Giro d’Italia 2021 - Stage 11 as it happened: Egan Bernal shines in pink on gravel as Remco Evenepoel struggles
Colombia’s Egan Bernal strengthened his grip on the pink jersey after a mesmerising ride over the Tuscan dirt roads as Swiss youngster Mauro Schmid won Stage 11 to Montalcino from the break. Russia’s Aleksandr Vlasov is up to second place in the general classification after Remco Evenepoel’s day to forget on the gruelling gravel saw the Belgian tyro drop to seventh.
Giro d'Italia : Highlights stage 11 - Bernal tightens grip on pink jersey
‘One for the ages’ – Bernal stars to strengthen grip on maglia rosa
Bernal, Vlasov and Caruso the new top three
Bernal is now 45 seconds clear at the top with British duo Yates and Carthy up onto the top five and Evenepoel dropping to seventh at 2'22".
Egan Bernal extends lead in GC
It's the Colombian who drops Emanuel Buchmann on the uphill ramp to the line to strengthen his grip on the pink jersey with an eleventh place on the day after some superb work from his Ineos Grenadiers team. Aleksandr Vlasov will lead the others over ahead of both Yates and Carthy. But Ciccone is one of the riders who loses valuable time in the final 10km there - the Italian coming home over a minute down, and ahead of teammate Nibali and then the sorry figure of Remco Evenepoel, who ships over two minutes to Bernal.
Phew... it's going to take some time to work out what's what after all that carnage. What we do know is that Schmid has won the stage, Bernal has extended his lead, Vlasov is up to second, Damiano Caruso perhaps up to third, and Evenepoel dropping down the top 10, with both Dan Martin and Davide Formolo faring far worse...
Third place for Vanhoucke
The Belgian Harm Vanhoucke takes third place before the remnants of the break come home in dribs and drabs before Bernal and Buchmann combine, riding for every single second enter Montalcino.
Victory for Mauro Schmid!
it's the young vintage in Montalcino as debutant Mauro Schmid of Qhubeka-Assos powers clear of debutant Alessandro Covi of UAE Team Emirates to win a quite memorable stage over the Tuscan gravel.
Meanwhile, the two leaders have ripped down the descent and have gone under the flamme rouge. They ride through the narrow streets of Montalcino in the knowledge that one of them will win...
4km to go: Schmid takes KOM points
It's Mauro Schmid, the 21-year-old Swiss, who goes over the top ahead of Alessandro Covi, the 22-year-old Italian. Both of these riders are Giro debutants - Grand Tour debutants, too - and one of them could take the win today.
And behind, more trouble for Evenepoel, who is dropped by teammate Almeida on the climb... And again, Almeida drops back - but it takes time for the Portuguese to react. Clearly some in-fighting at QuickStep...
Hugh Carthy comes to the front before Vlasov puts in a dig, with Bernal latching onto his wheel. No one can follow this duo except Foss, who chases. But then Bernal puts in a huge dig - the Colombian is going in for the kill today. He drops Vlasov and almost catches Buchmann as he passes over the summit and then under the 4km banner.
5km to go for the leaders
Covi and Schmid pss under the five-to-go banner. But five minutes back it's all happening: Trek lose Vincenzo Nibali and then Giulio Ciccone in succession - with Marc Soler of Movistar losing ground un between. Buchmann still holds a slender lead over the chasers - and we're going to see some big changes on the GC today. Just eight riders in the pink jersey group chasing the German.
6km to go: Cat.3 Passo del Lume Spento
This pink jersey group is down to a baker's dozen of 13. It was Bernal who did the honours as they came onto the final climb but it's now EF Education-Nippo who are taking it up, using their power in numbers. Jumbo-Visma also have both Foss and Bouwman there, but not Bennett. The first attack, however, comes from Emanuel Buchmann of Bora-Hansgrohe.
8km to go: Vlasov and Bernal cause splits
Pressure from the boys in blue and pink forces a shake up. Carthy is there with EF teammate Ruben Guerreiro and Alberto Betiol, plus Movistar's Soler, after initially missing out. Yates rides on with Bahrain duo of Bilbao and Caruso, while Nibali and Ciccone are there for Trek. There are about 15 riders left in this group of contenders. Evenepoel and Almeida are still 1'10" back. Attila Valter has been dropped.
Meanwhile, the leaders - Schmid and Covi - are off the gravel and onto the final climb, back up the other side of the Passo del Lume Spento.
10km to go: Trio go clear
De Bondt and Covi have a small gap on the chasers from the break - and they have now been joined by Schmid. Behind, it's almost a curtains for Nelson Oliviera on the front as the Portuguese is forced to unclip ahead of a tight turn onto a bridge. He had Movistar leader Marc Soler on his wheel - and the plan becomes apparent when the Spaniard kicks clear with Ciccone, I think, on his wheel.
12km to go: Still six minutes for break
Meanwhile, the battle for the stage win is hotting up. They have hit the fourth and final gravel section with a lead of 5'55" over the pack. De Bondt, Vanhoucke and Schmid momentarily went clear but they have been rejoined by some of the others. Behind, Evenepoel is back with Almeida now as they join some other tailed-off riders on the descent to the final section. He's a minute in arrears so still has it all to do - especially with Moscon and Martinez still setting the tempo for Bernal.
14km to go: Evenepoel drama continues
Moments after Joao Almeida finally came back to help pace his teammate Evenepoel, the Belgian tyro is seen slowing up and speaking into his radio. Something is clearly going on because he's ripped out his earpiece and looks livid. We'll have to unpick this one when, ahem, the dust settles... but I feel slightly vindicated in my rest day prediction that Evenepoel would not finish this Giro in the top 10.
Evenepoel now has someone to ride with but it's not his teammate Almeida - who still hasn't dropped back - but Giovanni Carboni of Bardiani-CSF. Either there's been a miscommunication or the Portuguese - who is leaving QuickStep - is protesting here. Moscon, meanwhile, is now pacing Bernal up another uphill segment on this penultimate gravel section.
Bernal distancing Evenepoel big time
It's now all Bernal as the pink jersey takes over the reins and puts in a huge dig with Bennett and Vlasov on his wheel. Even before this climb Evenepoel was off the back - and the young Belgian is completely isolated with no Deceuninck teammate with him. Joao Almeida has chosen to ride on and not stop... pretty shoddy from the Portuguese there.
20km to go: Evenepoel on the back
Ineos continue piling on the pressure on a descent with Moscon doing the honours - and that's because Remco Evenepoel, the man in white, is really struggling on some of the more technical parts of these gravel sections. He's digging in but the elastic is about to snap...
Meanwhile, puncture for Rein Taaramae, who was just 2'16" down in 17th place on GC going into the stage. His Wanty teammate Quinten Herman's stops to lend him a wheel - then, when he can't get it off, he just swaps bikes. Can the Estonian fight back into the main pack? With Ineos pushing, it will be hard.
23km to go: De Bondt in trouble
Lawrence Naesen - younger brother of Oliver - is out ahead now after putting in a dig from the break. His compatriot De Bondt, the Belgian national champion, is having some issues and needs to drop back. Naesen's dig comes to nothing. Jumbo duo Foss and Bennett have been swept up, while Martinez has joined Moscon and Narvaez on the front for Bernal - but Astana and Movistar also have numbers.
We're hearing that Dan Martin is 4'30" off the pace...
25km to go: No news on Martin or Formolo
Still no news or time checks for Dan Martin and Davide Formolo who are not in the main pack after being distanced on the first gravel sections. They will both plunge out of the top 10 today it would seem. The race has passed through Montalcino for the first time and are on a closing loop which includes two more gravel sections and a second ascent of the Passo del Lume Spento - but this time on a normal tarmac/asphalt road surface.
And the break is now onto section three of strade bianche following the sprint at Castelnuovo del'Abate, which the TV producers seemed to miss completely. Bennett and Foss have sat up after their bid to go clear. The gap is still over seven minutes with the Narvaez-led pack a whole 5km in arrears.
30km to go: Duo go clear of the break
On the sweeping downhill through olive trees towards the second intermediate sprint and the third of four gravel sectors, Simon Guglielmi and Alessandro Covi have kicked clear from the breakaway. Their gap is minimal - but the gap back to the chasing duo of Bennett and Foss is 7'10" with the main pack a further 20 seconds in arrears.
37km to go: Jumbo duo attacks
George Bennett and Tobias Foss combine to ride clear of the main pack for Jumbo-Visma ahead of the summit of the climb. The New Zealander is perhaps hoping to claw his way back up the standings after falling over 10 minutes back in the opening week. "This is a mad effort," though, according to Sean Kelly.
Yates and Evenepoel are near the back and not looking like they're enjoying this much. The latter still has Deceuninck teammate Joao Almeida with him - but after being dropped earlier, it remains to be seen if he'll lose time in the GC battle today. Ineos duo Jhonatan Narvaez and Gianni Moscon have come to the front to pace Bernal - they also have Dani Martinez on the back but making his way up towards his teammates after perhaps dropping to the team car. They're back on tarmac now.
40km to go: Kluge and Schmid reeled in
Roger Kluge not only managed to rejoin the leaders, he even rode clear with Mauro Schmid on the intermediate section ahead of the final push to the summit of this climb. Both riders were brought to heel once the gradient headed up again - and the nine leaders have just gone over the top with a 8'25" lead over the main pack. Van der Hoorn and Lindeman around 30 seconds back as Kluge once again comes to the front on the descent - piling pressure on the other escapees and perhaps paving the way nicely for Lotto Soudal teammate Harm Vanhoucke.
45km to go: Most of favourites in the mix
Bahrain-Victorious duo Pello Bilbao and Damiano Caruso are in this main pack as is the previous pink jersey, Attila Valter of Groupama-FDJ. Dan Martin, however, is not here - the Irishman must have been tailed off on that first section. It really isn't his terrain... Peter Sagan now goes off the back of this group on the climb as EF take it up. Formolo, too, is not here after his earlier incident. The other riders from the top 10-15 are here as they pass through the intermediate sprint with Luis Leon Sanchez pacing his Astana teammate Vlasov on the front.
Meanwhile, Kluge has managed to battle back to the leaders - the break still has nine minutes to play with so should be able to hold on to contest the win.
46km to go: Three dropped from break
Van der Hoorn - the stage 3 winner - has been dropped by the break alongside Kluge and Lindeman. So we now have Naesen, De Bondt, Battaglin, Gavazzi, Guglielmi, Vanhoucke, Schmid and Covi out ahead with 9'15" over the main pack. It was Gavazzi who won the intermediate sprint ahead of De Bondt and Vanhoucke, for what it's worth, and they are now onto the Cat.3 Passo del Lume Spento (13km at 3.6%). The climb started a while ago - before the sprint - and it includes a rolling pleteau, which skewers the average gradient. Most of it is on gravel, too.
48km to go: Groups come together, Ganna dropped
With the road heading uphill on a steep tarmac'ed climb, Filippo Ganna hits the wall. His work is done - and he was mighty effectively smashing the peloton up and putting teammate Bernal's rivals in trouble. That said, the second group has managed to rejoin the front group so those GC riders are back with the pink jersey again. It's a group of around 50 riders in toral with Trek, Ineos and Movistar (who have Marc Soler looking good) setting the tempo.
The break, meanwhile, continue up this slog of a climb. It's the rise up to the intermediate sprint at Castiglion del Bosco, which precedes the first of two ascents of the Passo del Lume Spento - only the first of which tackled from the gravel approach.
50km to go: 30 seconds gap
They're done with the opening section and so we've had some regroupings after all that carnage. The break has 10 minutes still but then there's a front group which is being driven by Ineos and Movistar, which includes the pink jersey. Around 30 seconds back there's a second group which includes the likes of Evenepoelkl, Yates, Carthy, Buchmann and Vlasov, who have all missed this split.
Meanwhile, the 11-man break is now onto the next section of gravel.
Eurosport and GCN's experts share their views with 50km to go on today's sterrati stage
Juan Antonio Flecha: ‘’Bernal and the rest of the team have planned a very tough day today and I think they have a good chance of smashing most of the field. Egan will certainly want to take advantage of what is happening today but he and the team also have to think about not taking any more risks than they need to. I didn't think at all that Evenepoel could suffer so much today on the dirt section. I thought Remco would be able to hold on longer and power up for the more hilly section today but Remco suffered much more than even they thought they would."
Alberto Contador: ‘’I expected Evenepoel to be much further ahead in the peloton today. I'm surprised he's so far back at this point on the course today. Ganna for example is really pushing hard today and he's setting a very hard pace for everyone.''
Sean Kelly: "Luckily for the GC contenders, it's not flat as Ganna would just keep on time trial mode at the front of the peloton and it would be majorly difficult."
53km to go: Evenepoel and Yates distanced
Peter Sagan took things up after that Ganna slip - and if he continues at this rate, he'll have a chance of winning the stage today: the gap is down to 10'30". There are gaps all over the road in what is becoming a chaotic, confusing delight for us spectators. And Remco Evenepoel is drifting back. He's got some teammates with him but he's not on the front in that Ganna-Bernal-Sagan-Moscon group. Simon Yates is a bit further back. But it's going to take time to take stock of all this. We think Davide Formolo has taken a tumble, too - that or been held up.
55km to go: Ganna almost loses it
Moments after this photo below, Filippo Ganna was forced to unclip and style it out after losing control on a sweeping downhill bend... He kept on his bike but that will be a timely reminder that he's not invincible!
58km to go: First crashes, first big gaps
Two Cofidis riders have gone off the road and into a ditch. We can expect much more of this as the peloton is strung out by Ineos Grenadiers now - with numerous splits occurring. The break have completed this section but it's reached a key point for the GC men as Filippo Ganna powers to the front and carves through the gravel.
"He cannot ride slow - he just goes full gas all the time," says Sean Kelly on the comms.
60km to go: Peloton hits the gravel!
The Bora-Hansgrohe team of the maglia ciclamino Peter Sagan took things up in the pack ahead of Torrenieri before EF Education-Nippo, Ineos Grenadiers and Deceuninck Quick-Step muscled in as they passed through the town then took a left onto the gravel. It's dustier than a quarry and there's going to be carnage...
And cometh the hour... Here's Vincenzo Nibali of Trek-Segafredo - the only former Giro winner in this race - and he's on the front for Trek-Segafredo helping to pave the way for his teammate Giulio Ciccone.
63km to go: Gnarly gravel, beautiful Tuscany
A lot of this opening section is downhill and Roger Kluge, on the back of this break, is taking the turns really gingerly. He's a bit unit and doesn't look comfortable on this service. It's going to be superb when the peloton comes through.
If it does rain...
Then we might get a bit of this...
Alexandre Vinokourov and Cadel Evans in the break during stage 7 of the 2010 Giro d'Italia
Image credit: Getty Images
As things stand it's more dusty than muddy, but you never know: we're hearing that it's now raining in Montalcino. If you're interested in what happened the last time we had this strade bianche stage in the Giro, here's a look back at the day Cadel Evans won in the rainbow stipes and Alexandre Vinokourov went into pink following Vincenzo Nibali's crash.
Your winner today should be one of these riders... unless something crazy happens over the next two hours: Lawrence Naesen (Ag2R-Citroen), Dries De Bondt (Alpecin-Fenix), Enrico Battaglin (Bardiani-CSF), Francesco Gavazzi (Eolo-Kometa), Simon Guglielmi (Groupama-FDJ), Taco van der Hoorn (Intermarche-Wanty-Gobert), Roger Kluge and Harm Vanhoucke (both Lotto Soudal), Bert-Jan Lindeman and Mauro Schmid (Qhubeka-Assos), and Alessandro Covi (UAE Team Emirates).
69km to go: Breakaway enters the first gravel section
The 11 leaders pass through the centre of Torrenieri with a gap of 14'30" over the peloton. After passing the town football pitch they hang a tight left and the road rises and narrows before the tarmac disappears and gives way to the strade bianche white gravel. It's show time! At least, it will be once the lackadaisical peloton comes through in a quarter of an hour...
And I have to say, it looks pretty stormy ahead!
80km to go: Tension rises ahead of first gravel section
The teams of the big GC favourites have edged forward to the front of the pack as they approach the first of those dirt-road sections. The race is currently rolling through the picture-postcard Val d'Orcia, trailing the break by almost 14 minutes. Gravel coming up in around 8km.
90km to go: Three former Giro stage winners in break
Taco van der Hoorn (nine days ago), Roger Kluge (2016) and Enrico Battaglin (three times now) have won stages on the Giro before. Bert-Jan Lindeman (2015) and Francesco Gavazzi (2011) have won stages in the Vuelta. But none of these 11 riders have ever won a stage in the Tour. Their lead is still around 13 minutes.
100km to go: Puncture for Bilbao
Better now than on the gravel... Spain's Pello Bilbao - who is three and a half minutes down on GC - needs a wheel change after a puncture. He'll be able to get back without much trouble. The gap meanwhile grows to 13 minutes for the 11-man move...
105km to go: Route planning snafu
Not the most intelligent of safety measures there from the route planners, who have simply put a bit of tape between two trees to force riders take the long way round a tight bend. The breakaway almost comes a cropper with three riders going under the tape and the others swerving at the 11th hour to go around the obstacle. It will be interesting to see what the peloton does when they come through... surely a marshal will be put there?!?
110km to go: Rolling roads with Ineos in control
The gap is up to 12 minutes now for the 11 leaders - but it would have to be almost three times as much to put one of the escapees, Francesco Gavazzi of Eolo-Kometa, in the virtual pink jersey. Ineos Grenadiers have control of the peloton with all seven of their remaining riders - Russia's Pavel Sivakov crashed out in stage 5, remember - in formation, tapping out tempo and keeping a lid on things. After a largely flat opening 50km the roads are now slightly undulating as we continue towards the first gravel section...
120km to go: 10 minutes for the break
It looks increasingly like today's winner will come from the breakaway, which now holds a gap of over 10 minutes on the pack. So we will see two races - one for the top step of the podium in Montalcino and one for the pink jersey. And it's a day where the GC favourites could lose as much time as they would in a key mountain stage or an individual time trial - perhaps even more...
Ineos Grenadiers currently on the front of the pack regulating the situation with the Astana-Premier Tech team of Aleksandr Vlasov, third on GC, tucked in behind.
You can listen to the Re-Cycle series too
The Re-Cycle series of historical features are also turned into a podcast narrated by Graham Wilgoss. Here's the latest edition about that legendary day where pink jersey Vincenzo Nibali crashed ahead of the roads - just as Vinokourov attacked and coaxed a response from the eventual stage winner Evans, whose rainbow jersey was almost unrecognisable through the mud...
When Evans won in muddy Montalcino ahead of pink Vino
Unrelenting rain turned Tuscany’s white strade bianche into a brown mud slick on Stage 7 of the 2010 Corsa Rosa, when world champion Cadel Evans proved too powerful for Alexandre Vinokourov. For the latest episode of the historical Re-Cycle series I spoke to both the Australian and the Kazakh about a chaotic day’s racing and conditions so grim, you could barely tell one rider from the next.
Cadel Evans wins stage 7 of the 2010 Giro d'Italia in Montalcino
Image credit: Getty Images
135km to go: Gap swells to seven minutes
The riders are on the shores of Lake Trasimeno right now, which looks lovely in the sunshine. I'm lucky enough to have visited this neck of the Tuscan and Umbrian woods on numerous family holidays - and more recently with my bike. There are some lovely climbs in the area - up to and above nearby Cortona, for one, but also the winding hairpins up to Castel Rigone, which overlooks the glistening waters of the lake. I'd definitely recommend visiting the area - with or without your bike.
145km to go: Strade Bianche experience
With the gap growing to five minutes let's take a closer look at the dirt sections being used today. I mentioned before that only five of the current top 10 have experience of these roads. One rider who fared well in this year's Strade Bianche is Egan Bernal, the race leader, who finished third in Siena behind Mathieu van der Poel and Julian Alaphilippe.
Pello Bilbao (Bahrain-Victorious) was 10th, Simon Carr (EF Education-Nippo) was 11th, Gianni Vermeersch (Alpecin-Fenix) 14th, Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo) was 18th and Romain Bardet (Team DSM) was 20th - although the Frenchman finished runner-up behind Tiesj Benoot in his first appearance in 2018.
It's worth adding that none of the sections of sterrato being used today have featured in Strade Bianche before - but there are three gravel climbs and it's still the same unpredictable dirt road surface. The man who won when the Giro last used these roads - the Australian Cadel Evans - described it as driving a Formula 1 car on rally roads. Here is his interview with Bradley Wiggins, who also rode in those biblican conditions that day, finishing over four minutes back...
‘So much to lose’ – Evans on why GC contenders will fear gravel on Stage 11
150km to go: Who's in the break?
Thanks for asking. The 11 riders in this move are: Lawrence Naesen (Ag2R-Citroen), Dries De Bondt (Alpecin-Fenix), Enrico BAttaglin (Bardiani-CSF), Francesco Gavazzi (Eolo-Kometa), Simon Guglielmi (Groupama-FDJ), Taco van der Hoorn (Intermarche-Wanty-Gobert), Roger Kluge and Harm Vanhoucke (both Lotto Soudal), Bert-Jan Lindeman and Mauro Schmid (Qhubeka-Assos), and Alessandro Covi (UAE Team Emirates).
Only two of the escapees - the Italians Gavazzi and Covi - are within one hour of the race summit, so there's no concern from the peloton with regards to the GC battle. That said, only five of the top 10 have experience of riding over these dirt roads and so it could be a baptism of fire. The gap is now over three minutes.
153km to go: No-can-do for the chasers
That half-hearted counter move comes to nothing and so it looks like today's status quo is going to be established pretty quickly after all. With the gap at 1'30" Ineos make the universal sign of a comfort break and a load of riders - including the maglia rosa - peel to the side of the road to relieve themselves of unwanted liquid. So, we can expect the advantage of the breakaway to creep up somewhat over the next few kilometres...
157km to go: 11 riders clear
Among this nascent 11-man move is the stage 3 winner Taco van der Hoorn and the Belgian national champion Dries de Bondt. It looked like the peloton had sat up and let this one go - with the Ineos Grenadiers team of pink jersey Egan Bernal coming to the front and fanning across the road. But there was a sudden second wind by some of the teams who missed out. We currently have an attempt on the left-hand side of the road from half a dozen others to bridge over.
162km to go: Stage 11 under way!
The flag is waved by Mauro Vegni and this intriguing stage is off with a flurry of attacks and a long, fast, strung-out peloton... 10 or so riders open up a small early gap but it remains to be seen if this will stick given the pace behind.
One non-starter today: Tim Merlier of Alpecin-Fenix, the Belgian who won stage 2 on his debut Giro, has withdrawn with stomach issues. He struggled on Monday's stage when he was distanced on that climb when Bora-Hansgrohe paved the way for their man Peter Sagan with that hefty tempo-setting.
Perugia looking resplendent under the Umbrian sun
The riders have left the city walls of Perugia and are preparing themselves for the official start today... It's a flat opening section to this stage as the race leaves Umbria and heads into Tuscany. We can expect some moves from the outset...
Just over 35km of Tuscan dirt roads
As you can see in the stage profile below those sterrato sections all come in the final two-fifths of the race. To put it into context, this year's Strade Bianche race (won by Mathieu van der Poel) only featured 25km of the gravel roads - while the last time the Giro used these Tuscan farm roads (with that epic muddy Montalcino finale) there were just 23km.
Stage 11 almost under way...
The rest day is over and now it's time for the remaining riders to get serious on a stage through the Tuscan countryside that should put a smile on all our faces. It's the one we've all been looking forward to - the strade bianche stage which, unlike in 2010, will be played out in warm sunshine and not in torrential downpours. Here's what's in store on the road to Montalcino - which includes four 'sterrato' sections of gravel roads, which don't come until around 60km to go and so will be vital...
Is it really going to come down to seconds? - Bernal and Evenepoel have surprise sprint
It’s not often you see the two GC favourites scrapping over bonus seconds on an intermediate sprint with two weeks remaining of a Grand Tour.
But that’s exactly what happened on Stage 10 as Egan Bernal (Ineos Grenadiers) duked it out with Remco Evenepoel (Deceuninck–QuickStep) with 19 kilometres remaining of the run from L’Aquila to Foligno.
With Deceuninck at the front of the pack, the Belgian spotted a chance to sneak some time in the race for the maglia rosa. Unfortunately for Evenepoel, so did Bernal and Ineos.
‘It was a lot of energy to use’ – Was Bernal v Evenepoel sprint wise?
Bernal grabbed the wheel of teammate Filippo Ganna and the pair quickly opened up a gap at the front, only for Evenepoel to reel them back in and burst clear with some impressive acceleration.
Realising the danger, with three bonus seconds up for grabs for the winner, Ineos domestique Jhonatan Narvaez charged into action and overhauled them both – leaving Evenepoel and Bernal with two- and one-second bonuses respectively on the line.
The GC rivals shook hands afterwards, with the incident a rare highlight on a day superbly controlled by Bora-Hansgrohe as Peter Sagan took his first victory at this year’s Giro.
Eurosport expert Brian Smith wondered on The Breakaway whether it was an unnecessary move from both riders, with still two tough weeks on the menu in Italy.
“There’s still a long way to go in this Giro d’Italia,” he said.
Is it really going to come down to seconds?
Stage 10 recap - Sagan finally delivers
One week after Bora-Hansgrohe failed to bring back the breakaway when Taco van der Hoorn took his unexpected win, the same team ensured that the same man had no joy from the day’s break before leading their man Peter Sagan to glory in Foligno.
Sagan took the maglia ciclamino from Tim Merlier’s slumped shoulders after Bora distanced the Belgian sprinter on the day’s only categorised climb before the Slovakian showman repaid their faith in him with a solid victory to deny Colombia’s Fernando Gaviria (UAE Team Emirates).
Highlights: Sagan wins after Bernal v Evenepoel in surprise sprint
Italy’s Davide Cimolai (Israel Start-Up Nation) took a distant third place ahead of compatriot Stefano Oldani (Lotto Soudal) and Belgium’s Gianni Vermeersch (Alpecin-Fenix) in a reduced sprint following the earlier fireworks.
Colombia’s Egan Bernal (Ineos Grenadiers) retained the pink jersey but saw Remco Evenepoel (Deceuninck Quick-Step) creep one second closer in the standings after the Belgian tyro put on a show at the second intermediate sprint inside the final 20km of the 139km stage through Lazio and into Umbria.
Van der Hoorn (Intermarche-Wanty-Gobert) was part of a five-man break alongside the ever-present Swiss schemer Simon Pellaud (Androni Giacattoli-Sidermec), Italian duo Umberto Marengo (Bardiani-CSF) and Samuele Rivi (EOLO-Kometa) and Belgium's Kobe Goossens (Lotto Soudal).