Giro d’Italia 2021 : Stage 21 – Ganna takes the stage; Bernal takes trophy

Filippo Ganna (INEOS Grenadiers) triumphed at his 4th consecutive Giro d’Italia time trial. Not even a late puncture and bike change could keep the World Champion from the top step of the podium. In truth, it would have been a heck of lot closer, and peut-etre even a second place, if his nearest rival Remi Cavagna (Deceuninck Quick Step) hadn’t completely misjudged a corner to fly off into the barriers!!  Egan Bernal (INEOS-Grenadiers) paced it perfectly in pink to take possession of the most beautiful trophy in all of cycling on his debut Giro. Bahrain-Victorious’ Damiano Caruso cruised around to solidify his marvellous second place and Simon Yates (BikeExchange) held on to his third. Aleksandr Vlasov (Astana) stayed in forth, while Dani Martinez (INEOS Grenadiers) and Joao Almeida moved up to finish 5th and 6th respectively.

The stage

All those corners and a section of cobbledyness at the end. Our Luke was right, it was a tester.

I’m not sure anyone expected the chaos and drama.

First: just as Filippo Ganna was cruising at superspeed and surely heading for a stupendous time, he suffers a rear flat and has to have a bike change.

The team made it happen in smooth timely fashion, but still, precious seconds were lost.

Enter: The TGV of Time Trialling™, the French National Champion and a man gunning for the sliver of a chance Ganna left him. It was close, REALLY CLOSE. Rene Cavagna was taking ALL OF THE RISKS when this happened!! He completely misjudged one of the last corners. Didn’t see it coming and rode straight on into the barriers.

For those that missed it – Luke is right

A little later on, there appeared to be several riders and many many team cars entering the final corner at the same time. How Astana’s Matteo Sobrero stayed on his bike I don’t know. The near miss must have cost him seconds as he was running into a great finishing position.

Last: The final stage of Giro 2021 goes to Filippo Ganna, a beast on the time trial bike, and teammate extraordinaire

In praise of the pink

The last three times the Giro d’Italia has finished with a TT in Milan, the race leader had their heart broken. But not today. Today Egan Bernal rode around with all the aplomb of a man destined for Giro greatness. Sure, Damiano Caruso gained some time on him but his lead was never in danger.

I’ve loved his racing. Loved his ferociousness and ruthlessness. I will never forget him on stage 9 when he flew up that gravelled summit finish, when he battled Remco Evenepoel (Deceuninck Quick Step) for a couple of seconds at an intermediate sprint. Loved his vulnerability, those moments where his strength wobbled and yet he stayed calm beyond his years as his team rallied and brought him through.

Two pictures stick in my memory. First the sterrata stage with Bernal whizzing along behind a rampant Ganna. If you haven’t read Kathi’s write up, do it NOW.

Second, Dani Martinez shouting him up the final climb on stage 17

Most of all I LOVE his passion and respect for this race.

I want to win the Giro d’Italia.

The words Egan Bernal when he arrived in Italy as a young rider.

You can see it when he races. On his two stage victories, his countless podiums as holder of the race lead and as best young rider. It’s there when he was fighting to defend his lead. The Queen Stage in the mist that we never saw – when he emerged and made sure to take his rain jacket off so he could have his victory with his beloved maglia rosa on show.  His absolute awe when he was handed the Amore Infinito, his words post race. No wonder the tifosi adore him.

The best surprise

In a Giro that has thrown up many surprises, perhaps the best on all is to see Damiano Caruso take a podium at his home Grand Tour. The man stepped up when team leader Mikel Landa had to abandon and rode the race of his life. Tip of the hat, Sir!!

All the other jerseys


The points jersey, usually fought over by the fast men. Tim Merlier gave Giro debutantes Alpecin-Fenix a stage winning start. Lotto Soudal’s Caleb Ewan got his arms in the air twice. Fans around the world celebrated when Giacomo Nizzolo (UAE-Team Emirates) finally took his maiden Giro victory after so many podium places. All three wore the beautiful jersey over the course of Giro. But to take it home you have to ride all 21 stages, and that played into Peter Sagan‘s staying power strengths. The BORA-hansgrohe man took a win, a fine for intimidation, and gave us wheelie on a mountain stage for good measure.

All in all, he should be happy and might even have sorted out his future team over the last three weeks (although we learned that would *not* be Deceuninck QuickStep).

King of the Mountains

Geoffrey Bouchard (AG2R Citroen) may have been annoyed about missing his chance for a memorable victory on stage 9 into Campo Felici, but I hope the stepping up to be crowned King of the Mountains in Milan tonight will make up for it.

The first Frenchman to take this jersey since Laurent Fignon and on his first Giro! Once he took the maglia azzurra he put everything into keeping it. Out in the break day after day to mop up the points on offer. A proper VeloVoices KOM winner.

Team Classification goes to INEOS-Grenadiers. However, it wasn’t total domination with both Trek-Segafredo and Team DSM taking the lead in the last seven stages. Movistar didn’t even make the top five – shocker!!!

The Giro and its many prizes

The Intermediate Sprint and Combativity prizes go to Dries de Bondt of Alpecin-Fenix – thhey have had a fabulous three weeks. When the Belgian National Champion wasn’t running lead-outs for Tim Merlier, he was up the road every chance he got. I salute the endeavour.

As I do Simon Pellaud of Androni-Giocattoli Sidermec – Breakaway KING of the Giro d’Italia. For a team that prides itself of being up the road at every possible opportunity, the Swiss man is a dream rider for them. He has spent 998km riding in the break

This is what it’s like to fuel up for those breakaway days

Last thoughts

3450km and 47,000m of climbing, spread over two, ITTs, seven big mountain days, six hilly stages, five flat stages and one magnificent gravel stage. 

14 teams with a stage win, and some big names with not much to show to show for three weeks of work. I mean, who would have expected Qhubeka Assos to come away with three stage victories?

And Deceuninck QuickStep to leave empty handed. King Kelly gave his thoughts on the wisdom of teams putting their eggs into one basket, and you have to wonder about the Evenepoel versus Almeida decision.

18 different stage winners, each of them with their own special joy. I can’t go through them all, or even begin to pick one – although my beloved Wanty Gobert Intermarche taking one will ALWAYS make me smile. However, Issie does a fantastic job in this thread. Take the time and relive those special days… 

The final words


Stage 20 Top 5 

1 Filippo Ganna (INEOS -Grenadiers) 33:48

2 Remi Cavagna (Deceuninck Quick Step) +0:12

3 Edoardo Affini (Jumbo -Visma) +0.13

4 Matteo Sobrero (Astana) +0.14

5 Joao Almeida (Deceuninck Quick Step) +0:27

GC Top 10 

1 Egan Bernal (Ineos Grenadiers) 86:17:28

2 Damiano Caruso (Bahrain Victorious) +1:29

3 Simon Yates (Team BikeExchange) +4.15

4 Aleksandr Vlasov (Astana-Premier Tech) +6:40

5  Daniel Martinez (Ineos Grenadiers) +7:24

6 João Almeida (Deceuninck-QuickStep) +7:24

7 Romain Bardet (Team DSM) +8:05

8 Hugh Carthy (EF Education-Nippo) +8:56

9 Tobias Foss (Jumbo-Visma) +11:44

10 Dan Martin (Israel Start Up Nation) +18:35

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

Leave a Reply