Giro d'Italia: Egan Bernal survives as Simon Yates wins stage 19

Simon Yates (Team BikeExchange) took a gripping and tense victory on stage 19 of the Giro d’Italia to win at the summit of Alpe di Mera and gain yet more time on race leader Egan Bernal (Ineos Grenadiers).

Yates attacked with 6.4km to go on the final climb, and then again a kilometre later, to win ahead of João Almeida by 11 seconds as Bernal limited his losses to 28 seconds to the British climber with two stages to go.

Damiano Caruso (Bahrain Victorious) who started the day in second overall was dropped by both Yates and Bernal but remains in second place, 2:29 down on the race leader with Yates just twenty seconds further adrift.

It was Almeida who kicked off the hostilities with just under 67km to go after his team had set a blistering pace on the lower slopes of the final ascent but Ineos and Bernal allowed the rider to gain a handful of seconds before Yates attacked less than 400m later. Bernal, who cracked and lost close to a minute on stage 17, used his team perfectly as his climbing domestiques, and most notably Daniel Martinez, paced the maglia rosa on the higher slopes.

After Yates had built up a 30-second lead, it looked as though Bernal’s jersey was in serious threat and that his back problems that plagued him in 2020 were resurfacing at just the wrong time. However, the Colombian remained resolute. He didn’t follow when Aleksandr Vlasov (Astana Premier Tech), Caruso, Almeida, George Bennett (Jumbo Visma) attacked almost at once and when Ineos brought everyone bar Yates back to within touching distance it was Jonathan Castroviejo and Martinez, who began to whittle down Bernal’s rivals with Dan Martin, Romain Bardet and Hugh Carthy all put to the sword.

When Martinez eventually sat up, leaving just Bernal, Caruso and Almeida chasing Yates, it looked as though the race leader would once more face a barrage of attacks but instead it was the maglia rosa who stamped on the pedals with Caruso quickly distanced.

Bernal and Almeida, who started the day well out of contention in the overall standings, chipped away at Yates’ lead and with 2km to go the gap was down to 15 seconds. However, the British rider hung on.

In the last few hundred metres, Almeida finally accelerated away to take second, and while this was far from the vintage Bernal we saw in the first two weeks of the race he certainly did enough to stem the loss of time many expected from him after he dramatically cracked on stage 17. 

Stage 20 provides one final and certainly much harder test in the mountains ahead of Sunday’s final time trial, but with Yates in such an aggressive mode, this year’s Giro d’Italia is far from over.

How it unfolded

The pattern with so many of this year’s Giro d’Italia stages was repeated on stage 19 with another non-stop opening hour of racing before the day’s break finally formed. Larry Warbasse (AG2R Citroën), Mark Christian (Eolo-Kometa), Giovanni Aleotti (Bora-Hansrohe), Andrea Pasqualon (Intermarché-Wanty Gobert), Nicola Venchiarutti (Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec), and Quinten Hermans (Alpecin-Fenix) were finally allowed to move clear after 46km of racing but it didn’t take long before BikeExchange muscled their way to the front to raise the pace.

The six leaders were only allowed three minutes of an advantage by the time they crested the climb of the Alpe Agogna before Deceuninck-QuickStep – smarting from the fact that they had lost Remco Evenepoel and were close to finishing another Giro d’Italia without a stage win – began to set a furious pace through Iljo Keisse and Frølich Honore. With 65km to go the gap to the leading six stood at 2:53 but the pace from Almeida’s team had caught Ineos off guard with Martinez distanced and forced to chase. The situation was so drastic that Filippo Ganna was called back to help the Colombian return to the maglia rosa group.

A crash then took out Gianluca Brambilla but there was no let up in pace with the break brought back to within touching distance on the climb of the Passo della Colma.

Here BikeExchange upped the ante with Nieve posted to the front as the maglia rosa group lined out behind. Deceuninck took over for a final time at the foot of the final climb with Christian the last man standing from the break.

By this point the peloton had been reduced to less than 40 riders and it was Almeida who fired the first shot after James Knox had set a relentless pace at the start of the climb. The British rider pulled over with just under 7km remaining and Almeida, who looks even stronger than last year at this point, quickly forced Ineos into a reaction.

Yates was the first rider to bridge over before Caruso, Vlasov, Bennett formed a five-man assault. At that point Bernal looked to be in serious trouble. A week ago he would have skipped across the gap in no time at all, or even forced it himself, but this time he played a more conservative card and allowed the depth of his team to lead the chase. Sometimes, knowing how to not lose is just as important as knowing how to win.

That proved to be true when all but Yates were caught and Bennett, Dan Martin, Bardet and Tobias Foss all slipped back but even when Bernal was finally isolated with under 3km to go he looked just about in control of the situation. He ended the day extending his lead over Caruso by a few seconds and dropping all but two riders to finish third. 

However, stage 20 is a far most testing affair, and while his team look untouchable, the maglia rosa is still far from the rider we saw escaping on the Passo Giau when overall victory looked all but guaranteed.

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Results
Pos.Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Simon Yates (GBr) Team BikeExchange 4:02:55
2João Almeida (Por) Deceuninck-QuickStep 0:00:11
3Egan Bernal Gomez (Col) Ineos Grenadiers 0:00:28
4Damiano Caruso (Ita) Bahrain Victorious 0:00:32
5Aleksandr Vlasov (Rus) Astana-Premier Tech
6Daniel Martin (Irl) Israel Start-up Nation 0:00:42
7Daniel Martinez Poveda (Col) Ineos Grenadiers 0:00:49
8Koen Bouwman (Ned) Jumbo-Visma 0:01:25
9Tobias Foss (Nor) Jumbo-Visma
10Romain Bardet (Fra) Team DSM
11Hugh Carthy (GBr) EF Education-Nippo
12George Bennett (NZl) Jumbo-Visma 0:02:46
13Alessandro Covi (Ita) UAE Team Emirates 0:03:20
14Jan Hirt (Cze) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux 0:03:23
15Eduardo Sepulveda (Arg) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec
16Attila Valter (Hun) Groupama-FDJ 0:03:30
17Matteo Badilatti (Swi) Groupama-FDJ 0:03:34
18Felix Grossschartner (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe 0:04:01
19Lorenzo Fortunato (Ita) Eolo-Kometa Cycling Team 0:04:12
20Jonathan Castroviejo Nicolas (Spa) Ineos Grenadiers 0:04:37
21Stefano Oldani (Ita) Lotto Soudal 0:04:48
22Michael Storer (Aus) Team DSM 0:04:56
23Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Trek-Segafredo 0:05:14
24Diego Ulissi (Ita) UAE Team Emirates
25Luis Leon Sanchez (Spa) Astana-Premier Tech
26Jimmy Janssens (Bel) Alpecin-Fenix
27Pello Bilbao Lopez De Armentia (Spa) Bahrain Victorious
28Rudy Molard (Fra) Groupama-FDJ 0:06:03
29Tanel Kangert (Est) Team BikeExchange 0:06:11
30Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek-Segafredo 0:06:58
31Christopher Hamilton (Aus) Team DSM 0:07:00
32Mark Christian (GBr) Eolo-Kometa Cycling Team 0:07:21
33Vadim Pronskiy (Kaz) Astana-Premier Tech
34Kilian Frankiny (Swi) Team Qhubeka Assos 0:08:11
35Simone Petilli (Ita) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux
36Jhonatan Narvaez Prado (Ecu) Ineos Grenadiers 0:08:19
37Gorka Izagirre Insausti (Spa) Astana-Premier Tech 0:09:40
38Harold Tejada Canacue (Col) Astana-Premier Tech
39Andrea Pasqualon (Ita) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux 0:11:16
40Quinten Hermans (Bel) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux
41Larry Warbasse (USA) AG2R Citroën Team
42Jan Tratnik (Slo) Bahrain Victorious 0:11:44
43James Knox (GBr) Deceuninck-QuickStep
44Davide Formolo (Ita) UAE Team Emirates 0:12:23
45Valerio Conti (Ita) UAE Team Emirates
46Nelson Oliveira (Por) Movistar Team
47Davide Villella (Ita) Movistar Team
48Einer Rubio Reyes (Col) Movistar Team
49Giovanni Carboni (Ita) Bardiani CSF Faizane' 0:12:30
50Lars van den Berg (Ned) Groupama-FDJ
51Mikel Nieve Iturralde (Spa) Team BikeExchange 0:13:53
52Matteo Sobrero (Ita) Astana-Premier Tech 0:13:54
53Jens Keukeleire (Bel) EF Education-Nippo
54Fabio Felline (Ita) Astana-Premier Tech
55Edward Ravasi (Ita) Eolo-Kometa Cycling Team
56Louis Vervaeke (Bel) Alpecin-Fenix
57Pieter Serry (Bel) Deceuninck-QuickStep
58Amanuel Gebreigzabhier (Eri) Trek-Segafredo
59Matteo Fabbro (Ita) Bora-Hansgrohe
60Fernando Gaviria Rendon (Col) UAE Team Emirates
61Andrea Vendrame (Ita) AG2R Citroën Team
62Nikias Arndt (Ger) Team DSM
63Paul Martens (Ger) Jumbo-Visma 0:14:22
64Giovanni Aleotti (Ita) Bora-Hansgrohe 0:14:24
65Francesco Gavazzi (Ita) Eolo-Kometa Cycling Team 0:14:35
66Vincenzo Albanese (Ita) Eolo-Kometa Cycling Team 0:14:36
67Yukiya Arashiro (Jpn) Bahrain Victorious 0:15:48
68Jacopo Mosca (Ita) Trek-Segafredo 0:16:37
69Gianni Moscon (Ita) Ineos Grenadiers
70Callum Scotson (Aus) Team BikeExchange 0:17:14
71Tejay van Garderen (USA) EF Education-Nippo 0:17:32
72Cameron Meyer (Aus) Team BikeExchange 0:17:42
73Filippo Tagliani (Ita) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec 0:21:22
74Max Kanter (Ger) Team DSM 0:21:57
75Dries De Bondt (Bel) Alpecin-Fenix 0:22:29
76Filippo Ganna (Ita) Ineos Grenadiers 0:22:39
77Alberto Bettiol (Ita) EF Education-Nippo
78Mikkel Honoré (Den) Deceuninck-QuickStep
79Nicolas Roche (Irl) Team DSM
80Filippo Zana (Ita) Bardiani CSF Faizane' 0:23:54
81Giovanni Visconti (Ita) Bardiani CSF Faizane'
82Bert-Jan Lindeman (Ned) Team Qhubeka Assos 0:25:06
83Fabio Sabatini (Ita) Cofidis
84Patrick Bevin (NZl) Israel Start-up Nation
85Antoine Duchesne (Can) Groupama-FDJ
86Koen de Kort (Ned) Trek-Segafredo
87Matteo Jorgenson (USA) Movistar Team
88Senne Leysen (Bel) Alpecin-Fenix
89Natnael Tesfazion (Eri) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec
90Alexis Gougeard (Fra) AG2R Citroën Team
91Gianni Vermeersch (Bel) Alpecin-Fenix
92Rafael Valls Ferri (Spa) Bahrain Victorious
93Simon Pellaud (Swi) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec
94Lawrence Naesen (Bel) AG2R Citroën Team
95Enrico Battaglin (Ita) Bardiani CSF Faizane'
96Matteo Moschetti (Ita) Trek-Segafredo
97Salvatore Puccio (Ita) Ineos Grenadiers
98Simone Ravanelli (Ita) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec
99Andrii Ponomar (Ukr) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec
100Geoffrey Bouchard (Fra) AG2R Citroën Team
101Rein Taaramäe (Est) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux
102Romain Seigle (Fra) Groupama-FDJ
103Davide Gabburo (Ita) Bardiani CSF Faizane'
104Cesare Benedetti (Ita) Bora-Hansgrohe
105Lukasz Wisniowski (Pol) Team Qhubeka Assos
106Nico Denz (Ger) Team DSM
107Mauro Schmid (Swi) Team Qhubeka Assos
108Umberto Marengo (Ita) Bardiani CSF Faizane'
109Márton Dina (Hun) Eolo-Kometa Cycling Team
110Guy Niv (Isr) Israel Start-up Nation
111Attilio Viviani (Ita) Cofidis
112Tony Gallopin (Fra) AG2R Citroën Team
113Wesley Kreder (Ned) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux
114Antonio Pedrero (Spa) Movistar Team
115Dario Cataldo (Ita) Movistar Team
116Rémi Cavagna (Fra) Deceuninck-QuickStep
117Taco van der Hoorn (Ned) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux 0:26:11
118Iljo Keisse (Bel) Deceuninck-QuickStep 0:26:14
119Christopher Juul-Jensen (Den) Team BikeExchange 0:26:23
120Samuele Battistella (Ita) Astana-Premier Tech 0:26:34
121Riccardo Minali (Ita) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux
122Michael Hepburn (Aus) Team BikeExchange 0:26:57
123Harm Vanhoucke (Bel) Lotto Soudal 0:27:22
124Simon Carr (GBr) EF Education-Nippo 0:27:26
125Simon Guglielmi (Fra) Groupama-FDJ
126Julius van den Berg (Ned) EF Education-Nippo 0:28:11
127Edoardo Affini (Ita) Jumbo-Visma 0:28:26
128Daniel Oss (Ita) Bora-Hansgrohe 0:28:33
129Peter Sagan (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe
130Elia Viviani (Ita) Cofidis 0:28:38
131Maximiliano Richeze (Arg) UAE Team Emirates
132Juan Sebastian Molano Benavides (Col) UAE Team Emirates
133Filippo Fiorelli (Ita) Bardiani CSF Faizane'
134Maciej Bodnar (Pol) Bora-Hansgrohe
135Matthias Brändle (Aut) Israel Start-up Nation 0:28:40
136Oscar Riesebeek (Ned) Alpecin-Fenix 0:28:47
137Alexander Krieger (Ger) Alpecin-Fenix
138Simone Consonni (Ita) Cofidis 0:29:16
139Davide Cimolai (Ita) Israel Start-up Nation
140Maximilian Walscheid (Ger) Team Qhubeka Assos
141Albert Torres Barcelo (Spa) Movistar Team
142Nicola Venchiarutti (Ita) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec
143Samuele Zoccarato (Ita) Bardiani CSF Faizane'
144Samuele Rivi (Ita) Eolo-Kometa Cycling Team
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Sprint 1 - Baveno km. 97.5
Pos.Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Andrea Pasqualon (Ita) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux 12
2Nicola Venchiarutti (Ita) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec 8
3Quinten Hermans (Bel) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux 6
4Giovanni Aleotti (Ita) Bora-Hansgrohe 5
5Larry Warbasse (USA) AG2R Citroën Team 4
6Mark Christian (GBr) Eolo-Kometa Cycling Team 3
7Matthias Brändle (Aut) Israel Start-up Nation 2
8Iljo Keisse (Bel) Deceuninck-QuickStep 1
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Sprint 2 - Alpe di Mera km. 166
Pos.Rider Name (Country) TeamResult