Giro d’Italia 2021 - Stage 9 LIVE: Egan Bernal takes pink for Ineos on Campo Felice dirt climb
Attila Valter held on to the pink jersey after a dramatic and eventful Stage 8 of the 2021 Giro d'Italia but the day belonged to France's Victor Lafay who grabbed a groundbreaking victory. What will unfold on Stage 9? Well, both Bradley Wiggins and Sean Kelly have predicted a fireworks from Ineos and Egan Bernal. But Belgian tyro Remco Evenepoel also lurks and has his eyes on the pink prize...
Ciccone rises to fourth after his solid finish - but still just over one minute separating the top 10 riders in this race. Overnight leader Attila Valter down to fifth after limiting his losses.
Today's top 10
The time gaps were small but the gulf in class was huge...
Egan Bernal wins Stage 9 to take pink
Victory for the Colombian about seven seconds ahead of Giulio Ciccone and Alexsandr Vlasov. Amazingly, that's only the first Grand Tour stage win for the 2019 Tour de France victor. With bonus seconds he'll definitely be in pink now - even if the gaps were not huge. He celebrates with Gianni Moscon, who made that win possible with his launchpad of a ride.
Bernal came past Bouwman so fast he forced the Dutchman to flinch, change his line and almost lose his balance there in the closing few hundred metres...
Here goes Bernal!
Vlasov had a dig befor Bernal takes it up with Ciccone on his wheel. Evenepoel is dropped - as is everyone else soon! The two leaders are past and the Colombian flies up the mountain in search of the stage and maglia rosa... what a ride!
1km to go: Moscon driving it on
Ineos are playing the Gianni Moscon card for Bernal as the pack is blown apart on the gravel. Valter has been properly dropped now. It's Moscon, Bernal, Almeida, Evenepoel, Ciccone, Yates, Vlasov... there are only about 15 riders in this main GC group as they come to within 15 seconds of the leaders.
2km to go: Bouwman has Bouchard in his sights
As they emerge from the tunnel, the French lone leader only has a handful of seconds on the chasing Dutchman as he swings to the left and hits the dirt track section. The pack is at 50 seconds. It's raining on the gravel and so this could be carnage.
3km to go: Evenepoel only has Almeida
In contrast to Bernal's power in numbers, Remco Evenepoel appears to only have Joao Almeida with him now. Attila Valter is the last man in the peloton as the race enters a tunnel ahead of the gravel section. The gap back to the front of the pack is only 55 seconds and so it looks like one of the GC favourites will take the win today - and not one of the escapees.
4km to go: Valter in trouble
The pink jersey is being distanced... Attila Valter's time in pink looks to be coming to an end. Meanwhile, it's Narvaez and Castroviejo who continue tapping out tempo for Ineos ahead of Puccio and Moscon, then Bernal and Martinez. Bouwman is still in the big ring as he rides clear of the chasers in pursuit of Bouchard.
6km to go: Cat.1 Campo Felice
We're onto this final climb which averages at 6% but kicks up to a maximum 14% and finishes with that sterrato section to the line. Bouchard still has 20 seconds on the chasing four riders with Ineos returning to the front for Bernal, 1'40" down. A reminder of that the finish looks like...
8km to go: Chasing quartet
Instead of fighting back on to Bouchard, Carr slows for the chasers and latches on with Bouwman, Mollema and Storer. It's Bouchard who comes over the top of this rise to win the intermediate sprint before starting the technical descent with its tight hairpin bends. It's Movistar now who press on the front of the pack - Cataldo, who was in the break, putting in a shift for Marc Soler. Two minutes now for Bouchard.
10km to go: Breakaway blown apart
Carr and Bouchard have 11 seconds on Storer, Bouwman and Mollema - but the rest of the breakaway is in tatters. The pack is now fairly packed together as team formations come to the fore ahead of the final test. Movistar, Bahrain, DSM, Astana and QuickStep are all visible - with Ineos still holding back. The gap is 2'15" to the peloton.
Now Bouchard goes! The Frenchman catches Carr kipping - and it's a surprise he's gone so early, especially given they were combining well together. Returning to the peloton, it's Alpecin-Fenix who have two men on the front going hard. Perhaps they feel Louis Vervaeke - who's 50 seconds down on GC - could target the pink jersey?
12km to go: Ineos vanishing trick
They have really disappeared - to the extent that I wonder if one of the Ineos riders had a problem, or have they blown up? Pello Bilbao was on the front for a stretch and Dan Martin is right in the mix too. It's all perfectly poised for a fantastic finale - with the uphill second sprint at Rocca di Cambio before the final 6km climb, which culminates with the a 2km dirt track: what is essentially a service road to the ski lifts.
15km to go: Mollema and Storer chase
The two leaders have 15 seconds to play with over Dutchman Mollema and the Australian Storer. Koen Bouwman is somewhere there as well - yes, here he is, with the chasers. So it's three. Behind, it's Remco Evenepoel who have come to the front with some of his Deceuninck QuickStep teammates - perhaps because of the wind. After all their effort on the climb, Ineos Grenadiers have disappeared - perhaps that's why the young Belgian has come forward.
20km to go: rain and wind, thrills and spills
We're set for a fantastic finale here with these two leaders powering along this plateau with a slender 20-second gap as the heavens start to open and the wind kicks up. The peloton is 2'35" down and one of the Ineos riders overcooked a bend there - Castroviejo, I think - but luckily there was a big enough run-off for him to keep his cool and rejoin the road.
24km to go: Bouchard in virtual blue
The Frenchman won the polka dot jersey in the Vuelta in 2019 in his debut Grand Tour - and it looks like Bouchard has a similar idea for his maiden Giro. He's joined Carr in time to ride over the summit and pocked the maximum 18pts. So, he's now ahead of Gino Mader in the blue jersey standings. This duo has 18 seconds over the chasers with the fast-thinning pack at 2'45".
'Gran didn't believe I was a pro till I beat G'
Simon Carr is something of an enigma, being a British-registered rider who came up through the French development system rather than Great Britain's. He has a unique perspective on the path to professional cycling, now plying his trade for Anglophone EF Education Nippo after a lifetime spent 'racing in French'. My colleague Tom Owen spoke to Carr to find out who he is, and where he believes he can go.
Simon Carr (left) und Ruben Guerreiro - EF Education - Nippo
Image credit: Getty Images
27km to go: EF Education using their, ahem, Carr(ds)
British-born, French-bred rider Simon Carr manages to come across with Fabbro and Edet - and he them puts in a couple of searing attacks, taking up the reins from teammate Guerreiro, who tried his luck a little earlier. It's an effective whammy - and Carr has opened up a gap. Mollema, Bouchard and Storer lead the chase behind. The Sanchez-Ulissi group is 25 seconds back and the peloton - still led by the Ineos train - is at 2'40".
30km to go: Ulissi attack shakes things up
Diego Ulissi must have heard on the radio about the Ineos train behind because he puts in a big attack which, ultimately, sees himself shoot himself in the foot. Because as a result of his shake up the break splits and we have Bouchard, Guerreiro, Bennett, Storer and Mollema in the front, with Edet, Carr, Fabbro, Ulissi, Sanchez and Rubio trying to bridge over.
32km to go: Ineos Grenadiers gather
As if on cue, here come the Ineos Grenadiers team of Egan Bernal. They've taken over the reins from Groupama-FDJ on the front of the pack with Salvatore Puccio tapping out tempo ahead of Jhonatan Narvaez, Jonathan Castroviejo and Filippo Ganna - all ahead of the Colombian duo of Bernal and Dani Martinez. Bernal - currently third at 16 seconds - is still wearing his gilet, so he can't be investing too much right now. But the advantage of the break has suddenly come down to 2'25" as a result of this shuffle behind.
35km to go: Cat.2 Ovindoli
We're onto this long penultimate climb, a 17km ascent at 4.5% which takes the riders up to the plateau which precedes the final climb today. It's been fairly sedate since things calmed down after that frantic opening two hours. But that is about to change. The show will return imminently.
38km to go: Gallopin wins intermediate sprint
Tony gallops to intermediate sprint glory in Celano ahead of Storer and Edet. Not that it was a fiercely contested affair. The pack comes through three minutes in arrears as the riders approach the next categorised climb. After my colleague Tom Owen's efforts yesterday, I feel like I have to up my Giro Castelli game - and this is a good way to do so: a castle and piscina cross-over...
Hugh Carthy to come of age?
The Briton lost time after an incident in the final three kilometres yesterday - only to have it rightly reinstated because of the 3km rule. Carthy could be a factor today having won on the Angliru last November en route to a breakthrough third place finish on the Vuelta. He has two teammates in the break - Carr and Guerreiro - and certainly has the climbing legs. He's currently in fifth at 38 seconds.
‘He’s in the mix’ – EF boss pleased with Carthy
44km to go: Storm clouds gather
There has been a bit of rain but not much so far today - a brief spell which had some riders reach for their jackets. But there are quite a few grey clouds looming now and there's a chance that we'll get a shower for the gravel finish on a new climb above Rocca di Cambio, where we'll have the second intermediate sprint ahead of the final ascent. The gap is still three minutes.
52km to go: Gallopin thwarted by flat tyre
Tony Gallopin went clear with Gio Visconti at the start of the descent there - only for the Frenchman to pick up a puncture which knocks the wind out of his sails. He stops for a change and that forces his Italian companion to sit up and wait for the other escapees.
Meanwhile, a quick medical update from Bahrain-Victorious surrounding the health of their rider Matej Mohoric, who has been taken to hospital for tests following his nasty head-over-heels spill earlier.
56km to go: Bouchard takes KOM points
Geoff slips the maximum 9pts dans la poche to consolidate his second place in the blue jersey standings. He's now up to 33pts which is 11pts down on the leader Gino Mader, who earlier pocketed the 18pts available over the first categorised climb. Still three minutes back to the peloton ahead of this long descent.
62km to go: Cat.3 Forca Caruso
This climb is 13km long at an average gradient of a gentle 4.5% so hardly leg-breaking stuff. But after the frantic opening two hours to today's stage it won't exactly be a walk in the park. And who knows, had Matej Mohoric not crashed out so awfully, then Bahrain-Victorious' plan of placing Damiano Caruso - the climb's namesake - in the move may have worked out. As things are, the gap is 3'05" for these 17 escapees, who are combining well in their bid to ensure they contest the victory ahead of the ensuing GC battle for pink behind.
65km to go: Bravo, Eduardo
After a long and lonely pursuit, Sepulveda has managed to complete his battle to join the break - just in time for the next categorised climb. So, the 17 leaders are: Gallopin, Bouchard, Sepulveda, Sanchez, Visconti, Zana, Fabbro, Edet, Carr, Guerreiro, Bennett, Bouwman, Rubio, Kangert, Storer, Mollema and Ulissi.
75km to go: Sepulveda trying to join the party
The collective eardrums of the Androni Giacattoli riders must have burst under the deluge of ire from their manager Gianni Savio after they missed the move for the second day running. And it's Argentina's Eduardo Sepulveda who has decided to rectify that by riding solo in pursuit of the leading group, which has also gained Visconti of Bardiani. The gap is up to two minutes over the pack, which is being led by Groupama-FDJ.
85km to go: Rubio joins to make it 15 clear
Einer Rubio of Movistar has managed to bridge over to join what is now a 15-man lead group. The other riders here are: Tony Gallopin and Geoffrey Bouchard (both Ag2R-Citroen), Luis Leon Sanchez (Astana-Premier Tech), Filippo Zana (Bardiani-CSF), Matteo Fabbro (Bora-Hansgrohe), Nicolas Edet (Cofidis), Simon Carr and Ruben Guerreiro (both EF Education-Nippo), George Bennett and Keon Bouwman (both Jumbo-Visma), Tanel Kangert (Team BikeExchange), Michael Storer (Team DSM), Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo) and Diego Ulissi (UAE Team Emirates).
The gap is around 1'05" with Groupama-FDJ now coming to the front of the pack to restore some order for their man in pink, Attila Valter. Still, some riders are still trying their luck at bridging over - including Giovanni Visconti (Bardiani-CSF). With the best placed rider on GC - Portugal's Guerreiro - being over six minutes down, finally we have a group that is allowed to open up some daylight.
Here's that crash earlier involving Matej Mohoric, who is on his way to hospital but conscious and okay.
‘Awful crash’ – Mohoric taken to hospital after bike snaps in two
88km to go: Seven now in the lead
We're onto the next climb - the third of seven - and this one is not categorised. Simon Carr of EF Education-Nippo was on his own in the lead before being joined by six riders led across by the Spanish champion, Luis Leon Sanchez. Zana, Fabbro, Edet, Bouchard and Mollema are also there - with another chase group including Guerreiro, Gallopin, George Bennett and a few others. It finally looks like the peloton is easing to let this play out - at least for the next hour or so. It remains to be seen if this is just another false start, though.
92km to go: Dozen go clear
We're approaching the end of this long, scenic, twisting descent and there are around a dozen riders who have managed to form another break off the front - including the familiar faces of Bouchard, Sanchez, Fabbro, Edet, Carr and Mollema. UAE Team Emirates have missed it - or missed getting the right rider in it - and so they're leading the chase again. The front of the pack is still all strung out because people are not happy - especially when Pello Bilbao tries his luck with a dig for Bahrain-Victorious.
98km to go: And we go again...
Lone leader Geoffrey Bouchard still has a small gap but his other breakaway companions have been pegged back by the main field. Guerreiro and Sanchez looked to have countered in a small move just ahead of the connection, but that came to nothing. This is one hell of an unsettled start to a stage - wonderful entertainment, that horrific crash for Mohoric aside, plus even some action from a few GC outsiders. You can bet your bottom dollar that there will be many, many riders wishing for some order and a break from these endless hostilities.
103km to go: Bouchard once again
Geoffrey Bouchard takes over after that Bahrain-Victorious sucker-punch. UAE Team Emirates, meanwhile, lead the chase behind in the pack - which is odd, because they have Ulissi in the move. The gap is coming down, though. Probably because the presence of Caruso and Martinez in this big move is just too dangerous for many of the GC teams.
110km to go: 21 clear, BikeExchange chasing
The withdrawal of Mohoric means there are now 21 riders in this break, which is being chased down by the BikeExchange team of Simon Yates. They missed this move - and will be concerned by Caruso's presence ahead, as well as Dani Martinez. The gap is around 30 seconds.
Another terrible blow for Bahrain-Victorious who have had the carpet pulled from under their feet once again. Mohoric was on his feet and walking around. But he then took a long sit down - and when the medical car came it was decided that he could not continue. It's probably a precaution for concussion. The Slovenian was then put onto a stretcher and put in a neck brace while being loaded into am ambulance. A sorry way for his race to end.
Mohoric was instrumental in Mader's victory three days ago - a day after their leader Mikel Landa crashed out. With Caruso on the attack and Mader also in the break, Mohoric looked to have another huge role to play today until his terrible fall. We wish him all the best and a swift recovery.
118km to go: Horror crash for Mohoric
Oh no - that's terrible... Mohoric and Caruso had come to the front and were driving the pace on the descent in the wake of their teammate Mader. Then Mohoric lost his back wheel on the inside of a lefthand bend. He overcorrected and then his front wheel caught a pot-hole - and it sent him somersaulting head over handlebars. His front forks broke and his entire front wheel came off from the rest of his bike, while the Slovenian landed on his shoulder and heat, having come to a sudden halt.
Mohoric is ok: that's to say he's sitting down on the side of the road and fully conscious. But he could well have some kind of whiplash there - not to mention some injuries to his shoulder. Amazingly he didn't take anyone else out. But that was a huge, huge scare... And such a blow for Bahrain-Victorious for they were really forcing things on the front.
122km to go: Mader takes KOM points
A very good few minutes for Bahrain-Victorious who see Gino Mader dart clear to pocket the maximum 18pts over the summit of the Paddo Godi to consolidate his lead in the blue jersey standings. It's Mollema who takes second ahead of Bouchard, Edet and then the Briton Simon Carr.
123km to go: Caruso attacks!
The UAE rider who wants in is Diego Ulissi, who darts clear and takes Belgium's Pieter Serry with him. And with that, Dani Martinez of Ineos Grenadiers wants in. He joins, then Luis Leon Sanchez latches on. And then from nowhere we see Damiano Caruso power past! Now that is a turn up for the books. The Italian is only 39 seconds down on GC and so that's quite a statement of intent - and Caruso is able to join forces with Matej Mohoric, who is also there. Surely this will spark a chase behind?
125km to go: Trio caught by chasers
Bouchard, Fabbro and Cataldo are caught by around 10 chasers - including Mader, Guerrero, Edet and Mollema - with a handful of others looking to bridge over. It looks like the peloton is happy to let this one go because there's a collective easing up and a flat front across the road. But then UAE Team Emirates come to the front because they have missed the move - and with the upping of tempo the gap begins to come down again. So, just 20 seconds splits the front and the chasing pack - and there's no guarantee that this one will stick.
130km to go: Bouchard... again
Despite Guerreiro's persistence trying to force a break, the move came to nothing and the peloton engulfed that huge faction forming off the front. The arrival of Jhonatan Narvaez of Ineos Grenadiers may have sounded the ultimate death-knell for that massive 40-man group. The Frenchman Bouchard exploits the post-capture lull to dart clear on what must be at least his third attempt today. He's soon joined by Dario Cataldo and Matteo Fabbro of Bora-Hansgrohe. Gino Mader leads the chase behind - the Swiss won't want Bouchard stealing a march in the blue jersey battle...
135km to go: Cat.2 Passo Godi
We're onto the first climb of the day now with three riders clear and a dozen trying to come across. It's still a very fluid situation and you can see the peloton bearing down so this one may not stick again, either. This is a 13.9km ascent with an average slope of a forgiving 4.1% but a maximum tilt of 11% so no picnic. Ruben Guerreiro, last year's blue jersey, is now trying to force something on the front but it's still very unsettled.
138km to go: chaos and confusion
The peloton was all strung out on the descent and there's been a big split with around 50 riders in a lead group, from which around a dozen are trying to open up a gap. The second part of the peloton fights to bridge back over - which they manage as the road flattens alongside a false lake. It looks like we're going to reset the counter to zero and go all over again ahead of the Passo Godi, the first of today's climbs.
145km to go: Cataldo, Mader and Lafay lead the charge
Samuele Battistella was reeled in before the Frenchman Geoffrey Bouchard put in shift to force a selection behind. We then saw yesterday's winner Victor Lafay (Cofidis) riding on the front with local rider Dario Cataldo (Movistar). They were joined for a brief stint by the blue jersey, Gino Mader, who bridge over from a huge chase group of around 20 riders. But it was Lafay and Cataldo back in tandem as they went over the top of the uncategorised climb. They were quickly joined by the chasers on the descent. But the gap back to the pack was very small and so it could all come back together on this fast downhill.
Who's in what jersey?
A quick sartorial recap for the various jersey classifications...
Pink jersey: Attila Valter (Groupama-FDJ). The Hungarian has 11 seconds on Remco Evenepoel and 16 seconds on Egan Bernal. White jersey: Valter also leads the youth standings which means Evenepoel is the man in white. Interestingly - and perhaps a sigh of the times - it's the same four riders in both the pink and white jersey standings, with Aleksandr Vlasov the man in fourth. Ciclamino jersey: with Caleb Ewan out, the Belgian Tim Merlier (Alpecin-Fenix) is back in the mauve. The stage 2 winner has a seven-point lead over Giacomo Nizzolo. Blue jersey: Stage 6 winner Gino Mader (Bahrain-Victorious) is still in blue. He leads Geoffrey Bouchard (Ag2R-Citroen) by 26pts to 18pts. Lots of KOM points up for grabs today - a maximum 85 points to be precise - so that battle will be a thrilling subplot...
152km to go: two clear and many chasing
Simon Pellaud (Androni Giocattoli) and Samuele Battistella (Astana-Premier Tech) have opened up a small gap but they're being hunted by numerous riders. It followed a feisty opening few kilometres where there were more flurries than a outlet of McDonalds in the summer. It comes to nothing before Battistella tries his luck again as the road heads uphill on this uncategorised leg-stretcher that will warm the cockles of the pack. There's no reply at first before scores try to bridge across. Lovely countryside here - rugged mountains and splendid isolation. Not everyone's cup of tea - but great for cycling or rambling or, I'd imagine, tending sheep.
158km to go: Stage 9 is under way
The remaining 175 riders have got this intriguing stage under way with a flurry of attacks from the outset. One non-starter: Tomasz Marczyński of Lotto Soudal, who has been pulled because of on-going complications from Covid-19. We wish Tomasz all the best. With him and sprinter Caleb Ewan gone, perhaps the door will be open for Thomas De Gendt to try his luck - today is the kind of stage that the Belgian breakaway specialist may like to get involved in...
The finish today is a first for the Giro - a gravel climb to the town of Rocca di Cambio in the Campo Felice ski resort. The final climb is only 6km at an average speed of 6% but it's the first Cat.1 climb of this race and includes a 14% section as well as around 2km on gravel/dirt roads. And rain has not been ruled out...
Riders in the neutral zone
The peloton has rolled out from the town square at Castel di Sangro and are edging their way through the little hillside town in the Abruzzo. Yesterday saw the riders hit the most southerly point of this year's Giro route; the riders are now snaking their way north towards the mountainous finale of this race. First up they have this medium mountains stage which, as you can see by the profile, doesn't include many flat roads at all...
Lowe Down from yesterday... Bilbao the big loser
Caleb Ewan may have called it a day after crashing in a tunnel, but the Australian double stage winner was always going to leave this Giro a little early. A far bigger loser was the Spanish climber Pello Bilbao, thrust up a few notched on the Bahrain-Victorious hierarchy following the withdrawal of his compatriot Mikel Landa last week. Bilbao crashed and lost time; he's now 2'31" down on Attila Valter on GC - so, by no means out of it, but with everything left to do. Thankfully for Bahrain-Victorious, Bilbao's teammate Damiano Caruso had a good day and rises one place to sixth, at 39 seconds.
We also heard that Vincenzo Nibali crashed yesterday. He's okay and didn't fall on his wrist (which he broke less than a month ago) while finishing alongside all the big favourites.
Key Stage 9 on the horizon
Good morning and welcome to live coverage of today's action from the Giro with me, Felix Lowe, taking over the reins from Tom Owen, who was in the hot seat for the past two days. We have seven climbs peppering today's 158km stage - of which four are categorised and one, the final ascent, culminates on dirt roads. In total there's 3,400km of climbing on what should prove to be the hardest leg of the race so far. The official Twitter feed describes it as, if not the queen stage, then a queen stage - which goes to show how decisive the next four hours or so could be.
Wiggins: Both Bernal and Evenepoel 'vulnerable'
On the latest episode of The Bradley Wiggins Show podcast, the British cycling legend has told Eurosport how both Egan Bernal and Remco Evenepoel must be on their guard with potentially decisive moves likely in what could be a crucial Stage 9. Bernal and Evenepoel, both young and genuine superstars of the sport, have been tipped for glory at the Italian Grand Tour.
"I don't think anyone knows; I don't think he knows. in the last few days and it is the longest he has ever been into a race, isn't it. Nine months after he broke his pelvis last year.
It could just snap for him one day and he could lose a packet and I still think Bernal... I mean, they are both vulnerable, aren't they, because there is an element of the unknown with the pair of them.
"We just don't know. Is Bernal's back going to hold up for three weeks? But I think Ineos have the strongest team in the mountains. I think Bernal is going to put his mark down one day, potentially on Sunday as well.
"But is Evenepoel willing to push the envelope out enough to win the race? Or will he be satisfied, in his first Giro after nine months away, back racing to finish on the podium? Who knows!
Attila Valter held on to the pink jersey after a dramatic and eventful Stage 8 of the 2021 Giro d'Italia but the day belonged to France's Victor Lafay who grabbed a groundbreaking victory to cement his status as one of the top young riders in the world. The 25-year-old produced an inspired finish to take the win from Francesco Gavazzi.
Declared as the "next big French star" by Eurosport commentator Rob Hatch, he was welcomed to the big time with a stunning Grand Tour stage win.
It was Lafay's first pro win after making it into the day’s much-coveted breakaway, which took over an hour to get away up the road, with frenetic competition and even some brief periods where the peloton was split into echelons.
'They will go for it' - Wiggins predicts big Ineos and Bernal attack
Stage 9 could be the moment for Ineos and Egan Bernal to make their presence really felt with a serious attack at the 2021 Giro d'Italia, according to Bradley Wiggins. The British cycling legend has told Eurosport that he believes Ineos and Bernal will take the race to their rivals on Sunday and "put a marker down" by putting "their stamp on this race".
"I just think they don't mess around. They take the opportunities when they can," Wiggins told Eurosport on The Breakaway.
'They will go on the attack' - Wiggins predicts Ineos aggression on Stage 9
"They will want to put their stamp on this race. They did in the first week with Ganna.
I think they will go for it. They'll go on the offensive. They all want to put a marker down tomorrow.
"It could play out like that but I think they want to put Egan in a position to show the rest of the team that we're here and we mean business.
"I know Dave. It is not for their ego or anything like that. You are safest when you're in the peloton when you're at the front.
"They like that role, given the responsibility of having to ride every day. That is ultimately what they train for. That is what the team they have got here is for."
'It's chaos!' - Bernal told to go away in comical breakaway
- - -
You can watch the Giro d'Italia live and ad-free on the Eurosport app and Eurosport.co.uk. Download the Eurosport app for iOS and Android now. You can also watch the most comprehensive live & ad-free racing on GCN+. Go deeper and get interactive with live polls & quizzes, plus rider profiles, race updates, results & more – plus stream exclusive cycling documentaries. Watch it all with GCN+ on any device.