The Montalcino stage 11 at the Giro d'Italia lived up to expectations, with dramatic twists and turns in which the overall standings completely changed. By the time the dust settled the race had been split to pieces, with Egan Bernal (Ineos Grenadiers) stamping his authority on the race to extend his lead over all of his main rivals.
The 2019 Tour de France winner used his team on each of the four key dirt road sectors within the stage to crack several of his rivals, with Remco Evenepoel (Deceuninck-QuickStep), Giulio Ciccone (Trek-Segafredo), Daniel Martin (Israel Start-Up Nation), Simon Yates and a host of other names losing time to the maglia rosa.
Only Emanuel Buchmann (Bora-Hansgrohe) was able to hold onto Bernal when the Ineos rider attacked on the Passo del Lume Spento, with the German having wisely anticipated the move with an attack of his own lower down the final climb.
Bernal crossed the line in 11th place, 3;09 down on stage winner Mauro Schmid (Qhubeka Assos) but he put three seconds into Buchmann after beating him in a sprint for the line. Those three seconds paled into comparison to some of the other challengers and the time they conceded. Aleksandr Vlasov (Astana-Premier Tech) lost 23 seconds on the line and moved into second overall with Damiano Caruso (Bahrain Victorious), Simon Yates (BikeExchange), Tobias Foss (Jumbo-Visma) and Hugh Carthy (EF-Nippo) finishing in a group that a bit further back but splintered before the line.
Evenepoel’s overall challenge took a significant hit and the young Belgian struggled on every one of the four dirt sectors. He fought back having been dropped on the first stretch to Buonconvento but he was distanced for good on the penultimate sector with around 18km to go. At one point, he tore off his ear-piece and it took an age for his teammate João Almeida to drop back and help him but, despite holding the maglia rosa group to a minute for so long the Giro debutant would eventually lose 2:08 to Bernal and drop to seventh at 2:22.
Ciccone and Trek were well placed until the final tarmac climb but first Nibali and then his teammate cracked before the summit. Ciccone now sits eighth, at 2:24, while Nibali conceded yet more time and is over four minutes down having virtually sacrificed himself for Ciccone on the first sector of dirt roads.
Martin and Davide Formolo (UAE Team Emirates) lost over six minutes and are now clinging onto top-20 positions.
Foss and Buchmann saw their GC hopes dramatically improve. The German rider missed the first split when Ineos set a furious pace into the initial sector but once he regained contact with the leaders he looked comfortable and was the first rider to put in a significant attack. He is now at sixth overall at 1:50 having climbed nine places. Foss also climbed nine places in the standings and is 9th at 2:49.
The day, in terms of the overall standings, belonged to Bernal who extended what was a 14-second lead over Evenepoel to almost a minute over his nearest challenger. The Colombian was present and accounted for at every key moment in the race and had the power to attack over the final climb to distance what was left of a struggling group.
At the finish his boss Dave Brailsford, who has been absent all year when he and his team faced so many important questions relating to Dr Richard Freeman and UKAD charges, took centre stage to bask in Bernal’s glory.
"He's showing why everybody got so excited about him a couple years ago and obviously went on to win the Tour and had a little bit of a difficult time after that," Brailsford said. "He's come back and he's shown when you have that much class as a rider, you might have your ups and downs but you never lose it. He's shown once again just how good he is. He's worked really, really hard and sacrificed a lot over the last 12 months in particular, since the Tour last year."
|Pos.||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Egan Bernal Gomez (Col) Ineos Grenadiers|
|2||Aleksandr Vlasov (Rus) Astana-Premier Tech||0:00:45|
|3||Damiano Caruso (Ita) Bahrain Victorious||0:01:12|
|4||Hugh Carthy (GBr) EF Education-Nippo||0:01:17|
|5||Simon Yates (GBr) Team BikeExchange||0:01:22|
|6||Emanuel Buchmann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe||0:01:50|
|7||Remco Evenepoel (Bel) Deceuninck-QuickStep||0:02:22|
|8||Giulio Ciccone (Ita) Trek-Segafredo||0:02:24|
|9||Tobias Foss (Nor) Jumbo-Visma||0:02:49|
|10||Daniel Martinez Poveda (Col) Ineos Grenadiers||0:03:15|
|11||Marc Soler (Spa) Movistar Team||0:03:19|
|12||Romain Bardet (Fra) Team DSM||0:03:29|
|13||Attila Valter (Hun) Groupama-FDJ||0:03:51|
|14||Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Trek-Segafredo||0:04:11|
|15||Gianni Moscon (Ita) Ineos Grenadiers||0:04:25|
|17||João Almeida (Por) Deceuninck-QuickStep||0:07:04|
|18||Daniel Martin (Irl) Israel Start-up Nation||0:07:06|
|19||Davide Formolo (Ita) UAE Team Emirates||0:07:16|
|20||Pello Bilbao Lopez De Armentia (Spa) Bahrain Victorious||0:07:23|
|22||Jai Hindley (Aus) Team DSM||0:07:55|
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Daniel Benson is the Editor in Chief at both Cyclingnews.com and BikePerfect.com. Based in the UK, he has worked within cycling for almost 15 years, and he joined the Cyclingnews team in 2008 as the site's first UK-based Managing Editor. In that time, he has reported on over a dozen editions of the Tour de France, several World Championships, the Tour Down Under, Spring Classics, and the London 2012 Olympic Games. With the help of the excellent editorial team, he runs the coverage on Cyclingnews and has interviewed leading figures in the sport including UCI Presidents and Tour de France winners.
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