Giro d'Italia: Bernal shows weakness on the Sega di Ala as Dan Martin wins stage

Dan Martin (Israel Start-Up Nation) won alone atop the Sega di Ala climb, high above Lake Garda, on stage 17 of the Giro d'Italia as behind him Egan Bernal (Ineos Grenadiers) suffered on the steep climb and lost 53 seconds to Simon Yates (Team BikeExchange), perhaps reopening the battle for the maglia rosa and final overall victory. 

Martin has now won stages in all three Grand Tours. He had to fight for this victory, going in the early break down the valley from Canazei, then distancing most of the early break on the first major climb before surging away on the steep climb to Sega di Ala. 

Bernal and Ineos Grenadiers seemed in control all stage and looked set to even catch Martin, but then Bernal suddenly faded when Yates attacked with three kilometres to go. The Colombian even struggled to hold the wheel of teammate Dani Martinez as Yates and João Almeida (Deceuninck-QuickStep) rode away from them.

Fortunately for Bernal, Aleksandr Vlasov (Astana-Premier Tech) and Hugh Carthy (EF Education-Nippo) also cracked and lost 1:48 and 2:30 respectively, while Caruso was only able to gain three seconds on Bernal in the final metres of the stage. Giulio Ciccone (Trek-Segafredo) crashed on a descent and lost 7:58 due to back pain, while teammate Vincenzo Nibali lost a further 24:25 and was unable to hold his handlebars with his right arm after the stage.  

Bernal tried to see the positive side of his bad day but his confidence must have taken a blow and his lead to Caruso is now 2:21, with Yates climbing to third at 3:23, with two more mountain finishes in the final days of the Corsa Rosa very similar to today’s finish. 

Thursday’s stage is a flat transfer stage to Stradella south of Milan but stage 19 finishes atop the 10km Alpe di Mera climb, while stage 20 finishes with the nine per cent Alpe Motta climb. Bernal has the advantage of the final 29.4km time trial to Milan on Sunday.

Bernal stopped and leant on his handlebars after crossing the line as he tried to recover and fight the pain and disappointment of the stage. 

“Yates was really strong and impressed on the climb. I tried to go after him but I made a mistake,” he said. “But I’m satisfied. It wasn’t my best day but I hardly lost any time, just a few seconds to Caruso, who is the one I've got to watch the most. Yates has pulled back a minute and so we’ve got to keep our feet on the ground and stay focused on reaching Milan. 

“I’m hopeful for the future but as I always said, this Giro ends in Milan. Just one bad day can mean you lose time.”

Dan Martin was overjoyed to have won the stage and to complete his collection of victories in all three Grand Tours. 

“That's what I came here for. I knew that today was one of my last opportunities and with the extra time I lost the day before the rest day it was possible to go in the breakaway. To do it is incredible,” the Irishman said.

“I think the shake of the head at the end says I couldn't believe it's happening - I still can't believe it's happening.

“It's been a rollercoaster us as a team - we lost Chris [Krists Neilands] on the first day, we some really good stages, we had a lot of podiums and then we lost Dema [Alessandro De Marchi] - he was in the pink and then he crashed out and Alex got sick. 

“But our spirit has always been amazing. We've had a great team atmosphere. That showed this morning. 

“I knew from recon I did of this climb that it's easier with two kilometres to go, so I rode my pace on the steeper section, just rode a good tempo and then I really went full gas with 2.5km to go because I knew they were coming close and I could kill their morale. It wasn't until then I really went all in.”  

How it unfolded

The riders were happy to sign-on under blue skies and warm sun in Canazei after the rain and cold of the stage to Cortina d’Ampezzo and the second rest day. 

The views across the Dolomites were spectacular but the riders faced a 193km ride to Sega di Ala, with a fast valley road down to Trento, and then two steep climbs near the northern tip of Lake Garda.

The only non-starter was stage 15 winner Victor Campaenaerts (Qhubeka Assos), who abandoned the Giro due to a muscle problem.

As expected the fight to join the break of the day was fast and furious down the Val di Fassa, with attacks going off the front only to be pulled back time and time again, inspiring a first hour of racing at 55 kph despite a stiff headwind.

The USA’s Lawrence Warbasse (AG2R-Citroën) and Britain’s James Knox (Deceuninck-QuickStep) were two of many to try their hand as Ineos Grenadiers made it clear they would let a break go as long as it did not contain any of their overall rivals.

Different groups managed to open a gap as they raced through the ski resorts of Predazzo and Cavalese but others chased them down. After a fast 54km, the road turned upwards for the Sveseri climb and the peloton finally eased as another attack went off the front. This time they got away.

In the move where Gianni Moscon (Ineos Grenadiers), Geoffrey Bouchard (AG2R Citroën), Dries De Bondt (Alpecin-Fenix), Simone Ravanelli (Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec), Luis León Sánchez (Astana-Premier Tech), Giovanni Carboni (Bardiani-CSF-Faizane), Felix Grossschartner (Bora-Hansgrohe), James Knox and Pieter Serry (Deceuninck-QuickStep), Matteo Badilatti (Groupama-FDJ), Jan Hirt, Andrea Pasqualon and Quinten Hermans (Intermarché–Wanty–Gobert Matériaux), Matteo Jorgenson and Antonio Pedrero Lopez (Movistar), Jacopo Mosca (Trek-Segafredo), Valerio Conti and Alessandro Covi (UAE Team Emirates), and Martin. 

It was a mix of rouleurs for the valley roads and several quality climbers thinking of the final climb and the stage victory. The latter sat on, while their teammates did much of the work. 

Dan Martin was best placed overall at 15:10 and so not a threat to Bernal and Ineos. Indeed after some relaxed riding on the front and some playing around, Team BikeExchange took over the chase with 105km to go after the lead had touched 5:00.

Team BikeExchange teammates Cameron Meyer and Christopher Juul-Jensen did the work as the race dived down towards Trento. De Bondt kicked away to win the intermediate sprint, with the peloton at 3:45. 

The flat valley rolled through the Trentino apple trees and vines but the important climbs were soon to come.

The Passo di San Valentino reared with 53km left to race. It was 14km long at 7.8 per cent and the gradient soon hurt both the break and the peloton.

Martin had changed from deep profile rims to a climbing bike and soon set a high space to shake out the break. After half of the climb, only Moscon could stay with him, with Pedrero also getting on. Bouchard eventually jumped across and so took maximum points at the summit to extend his lead in the mountains competition. Martin was on a mission. 

Behind Bernal only had Jonathan Castroviejo and Dani Martinez with him as Mikel Nieve set a hard, constant pace for Yates and Team BikeExchange. 

Remco Evenepoel (Deceuninck-QuickStep) was an early victim of the climb but then spun his way back up to the GC group before the summit. 

The descent was fast and technical but was not a problem until 25km to go when several riders crashed after a sweeping bend. Evenepoel was at the back of the group and flipped over the guardrail. He needed medical treatment to his left wrist and arm but fortunately wasn’t seriously hurt. He eventually got riding again but finished in the gruppetto, 36:28, with Iljo Keisse and Mikkel Honoré pushing him over the line. 

Ciccone was also caught up in the crash. He did not seem hurt but his bike appeared damaged. He rode on to limit his time loss but the Trek-Segafredo team car was blocked behind the crash. It was a moment of panic for the Italian. A team car came up to him but he rode on and only changed bikes further along the valley road, after a 10km chase. He got back on but would pay for his misfortune and effort. 

Martin, Moscon, Pedrero and Bouchard rode to the foot of the Sega di Ala climb together and were joined by Ravanelli and Carboni. They lead the fast moving GC group by 2:20 but as soon as the climb started with 10km to go, Martin surged away and distanced his breakaway companions. Knox and Serry had dropped back to help Almeida in the fast ride to the foot of the climb. 

As Martin rode to stay away, Castroviejo set the pace for Bernal, hurting their GC rivals. With nine kilometres to climb, Aleksandr Vlasov (Astana-Premier Tech) lost contact. So did Ciccone.

Castroviejo’s pace spat out Zoncolan winner Lorenzo Fortunato (Eolo-Kometa Cycling Team) and others. Romain Bardet (Team DSM) lost contact with five kilometres to go and Hugh Carthy (EF Education-Nippo) soon followed him as the nine per cent gradient hurt everyone. Alberto Bettiol tried to pace Carthy but the British rider was suffering and losing grip on a podium placing. He slipped to fifth overall at 6:09.

Martin’s lead was down to 1:10 but he fought on, desperate to win the stage, while Moscon eased up and then gave his final effort to help pace Bernal. Under the trees with four kilometres to go, and Almeida edged off the front, but Bernal and Ineos did not need to go after him. 

Then Yates accelerated twice and Bernal was suddenly in big trouble and pedaling squares. He was lucky to have Martinez with him, who paced him and shouted at him in encouragement. Somehow Bernal came round and fought on as Caruso caught them. However Yates and Almeida were riding away from them. 

The gap opened to 30 seconds and then even more, the finish line finally ending Bernal’s agony, at least for today.

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Full Results
Pos.Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Daniel Martin (Irl) Israel Start-up Nation 4:54:38
2João Almeida (Por) Deceuninck-QuickStep 0:00:13
3Simon Yates (GBr) Team BikeExchange 0:00:30
4Diego Ulissi (Ita) UAE Team Emirates 0:01:20
5Damiano Caruso (Ita) Bahrain Victorious
6Daniel Martinez Poveda (Col) Ineos Grenadiers 0:01:23
7Egan Bernal Gomez (Col) Ineos Grenadiers
8Antonio Pedrero (Spa) Movistar Team 0:01:38
9Pello Bilbao Lopez De Armentia (Spa) Bahrain Victorious 0:01:43
10George Bennett (NZl) Jumbo-Visma 0:02:21
11Tobias Foss (Nor) Jumbo-Visma
12Lorenzo Fortunato (Ita) Eolo-Kometa Cycling Team 0:02:47
13Geoffrey Bouchard (Fra) AG2R Citroën Team 0:02:49
14Romain Bardet (Fra) Team DSM 0:02:52
15Gianni Moscon (Ita) Ineos Grenadiers
16Michael Storer (Aus) Team DSM 0:03:05
17Aleksandr Vlasov (Rus) Astana-Premier Tech 0:03:08
18Jonathan Castroviejo Nicolas (Spa) Ineos Grenadiers 0:03:10
19Edward Ravasi (Ita) Eolo-Kometa Cycling Team 0:03:18
20Alberto Bettiol (Ita) EF Education-Nippo 0:03:52
21Hugh Carthy (GBr) EF Education-Nippo
22Koen Bouwman (Ned) Jumbo-Visma 0:05:16
23Giovanni Carboni (Ita) Bardiani CSF Faizane' 0:05:53
24Vadim Pronskiy (Kaz) Astana-Premier Tech 0:06:17
25Matteo Badilatti (Swi) Groupama-FDJ
26Louis Vervaeke (Bel) Alpecin-Fenix
27Matteo Fabbro (Ita) Bora-Hansgrohe 0:07:58
28Giulio Ciccone (Ita) Trek-Segafredo
29Tanel Kangert (Est) Team BikeExchange 0:09:16
30Simone Ravanelli (Ita) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec 0:10:44
31Jan Hirt (Cze) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux 0:11:18
32Fabio Felline (Ita) Astana-Premier Tech 0:12:58
33Rudy Molard (Fra) Groupama-FDJ 0:15:24
34Pieter Serry (Bel) Deceuninck-QuickStep
35Valerio Conti (Ita) UAE Team Emirates
36James Knox (GBr) Deceuninck-QuickStep 0:15:37
37Nelson Oliveira (Por) Movistar Team 0:16:30
38Gorka Izagirre Insausti (Spa) Astana-Premier Tech
39Tony Gallopin (Fra) AG2R Citroën Team
40Luis Leon Sanchez (Spa) Astana-Premier Tech
41Nicolas Roche (Irl) Team DSM
42Quinten Hermans (Bel) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux 0:16:51
43Patrick Bevin (NZl) Israel Start-up Nation 0:17:04
44Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek-Segafredo
45Mark Christian (GBr) Eolo-Kometa Cycling Team
46Kilian Frankiny (Swi) Team Qhubeka Assos 0:17:21
47Filippo Tagliani (Ita) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec
48Amanuel Ghebreigzabhier (Eri) Trek-Segafredo 0:17:51
49Davide Formolo (Ita) UAE Team Emirates 0:17:55
50Simone Petilli (Ita) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux 0:18:49
51Christopher Hamilton (Aus) Team DSM 0:19:09
52Francesco Gavazzi (Ita) Eolo-Kometa Cycling Team 0:19:24
53Cesare Benedetti (Ita) Bora-Hansgrohe
54Larry Warbasse (USA) AG2R Citroën Team
55Andrii Ponomar (Ukr) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec
56Davide Gabburo (Ita) Bardiani CSF Faizane'
57Samuele Zoccarato (Ita) Bardiani CSF Faizane' 0:19:54
58Lars van den Berg (Ned) Groupama-FDJ 0:20:12
59Attila Valter (Hun) Groupama-FDJ
60Dario Cataldo (Ita) Movistar Team 0:20:52
61Mikel Nieve Iturralde (Spa) Team BikeExchange
62Rafael Valls Ferri (Spa) Bahrain Victorious 0:22:29
63Yukiya Arashiro (Jpn) Bahrain Victorious
64Paul Martens (Ger) Jumbo-Visma
65Antoine Duchesne (Can) Groupama-FDJ 0:23:06
66Márton Dina (Hun) Eolo-Kometa Cycling Team 0:24:01
67Nikias Arndt (Ger) Team DSM 0:24:38
68Jacopo Mosca (Ita) Trek-Segafredo 0:24:45
69Gianluca Brambilla (Ita) Trek-Segafredo
70Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Trek-Segafredo
71Jhonatan Narvaez Prado (Ecu) Ineos Grenadiers
72Jefferson Cepeda (Ecu) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec
73Rein Taaramäe (Est) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux
74Nicholas Schultz (Aus) Team BikeExchange
75Giovanni Aleotti (Ita) Bora-Hansgrohe 0:27:16
76Andrea Vendrame (Ita) AG2R Citroën Team
77Mauro Schmid (Swi) Team Qhubeka Assos
78Harold Tejada Canacue (Col) Astana-Premier Tech 0:28:29
79Einer Rubio Reyes (Col) Movistar Team
80Samuele Battistella (Ita) Astana-Premier Tech
81Matteo Sobrero (Ita) Astana-Premier Tech
82Enrico Battaglin (Ita) Bardiani CSF Faizane'
83Andrea Pasqualon (Ita) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux
84Guy Niv (Isr) Israel Start-up Nation
85Davide Villella (Ita) Movistar Team
86Eduardo Sepulveda (Arg) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec
87Giovanni Visconti (Ita) Bardiani CSF Faizane' 0:29:59
88Umberto Marengo (Ita) Bardiani CSF Faizane'
89Harm Vanhoucke (Bel) Lotto Soudal 0:30:39
90Filippo Zana (Ita) Bardiani CSF Faizane' 0:30:45
91Simon Pellaud (Swi) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec 0:31:25
92Dries De Bondt (Bel) Alpecin-Fenix
93Alexis Gougeard (Fra) AG2R Citroën Team 0:31:27
94Lawrence Naesen (Bel) AG2R Citroën Team
95Koen de Kort (Ned) Trek-Segafredo 0:31:30
96Fabio Sabatini (Ita) Cofidis
97Natnael Tesfazion (Eri) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec
98Senne Leysen (Bel) Alpecin-Fenix
99Jens Keukeleire (Bel) EF Education-Nippo
100Tejay van Garderen (USA) EF Education-Nippo
101Nicola Venchiarutti (Ita) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec
102Salvatore Puccio (Ita) Ineos Grenadiers
103Matthias Brändle (Aut) Israel Start-up Nation
104Jimmy Janssens (Bel) Alpecin-Fenix
105Gianni Vermeersch (Bel) Alpecin-Fenix
106Romain Seigle (Fra) Groupama-FDJ 0:32:11
107Simon Carr (GBr) EF Education-Nippo 0:32:41
108Victor Lafay (Fra) Cofidis
109Attilio Viviani (Ita) Cofidis
110Simon Guglielmi (Fra) Groupama-FDJ
111Bert-Jan Lindeman (Ned) Team Qhubeka Assos 0:33:32
112Nico Denz (Ger) Team DSM 0:34:01
113Wesley Kreder (Ned) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux
114Felix Grossschartner (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe 0:35:34
115Max Kanter (Ger) Team DSM
116Oscar Riesebeek (Ned) Alpecin-Fenix
117Alessandro Covi (Ita) UAE Team Emirates 0:35:51
118Alexander Krieger (Ger) Alpecin-Fenix 0:35:59
119Daniel Oss (Ita) Bora-Hansgrohe 0:36:28
120Elia Viviani (Ita) Cofidis
121Filippo Fiorelli (Ita) Bardiani CSF Faizane'
122Davide Cimolai (Ita) Israel Start-up Nation
123Stefano Oldani (Ita) Lotto Soudal
124Edoardo Affini (Ita) Jumbo-Visma
125Jan Tratnik (Slo) Bahrain Victorious
126Lukasz Wisniowski (Pol) Team Qhubeka Assos
127Maciej Bodnar (Pol) Bora-Hansgrohe
128Peter Sagan (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe
129Filippo Ganna (Ita) Ineos Grenadiers
130Simone Consonni (Ita) Cofidis
131Riccardo Minali (Ita) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux
132Remco Evenepoel (Bel) Deceuninck-QuickStep
133Iljo Keisse (Bel) Deceuninck-QuickStep
134Mikkel Honoré (Den) Deceuninck-QuickStep
135Fernando Gaviria Rendon (Col) UAE Team Emirates
136Maximiliano Richeze (Arg) UAE Team Emirates
137Juan Sebastian Molano Benavides (Col) UAE Team Emirates
138Julius van den Berg (Ned) EF Education-Nippo
139Taco van der Hoorn (Ned) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux
140Rémi Cavagna (Fra) Deceuninck-QuickStep
141Vincenzo Albanese (Ita) Eolo-Kometa Cycling Team
142Samuele Rivi (Ita) Eolo-Kometa Cycling Team
143Cameron Meyer (Aus) Team BikeExchange
144Callum Scotson (Aus) Team BikeExchange
145Matteo Jorgenson (USA) Movistar Team
146Christopher Juul-Jensen (Den) Team BikeExchange
147Albert Torres Barcelo (Spa) Movistar Team
148Michael Hepburn (Aus) Team BikeExchange 0:37:14
149Maximilian Walscheid (Ger) Team Qhubeka Assos 0:37:43
150Matteo Moschetti (Ita) Trek-Segafredo 0:38:10
DNSVictor Campenaerts (Bel) Team Qhubeka Assos
DNFRémy Rochas (Fra) Cofidis
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Sprint 1 - Trento km. 91.3
Pos.Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Dries De Bondt (Bel) Alpecin-Fenix 12
2Andrea Pasqualon (Ita) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux 8
3Giovanni Carboni (Ita) Bardiani CSF Faizane' 6
4Alessandro Covi (Ita) UAE Team Emirates 5
5Valerio Conti (Ita) UAE Team Emirates 4
6Matteo Jorgenson (USA) Movistar Team 3
7Gianni Moscon (Ita) Ineos Grenadiers 2
8Matteo Badilatti (Swi) Groupama-FDJ 1
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Points
Pos.Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Daniel Martin (Irl) Israel Start-up Nation 15
2João Almeida (Por) Deceuninck-QuickStep 12
3Simon Yates (GBr) Team BikeExchange 9
4Diego Ulissi (Ita) UAE Team Emirates 7
5Damiano Caruso (Ita) Bahrain Victorious 6
6Daniel Martinez Poveda (Col) Ineos Grenadiers 5
7Egan Bernal Gomez (Col) Ineos Grenadiers 4
8Antonio Pedrero (Spa) Movistar Team 3
9Pello Bilbao Lopez De Armentia (Spa) Bahrain Victorious 2
10George Bennett (NZl) Jumbo-Visma 1
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Bonus Sprint 1 - Mori km. 121.6
Pos.Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Dries De Bondt (Bel) Alpecin-Fenix 0:00:03
2Quinten Hermans (Bel) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux 0:00:02
3Andrea Pasqualon (Ita) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux 0:00:01
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