Giro d'Italia stage 14 analysis: Ineos domination

Ineos Grenadiers
Ineos Grenadiers (Image credit: Getty Images)

If it wasn’t already obvious that Egan Bernal was the rider to beat in the 2021 Giro d'Italia, the Colombian reinforced his position long before the slopes of the Monte Zoncolan on stage 14 of the race. On the descent of the Forcella di Monte Rest, with 48km to go, when Astana pushed the pace at the front on the downhill they split the peloton for a period, and it was Bernal and his teammate Jonathan Castroviejo who latched onto the back of the seven rider group. For seven kilometres, the four Astana riders, including Aleksandr Vlasov, were tailed by the Ineos Grenadiers duo, and Bahrain Victorious rider Pello Bilbao, and held a gap of around 15 seconds over the rest behind.

Ultimately, the move came to nothing, and the peloton regrouped in the valley before the climb up the Zoncolan. But it was telling that Bernal was the only GC contender who reacted instantly to the danger the Kazakh team posed. And even though the gap was never that sizeable, other teams such as Deceuninck-QuickStep and EF Education-Nippo were still forced to chase to close it down, burning up teammates before the Zoncolan had even reared into view. Bernal, as well as his Ineos teammates, could sit in, save energy and enjoy the ride. 

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Sophie Hurcom is Procycling’s deputy editor. She joined the magazine in 2017, after working at Cycling Weekly where she started on work experience before becoming a sub editor, and then news and features writer. Prior to that, she graduated from City University London with a Masters degree in magazine journalism. Sophie has since reported from races all over the world, including multiple  Tours de France, where she was thrown in at the deep end by making her race debut in 2014 on the stage that Chris Froome crashed out on the Roubaix cobbles.