Giro d’Italia 2021
Egan Bernal has won the 2021 Giro d’Italia after making his way through the final stage 21 time trial in Milan to secure the maglia rosa.
The Colombian crossed the line with his arms raised in celebration, not rushing as he finished a couple of minutes down on stage winner and team-mate Filippo Ganna, the world time trial champion having won all five of the time trial stages at the past two Italian Grand Tours.
Despite suffering a puncture towards the end of the 30km-long course, Ganna posted the best time, 12 seconds quicker than Deceuninck – Quick-Step’s Remi Cavagna, who crashed in the finale. Jumbo-Visma’s Edoardo Affini took third, a fraction of a second slower than the Frenchman.
Damiano Caruso (Bahrain-Victorious) secured his second-place overall, while Simon Yates (BikeExchange) rounds out the podium, the pair unable to unseat Bernal from the top spot in the final week of racing.
Intermarché’s Riccardo Minali was the first rider off the start ramp just after lunchtime to get the final stage underway, but before long Filippo Ganna was also on the course, soon followed by another contender for stage honours in Edoardo Affini (Jumbo-Visma).
The world time trial champion was 15 seconds quicker than his compatriot at the first time check, then being waved on by Israel Start-Up Nation’s Davide Cimolai as he overtook him.
Disaster then struck, or it could have, if Ganna didn’t have ice running through his veins, calmly signalling that he had a flat, dropping his bike off and collecting a new one in what he described afterwards as an F1-style bike change.
He limited his losses to less than 20 seconds with how succinct the change was, crossing the line in 33-48, the fastest time set so far.
Even Ganna’s puncture couldn’t help Affini, stopping the clock 12 seconds slower than the Ineos rider, Peter Sagan also soon rolling across the line.
The next, and possibly only, rider left with the potential to unseat Ganna was soon out, Deceuninck – Quick-Step’s Rémi Cavagna resplendent in the colours of the French time trial champion.
Things were looking close, too, as Cavagna sped around the course, before he crashed inside the final kilometre, bizarrely continuing straight on a corner.
Even more miraculously, Cavagna managed to get back on and just sneak second, just quicker than Affini. After crossing the line the Frenchman tried to gather his thoughts, both shocked and angry about what had just happened.
Soon the upper echelons of the GC guys were underway, the likes of Dan Martin having his top 10 place already pretty much safe, while Romain Bardet faced a fight to hold onto fifth.
João Almeida set the fifth fastest time as he jumped up to sixth on GC, while Damiano Caruso got a big cheer as he set off, Egan Bernal still warming up on the rollers.
Hugh Carthy was a couple of minutes slower than Almeida, the Brit slipping down to eighth, Aleksandr Vlasov defending his fourth-place.
Caruso was having yet another great ride at this year’s Italian Grand Tour, putting more daylight between him and Yates, while also gaining on Bernal.
The Bahrain-Victorious rider came over the line in a respectable time of 35-11, his second place secure, and then all eyes turned to Bernal, whose GC lead was never threatened on this final stage, so he could enjoy the final few kilometres.
Across the line, he sat up and raised his hands, soaking in the cheers from the Colombian contingent in attendance, the maglia rosa secured.
Stage 21 result:
1. Filippo Ganna (Ita) Ineos Grenadiers, in 33:48
2. Rémi Cavagna (Fra) Deceuninck – Quick-Step, at 12 seconds
3. Edoardo Affini (Ita) Jumbo-Visma, at 13s
4. Matteo Sobrero (Ita) Astana-Premier Tech, at 14s
5. João Almeida (Por) Deceuninck – Quick-Step, at 27s
6. Max Walscheid (Ger) Qhubeka-Assos, at 33s
7. Alberto Bettiol (Ita) EF Education-Nippo, at 34s
8. Jan Tratnik (Slo) Bahrain-Victorious, at 42s
9. Gianni Moscon (Ita) Ineos Grenadiers, at 44s
10. Iljo Keisse (Bel) Deceuninck – Quick-Step, at 47s
1. Egan Bernal (Col) Ineos Grenadiers, in 86:17:28
2. Damiano Caruso (Ita) Bahrain-Victorious, at 1:29
3. Simon Yates (GBr) BikeExchange, at 4:15
4. Aleksandr Vlasov (Rus) Astana-Premier Tech, at 6:40
5. Daniel Felipe Martínez (Col) Ineos Grenadiers, at 7:24
6. João Almeida (Por) Deceuninck – Quick-Step, at same time
7. Romain Bardet (Fra) DSM, at 8:05
8. Hugh Carthy (GBr) EF Education – Nippo, at 8:56
9. Tobias Foss (Nor) Jumbo-Visma, at 11:44
10. Dan Martin (Ire) Israel Start-Up Nation, at 18:35