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