Giro d’Italia 2021 : Stage 20 – Caruso solos to stage win, Ineos untroubled

Stage 20 of the Giro d’Italia didn’t deliver any GC fireworks but we were treated to a win for Bahrain-Victorious’s Damiano Caruso. The man who came to support Mikel Landa swapped his bridesmaid’s dress for a full bridal gown (with bouquet!) and soloed to victory, cementing his podium place in the process. Some huge turns from Ineos’s super-domestiques ensured that Egan Bernal was safe and sound. It’s all but certain he’ll be on the top step of the podium when the Giro finishes tomorrow.

Executive Summary

Lot’s happened but very little changed.

That’s kinda all you need to know about this stage.

For all the pre-race talk, the QuickStep Wolfpack were placid and the Bike Exchange challenge was flaccid. If it weren’t for Caruso going up the road, Egan Bernal (Ineos) would have had nothing to worry about at all.

The Colombian goes into the final time trial with a 1’59 lead over second-placed Caruso and well over three minutes on Simon PHILIP Yates (Bike Exchange). Barring disaster, Bernal will take his second grand tour win in Milan tomorrow. But …

Look it’s the invisible man!

It’s been a running joke for the past week, Damiano Caruso in the podium places of the Giro without being seen once. Genuinely I hadn’t a clue how he got there. I’ve never seen him attack, I can’t even remember seeing him in the same camera shot at Bernal. But, by extreme stealth, he found his way up to second place.

Today we saw him – lots of him! Spurred on by his mighty teammate Pello Bilbao, he followed Romain Bardet and his DSM musketeers as they put in a mammoth attack to make the most of the long descent of the first climb. That attack produced a 40-second gap on the maglia rosa group before the penultimate climb of the day.

The Bahrain-Bardet-Breakway group whittled itself down until we were left with just Bilbao, Caruso and Bardet. When Bilbao had had enough his teammate (no stranger to doing the hard graft for others) gave him a rather touching pat on the back. [we loved that – ed]. It was then just Bardet and Caruso on the final climb, with no one in the tiny maglia rosa group able to attack the Martinez/Bernal duo on the front.

Bardet cracked with 2kms to go and even though Martinez was bringing the gap down with every hairpin, Caruso kept his nerve – and his legs – and went under the flamme rouge with 20sec in hand. By this point, Bernal took off on his own, to claim second.


It’s been a long time coming

The Italian has been a professional rider since 2009 but has never won a world tour race. His palmares shows a good few second places but no top steps. It’s not surprising, he’s been a domestique all his professional life. He’s looked after the likes of Richie Porte, Ivan Basso and Peter Sagan. That’s a textbook definition of “thankless task” and “all the work, none of the glory”.

Caruso came to this Giro to shepherd Mikel Landa around but has ended up winning a stage and has one foot on the final podium. Funny how life turns out.

When life gives you lemons

So the racing wasn’t as ferocious as we hoped? No worries, there are always things to look at along the roadside. No tractors in the mountains, but there were men in lederhosen doing some synchronised running.

[I’m putting in this picture of Larry Warbasse because … he’s smiling and we love him – ed]

The final word

Normally this section is reserved for a witty aside or a deeper nugget… today I’m giving it to THE star of the show


Stage 20 Top 5 

1 Damiano Caruso (Bahrain-Actually Victorious) 4:27:53

2 Egan Bernal (Ineos-Domestiques-R-Us) +0:24

3 Daniel Martinez (Ineos-SeeAbove) +0:35

4 Romain Bardet (Team BDSM) same time

5 Joao Almeida (Deceuninck-WrongHorse) +0:41

GC Top 10 

1 Egan Bernal (Ineos Grenadiers) 85:41:47

2 Damiano Caruso (Bahrain Victorious) +1:59

3 Simon Yates (Team BikeExchange) +3:23

4 Aleksandr Vlasov (Astana-Premier Tech) +7:07

5 Romain Bardet (Team DSM) +7:48

6 Daniel Martinez (Ineos Grenadiers) +7:56

5 Hugh Carthy (EF Education-Nippo) +8:22

8 João Almeida (Deceuninck-QuickStep) +8:50

9 Tobias Foss (Jumbo-Visma) +12:39

10 Dan Martin (Israel Start Up Nation) +16:48

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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