Giro d’Italia 2021 - Stage 10 LIVE: Peter Sagan triumphs at last, Egan Bernal defends pink jersey
Egan Bernal (Ineos Grenadiers) leads the general classification by 15 seconds from Remco Evenepoel (Deceuninck–QuickStep) after his sensational late burst on Stage 9. Will Ineos go on the attack again or look to protect what they have? Stage 10 may not provide the GC drama of the weekend, with the outing from l'Aquila to Foligno looking like one for the sprinters ahead of the first rest day.
The race jury has changed the results accordingly and Evenepoel is back to second place on GC. He trails Bernal by 14 seconds going into tomorrow's rest day. Thanks for joining us today and see you for the return to action on Wednesday, where the riders tackle those Tuscan dirt roads on the way to Montalcino...
Some big splits in the pack mean that the Russian - who came seven seconds down on Sagan - moves up to second place, just one second behind Bernal, after the Colombian came home in the main pack with Evenepoel 28 seconds in arrears. We'll await confirmation there but as things stand it's Bernal leading Vlasov by one second and Evenepoel down to third at 14 seconds.
Victory for Peter Sagan!
What a consummate pro - the Slovakian showman finishes the job for Bora-Hansgrohe after holding off Fernando Gaviria and Davide Cimolai. Stefano Oldani was fourth and Elia Viviani is only good enough for ninth after losing his leadout man Simone Consonni.
Bora-Hansgrohe win the battle for a tight right-hand bend and then the left-hander ahead of the flamme rouge. They pass through and then have another left-hand bend - and one rider goes down from Team DSM!
3km to go: long pop for Van Emden
With both their sprinters out the picture, Jumbo-Visma's Jos van Emden had a pop from distance but it comes to nothing. Team DSM are in the mix now and Lotto Soudal - perhaps for Oldini?
5km to go: Gaviria and Cimolai in the mix
Neither those two can be discounted so it's not in the bag for Sagan just yet. It's getting scrappy though as they enter the final 5km with Bora on the front, but UAE, QuickStep and EF Education-Nippo all crowding towards the nose to keep their men out of trouble. There's a lot of road furniture being marked by flag-waving marshals and so it's fairly tense and stressful.
Elia Viviani is actually still here, too - that's a surprise...
10km to go: Simon Yates battling back
The Briton goes the wrong way around a roundabout and has to fight back with some BikeExchange teammates so as not to get stuck at the wrong end of the pack. The last thing he'll want to do after a solid, if unspectacular, start to his Giro campaign is lose time on a stage like this. We enter the last 10km and it's still Bora - but it remains to be seen if Peter Sagan can finish this one off for his teammates of will it be Israel Start-Up Nation's day - or perhaps someone else. Is Matteo Moschetti of Trek-Segafreo still here? He could be an option...
18km to go: Remco cuts the lead by... one second
Ganna led Bernal out with gusto but it was an early launch and Evenepoel, in white, was able to power past Bernal, in pink. But the Belgian hadn't banked on the late kick of Jhonatan Narvaez and the Ecuadorian surges up the outside and takes the intermediate sprint and three bonus seconds. Evenepoel takes two seconds and Bernal, in third, one - so that's a swing of just one second there. The Colombian's lead on the GC is now 14 seconds.
So much exciting action there for so small a return - but that's why we love this sport. And the handshake between the white and pink jersey after that tussle is another thing of beauty.
20km to go: Evenepoel primed for intermediate sprint
It's been all Israel and Bora for the past 20-odd kilometres but now Deceuninck Quick-Step edge forward with their man Remco Evenepoel, who clearly wants the bonus seconds at the intermediate sprint coming up... Wonderful racing! This sparks a response from Ineeos Grenadiers with Bernal in pink trying to anticipate this with Filippo Ganna.
25km to go: Nizzolo gives up
Nizzolo continues to ride with Qhubeka teammate Victor Campenaerts but they're not getting any closer to the pack. It really looked like they were going to make the connection but it's gone up to 25 seconds and they're poised to throw in the towel. Yes, that's it, Nizzolo shakes his head and sits up... Tim Merlier, meanwhile, is a whopping 2'40" down so the Belgian won't get a second stage win and he will lose the maglia ciclamino today.
30km to go: Israel Start-Up Nation join Bora
Bora have some allies in the Israel Start-Up Nation team of Davide Cimolai, who will also be smelling blood today. The Italian finished second the other day when Taco van der Hoorn held on - beating Sagan in the process - so he's done the maths. Nizzolo now has just one Qhubeka-Assos teammate with him as he tries to rejoin the pack. He should do it - he's just 20 seconds back - but it will put him in the red. But the likes of Groenewegen, Dekker, Viviani and Merlier look to be out of it.
38km to go: Bora lead pack over the top
Sagan's team are really going all-guns for this as they enter the tunnel just beyond the summit. Giacomo Nizzolo is the latest sprinter to be dropped - he'll have a 30 second deficit to close on the descent. Fernado Gaviria managed to get over without any problems - the Colombian riding quite near the front - but his leadout man Max Richeze was dropped near the summit, so that will be a complication.
42km to go: Merlier dropped on climb
We're onto the Cat.4 Valico della Somma (6.7km at 8%) and Tim Merlier, the maglia ciclamino, is the latest sprinter to be distanced by this infernal pace-setting by Bora-Hansgrohe. Merlier currently has three Alpecin-Fenix teammates trying to keep him in contention. A bit later, Jumbo-Visma's Plan B, David Dekker, also drops back - so that's both the team's Dutch sprinters out of the picture. Giacomo Nizzoli and Elia Viviani are also near the back now. Bora's plan is working - but Peter Sagan himself looks pretty pooped.
45km to go: All over for the break
Bora-Hansgrohe have managed to bring the four leaders to within 10 seconds ahead of the next climb with five riders pulling hard for Sagan on the front and just ahead of the Ineos Grenadiers train of pink jersey Egan Bernal. Coming to a stop off the back of the pack is Luis Leon Sanchez, the Spanish champion, who has a puncture. And that's that - it's all over for the break with just over 43km remaining.
50km to go: Groenewegen dropped
And that's exactly what Bora-Hansgrohe are trying to go: drop some of the dangermen sprinters. The first to go is the Dutchman Dylan Groenewegen, who hasn't been his best since returning to racing here at the Giro following his ban, but on his day he's perhaps the fastest man left in the race.
The tempo has seen the lead of the break down to 25 seconds with Rivi very much on the rivet. The Italian is yo-yoing off the back and will surely be the next to pop. Marengo, meanwhile, has been swept up by the pack.
53km to go: Matteo Fabbro takes it up
Bora have put Matteo Fabbro and their GC man Emanuel Buchmann on the front for this small climb which precedes the only categorised climb of today's stage. They're clearly putting a plan into action here - and this has sounded the death-knell for the break. They have a minute - and this has forced Pellaud to take it up and up the tempo with a long unseated surge. Marengo is the first to fall back but the others are clinging on in the Swiss swashbuckler's wake.
58km to go: Bora start to pull
We now see Bora-Hansgrohe pulling on the front of the peloton for the first time today - just as the riders tackle a fast descent through woodland with some lovely sweeping bends. Deceuninck Quick-Step are also there as the pack is all strung out on this downhill, with the gap of the five leaders reduced to just 1'25". Perhaps Peter Sagan is feeling confident after all.
75km to go: Rolling roads
The gap is back up to two minutes for the five leaders, who are now on a section of slightly undulating terrain which will be felt in the legs of these riders who, on a normal Grand Tour, would be enjoying a rest day today. There are a few uphill stretches before the only categorised climb of the day, the summit of which comes 40km before the finish in Foligno.
88km to go: Train holds up the breakaway
The break has the wind taken from their sails by the passing of a single-carriage train, which has brought the level crossing fence down at an inopportune moment. It looks like the five escapees have been assured that their lead will be retained - although when the peloton come through, they're not stopped or told to slow. So, the upshot is that the break's lead is now down to 1'40".
92km to go: Rivi wins intermediate sprint
Simon Pellaud makes a bit of a hash of things there - either that or he just wasn't good enough. The Swiss zips clear very early - perhaps because he thinks the line is actually 500m earlier than it was. As a result he's easly caught by the two Italians, and it's Samuele Rivi who pips Umberto Marengo, with Pellaud in third, at the intermediate sprint in Santa Rufina. The other two roll over a few seconds back, with the peloton now 2'40" in arrears.
When the peloton does come through, Intermarche-Wanty-Gobert go all in for their man Andrea Pasqualon, who in turn is beaten by Elia Viviani despite that big lead-out. Sagan is next to come over. That was quite odd to see. Pasqualon, after all, is down in 13th place in the maglia ciclamino standings. Perhaps he's banking on all the sprinters giving up before Milan - which is not inconceivable given the parcours of the final week.
98km to go: No Bora yet on the front
It's interesting to see - or not to see, rather - the Bora-Hansgrohe team of Peter Sagan today. Perhaps they're making a point after the events of last Monday when Taco van der Hoorn was in the day's break: Peter Sagan's team were the only team trying to chase down the break that day, and without the help from the teams of the other sprinters, the Dutchman stayed out and the Slovakian could only take third place.
Third is the best finish so far from Sagan in this race, the 31-year-old having added two more top five finishes. With that in mind, perhaps Bora have simply decided that there's no point preparing the way for him - especially seeing that so many other teams are heavily invested in the chase. You can bet that Sagan and his lead-out man Daniel Oss will be in the thick of things at the pointy end of proceedings, though.
105km to go: UAE Team Emirates help with chase
The UAE Team Emirates squad have sent a man to contribute to the regulation of this breakaway on the front of the pack - a suggestion that Fernando Gaviria has recovered from his crash two days ago. Having been thwarted in the bunch sprints, the Colombian tried to beat Caleb Ewan with a long-pop at the end of stage 7 and then, when that failed, he got into the break in stage 8. He attacked from the break over the summit of the final climb - only to crash moments later on the descent before fading fast as Victor Lafay took the win.
Can Gaviria finally get his win now? He hasn't tasted success on a Grand Tour since the Giro in 2019 - and only then after Elia Viviani was disqualified for a dangerous sprint.
115km to go: break kept on a tight leash
They're up and over that uncategorised climb now with the gap still only 1'50". They're really taking no chances today with that man Van der Hoorn in the break again - we all know what he's capable of now after his surprise win from the break a week ago.
Bouchard in blue
Geoffrey Bouchard (Ag2R-Citroen) was one of the big animators of yesterday's stage with a series of relentless attacks to make the break - then numerous digs off the front once he was in it. The Frenchman led the race right until the closing kilometre and that dirt-road climb where he was joined by fellow escapee Koen Bouwman before both were swept up and spat out by Egan Bernal and the GC favourites. But Bouchard did manage to take the blue jersey from Gino Mader's shoulders after topping two of the three summits. He leads Bernal by 51pts to 48pts - and with just the one climb today, worth 6pts, things are unlikely to change today.
Big day for the maglia ciclamino
Just seven points separates Tim Merlier and Giacomo Nizzolo in the maglia ciclamino points classification jersey competition with Elia Viviani a further seven points back, three ahead of Davide Cimoloai and 12 clear of Peter Sagan. There are a total of 62 points up for grabs - although this breakaway will take the lion's share at the intermediate sprint, so it will all come down to the finish for the fast men.
125km to go: two minutes for the five leaders
The road continues uphill on this gradual grind with Cofidis, Jumbo-Visma and Qhubeka-Assos also putting men on the front with Alpecin-Fenix to pave the way for their respective sprinters Elia Viviani, Dylan Groenewegen and Giacomo Nizzolo. It's a sunny day in central Italy as the race heads north. Nizzolo, we should stress, has never won a stage on the Giro, finishing second on 11 occasions. His odds to win today are as inevitable as they are cruel: 11/2.
130km to go: it's time to climb
The riders are onto an uncategorised climb which sets the tone for the first phase of today's short stage - and because of the length of this stage, they are being given no leeway from the teams of the sprinters: just 1'30" for now with the Alpecin-Fenix team of Tim Merlier on the front. The Belgian won the opening road stage last Sunday and will be among the favourites to double up now that Ewan is no longer in the race.
135km to go: Five-man move allowed to go
As it happens, the Dutchman Taco van der Hoorn (Intermarche-Wanty-Gobert) does manage to slip into the day's break along with the ever-present Swiss Simon Pellaud (Androni Giacattoli-Sidermec) and Italian duo Umberto Marengo (Bardiani-CSF) and Samuele Rivi (EOLO-Kometa). Belgium's Kobe Goosens (Lotto Soudal) then manages to bridge over from a disinterested peloton to make it five out ahead. And there's going to be no fevered battle like we saw yesterday when it took two hours for the break to form: that, indeed, seems to be that.
139km to go: and they're off!
Mauro Vegni waves the flag and the race is under way. No surprise to see attacks aplenty from the outset - and it's that man Taco van der Hoorn of Intermarche-Wanty-Gobert who's leading the way after an initial dig from De Gendt. Van der Hoorn won the third stage after defying the peloton so memorably in Canale one week ago. It all comes to nothing - probably because those two riders are not the kind of riders the teams of the sprinters will want to have to chase down.
Bernal back to his best?
Back issues have beset the Colombian these past two years but Egan Bernal finally looks back to his best – as seen in Sunday’s dirt-road demolition of his rivals at the ski resort of Campo Felice in Stage 9 of the Giro d'Italia.
Entering the Giro instead of moulding a season around the Tour is now proving to be a canny decision. It was clear that Bernal needed not only to get over his injury, but to regain his confidence – and to do so away from the pressures of the Tour circus (including the duel challenges of Pog and Rog). In Italy, in what is admittedly a weakened field than those in which he usually operates, Bernal has now managed to do what he had previously eluded him: win – and win in style – a Grand Tour stage.
Egan Bernal raggiunge Bouchard e Bouwman prima del traguardo di Campo Felice sullo sterrato - Giro d'Italia 2021
Yesterday, Slovenia's Matej Mohoric (Bahrain-Victorious) was forced out of the race after a ghastly high-speed crash on the first descent. His team said yesterday that Mohoric suffered a concussion and polytrauma with multiple abrasions. He spent the night at the team hotel and will undergo the UCI post-concussion protocols, and be monitored by the team Head Doctor Daniele Zaccaria.
The Pole Tomasz Marczynski (Lotto Soudal) was a non-started because of ongoing complications with long-Covid, while two riders failed to finish the stage to Campo Felice - Jasper De Buyst (Lotto Soudal) and Clement Champoussin (Ag2R-Citroen). That means that Lotto Soudal - despite winning two stages through Caleb Ewan - are suddenly down to just five riders, following the withdrawals by the Australian, Marczynski and De Buyst. Could that be why Thomas De Gendt is lurking with intent on the front of the pack right now...?
Shortest stage almost under way...
Good afternoon and welcome to live coverage of Stage 10 of the Giro d'Italia - at just 139km it's the shortest stage of this year's race and could well end in a bunch sprint if a breakaway doesn't go the distance. The riders have left the start town of L'Aquila (so ravaged by earthquakes in 2009) and are currently soft-pedalling through the neutral zone. Here's what's in store...
Giro heroics will take Bernal to ‘next level’ - Wiggins
Egan Bernal’s stunning performance on Stage 9 at the Giro d’Italia will “take him to the next level”, according to Bradley Wiggins.
"You can see the vulnerability even as a Grand Tour champion like Bernal, you can see the insecurity that comes with it,” said Wiggins on The Breakaway.
“They really pushed him and he needed that for himself as well as the team. That win will do him the world of good.
“That [the Tour de France] will seem like a lifetime ago now and you saw the disappointment he had last year with the back injury.
“You can imagine going through all that injury and the doubt about getting back to the level you were at before. Clearly, he is and once he put hammer down there you could see the aggression he had going towards the line and the consistency he had. That’s going to take him to the next level I think.”
'Tour win will seem like a lifetime ago now' - Wiggins on Bernal comeback
Stage 9 recap - Bernal lights up Giro on gravel to seize pink
Cometh the hour – and cometh the gravel – cometh the man. The time gaps were not large, but the gulf in class was huge. On Sunday’s ninth leg of this intriguing 104th edition of the Giro d’Italia, Egan Bernal came of age – in as far as a Tour de France winner still has leeway in the coming-of-age stakes – with a swashbuckling stage victory, his first in Grand Tours, at Campo Felice.
Always ones for a bit of innovation, the Giro organisers went off-piste with an on-piste finale to what was a compelling, never-a-dull-moment schlep through the desolate Abruzzo: a new uphill gravel finish at the Apennines ski resort above Rocca di Cambio. Known as the Pista dello Scorpione, the ski lift service road hit double-digit gradients and, with the rain falling onto the dirt sterrato track, it certainly proved a sting in the tail of the 158km stage.
Over a ski slope covered in snow just weeks earlier, Bernal darted from the wheel of marauding teammate Gianni Moscon inside the final kilometre of a frenetic stage through southern central Italy, which featured seven climbs, a total of 3,400 metres of climbing, and not a metre of flat.
Bernal blasted past the last two remaining escapees – Koen Bouwman and Geoffrey Bouchard – with such venom that he forced the Dutchman to flinch so much that he changed his line and almost rode into his French companion. Before then, that leading duo had been part of a 17-man move which had finally emerged from the peloton following a fast and furious opening two hours of racing.
The 2019 Tour de France winner crossed the line seven seconds clear of Italy’s Giulio Ciccone (Trek-Segafredo) and Russia’s Aleksandr Vlasov (Astana-Premier Tech), with Belgian debutant Remco Evenepoel (Deceuninck Quick-Step) and Ireland’s Dan Martin (Israel Start-Up Nation) completing the top five a few seconds further back.
With overnight race leader Attila Valter (Groupama-FDJ) struggling to keep on the back of a slimming group of favourites on the final climb to come home almost one minute down, 24-year-old Bernal took over the maglia rosa. He now holds a 15-second lead over Evenepoel, with Vlasov in third at 21 seconds. Ciccone rises to fourth place ahead of the Hungarian Valter – but there is still only 1’01” separating Bernal in pink and the tenth-place Davide Formolo of UAE Team Emirates.
Highlights: Bernal stars on dirt climb to take maglia rosa
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