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.
Let the records show that Stage 18 of the Giro d’Italia was taken in fine style by Alberto Bettiol of EF Education-Nippo. The Italian on the US team made it into the 23-man break on the longest stage of the race, attacked with panache over the four climbs in the finale, and soloed over the line in pure, unadulterated joy to take his first victory on home soil. Rather fittingly, considering the race organisers might have laughingly labelled this is a sprint stage, Simone Consonni (Cofidis) revved it up to take second place from Team DSM’s indefatigable Nicolas Roche. The peloton were led over the line, and indeed for most of the 180km after the break went away, by Filippo Ganna (INEOS) some 23 minutes later. There is no change in podium positions with Egan Bernal (INEOS) still in pink and still facing the mountains in the next two stages.
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! Continue reading