The shining star on a dusty day across the dirt roads in Tuscany was Mauro Schmid of Qhubeka Assos, who won a two-rider sprint against Alessandro Covi (UAE Team Emirates) from the breakaway to win stage 11 of the Giro d’Italia, his first victory as a professional.
Stage 11 was also about limiting losses in the general classification shuffle, which was dominated by Egan Bernal (Ineos Grenadiers) as he conquered the four sectors of sterrato over the final 70 kilometres and extended his overall lead.
Remco Evenepoel (Deceuninck-QuickStep), who started the day in Perugia in second place overall, lost a chunk of time after being unable to hold the pace on the second stretch of gravel. When he finally rolled across the uphill finish in Montalcino in 26th position, the 21-year-old had slipped five places and is 2:22 behind Bernal.
Aleksandr Vlasov (Astana-Premier Tech) takes over the runner-up spot from Evenepoel and is the only rider within a minute of Bernal, 45 seconds back. Damiano Caruso (Bahrain Victorious) is now in third at 1:12. Hugh Carthy (EF Education-Nippo) is fourth, 1:16 back, followed by Simon Yates (BikeExchange) in fifth.
But it was another 21-year-old who grabbed a taste of glory on Wednesday, as the Giro resumed following the first rest day. Schmid and Covi were part of an 11-rider breakaway from just outside the start in Perugia, led by Dries De Bondt (Alpecin-Fenix).
From the small group, who stretched their lead to more than 13 minutes at one point, Schmid, Covi and De Bondt attacked again to form a threesome, from which De Bondt was dropped with less than 5km to go. Schmid then had to out-sprint Covi in the final 200 metres on the uphill finish.
Behind the pair, the GC riders crossed the line in ones and twos, Bernal taking more control and the battle for pink more defined as the Giro passes its halfway point.
Watch the Giro d'Italia stage 11 highlights video above.
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