernal was with only Almeida and Caruso, having dropped Hugh Carthy (EF), Romain Bardet (DSM) and Dan Martin (Israel Start-Up).

But Yates was 30sec up the road by that time.

Bernal kept his cool and limited his losses, Almedia came in second on the stage and Caruso lost a bit of time but not his podium step (yet). But it was Simon Yates who hit the jackpot – well, more like a good win on the slots – by winning the stage with power and throwing down the gauntlet for tomorrow’s much tougher stage.

Almeida shines

I’m not someone who endlessly speculates what might have happened if [state disaster] didn’t happen to [pick a name], but with Joao Almeida riding so well in the mountains, he must be thinking about what might have happened if he hadn’t lost time in the first week, if DQS hadn’t put all their eggs in Evenepoel’s basket. But no matter where he lands by the end of the stage on Sunday, his talent has shown through. It will be wonderful to watch him develop into a grand tour champion in the next few years.

Colombian cool

So has Egan Bernal’s back pain returned? There’s been a lot of conjecture – obviously he’s not going to blurt that out at a post-stage presser – but he has had some tough days in the mountains and tomorrow will not be any easier. That he didn’t panic – no matter the reason why he couldn’t match Yates or Almeida – was a supreme performance of utter cool.

And tomorrow?

And as exciting as Yates attack and stage win might have been (especially to the commentators), he still has to make up nearly 3 minutes before he makes his threat a reality to the maglia rosa. That said, with only 20 seconds between Caruso and Yates, we might see a step swap in Stage 20 if Yates can keep performing this well.


The stage reroute today was necessitated by the cable-car tragedy last week on Mottarone. It was announced before the stage that the teams and riders donated all the prize money for Stage 19 to the families of the victims of the crash. Chapeau.


The final word


Stage 19 Top 5 

1 Simon Yates (Team Bike Exchange) 4:02:55

2 Joao Almeida (Deceuninck-QuickStep) +0:11

3 Egan Bernal (Ineos Grenadiers) +0:28

4 Damiano Caruso (Bahrain Victorious) +0:32

5 Aleksandr Vlasov (Astana-Premier Tech) same time

GC Top 10 

1 Egan Bernal (Ineos Grenadiers) 81:13:37

2 Damiano Caruso (Bahrain Victorious) +2:29

3 Simon Yates (Team BikeExchange) +2:49

4 Aleksandr Vlasov (Astana-Premier Tech) +6:11

5 Hugh Carthy (EF Education-Nippo) +7:10

6 Romain Bardet (Team DSM) +7:32

7 Daniel Martinez (Ineos Grenadiers) +7:42

8 João Almeida (Deceuninck-QuickStep) +8:26

9 Tobias Foss (Jumbo-Visma) +10:19

10 Dan Martin (Israel Start Up Nation) +13:55

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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