GIRO D'ITALIA Men | Stage 17
New top 5
1. Egan Bernal
2. Damiano Caruso +2:21
3. Simon Yates +3:32
4. Aleksandr Vlasov +6:03
5. Hugh Carthy +6:09
2. Damiano Caruso +2:21
3. Simon Yates +3:32
4. Aleksandr Vlasov +6:03
5. Hugh Carthy +6:09
Tour de France
How Ineos' Tour de France turned sour...
Carthy almost four minutes down
Hugh Carthy is paced home by teammate Alberto Bettiol and with that time loss he will drop back off the podium at the expense of Yates today. There will be some interesting moves in the top 10 today.
Bernal almost a minute down
The Colombian crosses the line around one minute down on Yates - and he lost a few seconds to Damiano Caruso there, too. His losses are not huge - but with two more mountain stages to go, plus the final time trial, these events have reinvigorated the GC battle, that's for sure.
Dan Martin wins Stage 17!
Twice a stage winner in both the Vuelta and Tour, the Irishman completes his grand slam with victory on Sega di Ala. The Israel Start-Up Nation rider was the only man from the break to hold off the returning bunch.
Almeida comes in to take second and Yates third... now let's start the clock...
What a ride by Martin, who has deep and will win this stage - even though Almeida has just put in a big dig to drop Yates under the flamme rouge. Bernal, meanwhile, is with Martinez alongside Bahrain duo Caruso and Bilbao.
2km to go: Bernal caught by Caruso
The maglia rosa is in a world of pain! He can't even maintain the pace being set by his teammate Martinez, who is trying to gee him up and urge him to stick to his wheel. But Caruso is now back and they trail Yates by 40 seconds already! The Briton and Almeida are still 28 seconds behind Martin, so the Irishman may hold on...
3km to go: Bernal in difficulty!
After being joined by Yates, Bernal and Martinez, the Portuguese puts in another dig top open up a gap. In his wake, as Bernal and Martinez have a little exchange, Yates steps on the pedals to force a reply. They pass and drop Almeida. But the maglia rosa can't maintain the Briton's pace and suddenly pops.
Yates rides on and is joined by Almeida again as they catch Pedrero. All this spells danger for Martin, whose lead is down to 30 seconds.
4km to go: Almeida attacks, then Yates
The Portuguese makes the first move ahead of the steep section. And given his 10-minute deficit on GC, there is no reaction from Bernal or his Ineos teammates. This is a good move for Almeida - but Martin still has 1'15". Then things explode behind when Yates puts in at attack from behind - taking Bernal and Martinez with him. The others have no reply.
5km to go: Carthy and Bardet dropped
With two of his rivals in difficulty, Bernal looks over his shoulder to see the lay of the land. It looks like he's about to put in an attack. Just 10 left now as they go through a tunnel. Martin, meanwhile, has hit that ledge now with 1'10" over the chasers, who are about to pick up Moscon. Diego Ulissi is in this main group, too. He was in the break.
Bardet rides in a group with DSM teammate Michael Storer as well as Foss, who has George Bennett. Carthy is there with Bettiol and Fortunato.
6km to go: will any attacks come?
Lone leader Martin is now on the 11% section just ahead of the mid-climb ledge where he'll get a little breather ahead of the steepest part, which ramps up to 17%. He still has 1'15" but that will all change if attacks come in from behind. Pedrero and Moscon are still up the road but I think Bouchard has been caught - no, scrap that, he's still there, just ahead of the Ineos rider. Fortunato the latest to buckle...
7km to go: Martin maintains gap
The Irishman is speaking into his radio but he's keeping his 1'30" lead over the chasers, who still have Castroviejo and Martinez tapping out tempo. Vlasov and Ciccone have been well and truly dropped now. There are about 16 riders in this maglia rosa group including the likes of Caruso, Bilbao, Carthy, Yates, Bettiol, Almeida, Bardet, Foss, Bouwman and Fortunato - the man who won on the Zoncolan.
9km to go: Vlasov in trouble
Astana disappear from the front because their man in white, Aleksandr Vlasov, is struggling on the back of this group of 20-odd riders. That allows Castroviejo and Martinez to take control ahead of Bernal, who has Caruso and Carthy tucked in behind. The easing in tempo has played into Martin's hands: he now has 1'30".
Oh, and poor Ciccone: he fought back into this main group but he's now being dropped and riding just behind Vlasov.
10km to go: Dan Martin soloes clear
First Moscon and Bouchard went, then Pedrero... and the Irishman rides on in pursuit of the stage win that would complete his Grand Tour grand slam. But his gap is only one minute back to the peloton, which is being led by Fabio Felline of Astana and Jonathan Castroviejo of Ineos Grenadiers. Surely Egan Bernal is a shoo-in for his third stage win now?
11.5km to go: Cat.1 Sega di Ala
Our six leaders hang a left and hit this final climb with a gap of 1'40" over the Quick-Step-led main pack, which has Serry and Knox - who were in the break - pacing for Almeida. It's 11.2km at 9.8% with a maximum gradient of 17% and pretty much double-digit gradients for the entire first two thirds of the climb, save for a small downhill ledge.
This is the first time the Giro has used this climb - although it featured in the Giro del Trentino in 2013 when Vincenzo Nibali, in his Astana days, won at the top. Nibali's current teammate Ciccone appears to be back with the main field now.
16km to go: another bike change for Ciccone
The Italian needs a new bike - and it was a bike change which preceded this whole chaotic passage of play. As Ciccone swings to the right of the road and his Trek car slams on the brakes, there's a prang in the car convoy behind between Ineos and BikeExchange...
Serry and Knox, meanwhile, have sat up from the chase group. Then, just as they return to the main pack, Serry spots that Almeida is still there, so he comes to the front to set tempo in the hope to pave the way for the Portuguese. Bravo! Superb selflessness there...
19km to go: four becomes six
Ravanelli and Carboni have joined Moscon, Martin, Pedrero and Bouchard on the front. They have a quartet of Serry, Knox, Hirt and Badilatti behind. Ciccone, meanwhile, is still 30 seconds behind the GC favourites and without any Trek teammates after Nibali and Ghebreigzabhier went down in that spill.
22km to go: Evenepoel continues
That's a relief - the Belgian is able to get back on his bike and continue the stage. But he'll just soft-pedal here on in you'd imagine. That must have been quite a scare for the 21 year old. There were Astana riders involved in that but it can't have been Vlasov because he's still in this main GC group and with some teammates, too. It is possibly I mistook the Astana jersey for Movistar or Eolo-Kometa - they're very similar.
Here's what happened in that crash:
24km to go: Evenepoel being attended
He's up on his feet but being checked out by the race doctor. He would have cut himself on the guardrail - on the arm and back, probably. Ciccone, meanwhlle, is still 30 second behind and battling back into contention. He looked to have some issues with his bike, but his body seems ok. Another BikeExchange rider to go down was Nick Schultz, which was a blow for Yates because the Australian hadn't done his pulling shift yet. Yates now has Tanel Kangert on the front for him.
27km to go: CRASH!
Trek and Astana are involved in a big spill - Evenepoel as well. That happened as Nibali, Ciccone and Ghebreigzabhier were battling back on. Ciccone looked to be unscathed but his two teammates went down badly. Poor Evenepoel was on the back and had to hit the barriers to avoid slamming into the pile of bodies and bikes - and that would have brought back memories of his Il Lombardia spill because the Belgian almost went over the barriers there. He looks pretty bashed up and he has Mikel Nieve checking up on him.
32km to go: Ciccone bike change
Trek-Segafredo have the wind knocked from their sails after Giulio Ciccone picks up a puncture and needs a bike change. Nibali and Ghebreigzabhier also stop - and they're using a slight uphill ledge before the main part of the descent to do this change. But it probably means that anything they may have tried will now have to be forgotten in favour of fighting back into contention. A big shame, that.
Our four leaders have 30" on the chasing duo and 2'30" over the pack.
38km to go: Evenepoel back with pack
Remco Evenepoel has returned from the dead. It looks like he was well out of the frame - but the ease with which the Belgian has just ridden back into contention is as wonderful as it is confusing. Perhaps he's suddenly feeling up for it today? Or has a second wind? Or only dropped back for a mechanical or a chat with the team car? Great stuff.
Bouchard, meanwhile, picks up the maximum 40pts over the top of this climb, before slotting in right at the back of the quartet on this descent. He stuffs some food in his mouth to help fuel his descent. The leaders have Ravanelli and Carboni at 39 seconds and then Quick-Step teammates Serry and Knox a bit further back. The main pack go over at 2'52" as they start jostling for positions ahead of this descent. Pello Bilbao is there for Bahrain-Victorious teammate Damiano Caruso...
40km to go: descent will be key
It's going to be interesting to see what happens on the descent before the final climb. Will someone like Nibali go for it? The Shark is still there in the main pack with Trek teammates Ciccone and Ghebreigzabhier. They are just catching the Spanish national champion Sanchez, who may slip in to help out his Astana teammate Aleksandr Vlasov, who still has a lot of support - but a long way back in this main pack.
Bouchard, meanwhile, has managed to catch the leaders so we now have four ahead - and the Frenchman will do his best to take maximum KOM points to extend his lead in the blue jersey standings. Bouchard doesn't descent very well and so he's probably seeing this summit as the stage finish for him.
42km to go: Martin accelerates
The remnants of this break has been blown apart by the Irishman, who rides clear with Mascon and Pedrero. They have Bouchard in pursuit after the Frenchman caught and passed Badilatti. There's is still another 4km to go of this beautiful climb, which snakes up through trees and is now running below a dramatic ridge.
45km to go: 12 leaders remain
Moscon is now having a pull. Also left here in this break is Bouchard, Ravanelli, Sanchez, Carboni, Knox, Serry, Badilatti, Hirt, Martin, Conti and Pedrero. The gap is 2'20".
47km to go: Nieve comes to the front
On his 37th birthday, Mikel Nieve comes to the front to take up the BikeExchange relay after Callum Scotson peeled off and went out the back. The gap is still 3'08" for the breakaway with Martin, once again, on the front to set the pace. Bouchard did a pull, while Carboni and Ravenelli continue to help out.
Jhonatan Narvaez has now been dropped by the pack so Egan Bernal only has Jonathan Castroviejo and Dani Martinez now - although Moscon is up the road. That said, Hugh Carthy only has Alberto Bettiol - so EF Education-Nippo are also suffering from this pace set by Nieve.
48km to go: Evenepoel dropped
The Belgian tyro has already been distanced on this climb. He knows his GC push is over so this could be planned - he's maybe keeping his powder dry for a push to win stage 19 or 20 later this week.
Dan Martin, meanwhile, is doing the most work now on the front of the break, which is a dangerous game because he's giving others a free ride. He should be maintaining his energy for the final climb but he's got nervous and is clearly worried about BikeExchange behind. The break appears to have lost a few others, too. Yes - Mosca, Grossschartner, Covi and Hermans have all dropped back a little.
50km to go: Martin setting tempo
The Irishman pushes things on the front of the break before dropping back to let the others do the honours. Ravenelli and Carboni combine on the front. Then local boy Gianni Moscon takes a relay - and he said this morning that today's final climb is harder than the Zoncolan... It's definitely one of the most challenging final 50km in this Giro - if not, the hardest - in light of the scrapping of the Fedaia and Pordoi on Monday.
52km to go: Cat.1 Passo di San Valentino
No sooner has the break hit the start of this 14.8km climb at 7.8% than Matteo Jorgenson peels off and sits up, his work for the day done. He'll now hope that Movistar teammate Antonio Pedrero can finish things off - the Spaniard, remember, was the last of the escapees to be caught by Bernal on the Giau on Monday.
De Bondt is the next to pop, then Pasqualon. So the break is already thinning out quickly - with the gap down to 3'15" as BikeExchange lead the pack onto the climb. Cameron Meyer, understandably after that big shift, is one of the first to fold.
55km to go: BikeExchange add more weight to chase
With the next ascent coming up, BikeExchange now have six riders on the front of the pack as they continue to pave the way for what we expect is a move from Simon Yates. The Briton dropped from second to fifth on Monday after struggling on the Passo Giau in the rain. He's now a whopping 4'20" down so will be hoping a stage win will reignite his push for the podium, if not for pink.
60km to go: bike change for De Bondt
The Belgian champion signals his team car and then swings to the side of the road to switch bikes. He'll have a battle to get back on because the pace is super high in the break, with the lead fluctuating around the four-minute mark as they sweep along the valley and past fields of vineyards and fruit trees.
80km to go: bickering in the break
There's some verbal handbags between a rider from Intermarche and a rider from UAE - I think it's Pasqualon and Ulissi - on the front of the break. They clearly can't make up their mind on pacing duties and the like. Bouchard takes the opportunity to come forward and ride clear for a short while before it comes back. There's clearly something that's not right - and it's reflected in the gap, which is down to 3'45". Behind, the peloton is all strung out and it looks like there's a bit of wind, too.
84km to go: gap comes down
Cameron Meyer, Michael Hepburn and Chris Juul-Jensen still front the peloton ahead of the Ineos and EF Education-Nippo trains of race leader Egan Bernal and third-place Hugh Carthy. They have managed to reduce the lead of this 19-man break to four minutes - and it increasingly doesn't look very promising for this move. It's the American Matteo Jorgenson of Movistar who is doing the lion's share of tempo-setting with Dan Martin - but there are still some passengers and this is a long slog up the Trento valley to the foot of the next climb.
99km to go: De Bondt wins intermediate sprint
It's the voracious Belgian champion - a firm fixture in breakaways in this Giro - who takes the intermediate sprint points and top prize in Trento ahead of Pasqualon and Carboni. We've reached the end of that long descent now and BikeExchange have now send a third man onto the front of the pack - the Australian Cameron Meyer - with the gap still at five minutes.
110km to go: Team BikeExchange enter the fray
With the gap growing to five minutes for the 19 leaders, BikeExchange send Michael Hepburn and Chris Juul-Jensen to the front of the pack ahead of the Ineos train. They clearly fancy teeing things up for Simon Yates later on - and that could probe a big obstacle to this breakaway.
120km to go: Dan Martin best placed in break
The Irishman is the best placed rider in this break - just over 15 minutes down in 12th place. He's probably eyeing an opportunity to win a maiden Giro stage (which would complete his Grand Tour grand slam) while getting back into the top 10 today. It will be a big ask unless this break builds up a larger lead. For now, it's approaching thr four-minute mark so it's getting bigger, but still in the balance.
125km to go: Breakaway splits
The descent from this climb is very gradual for 10km before a steeper drop down to the Trento valley. With Ineos Grenadiers coming to the front of the peloton behind to restore order once the chasing group was reeled in, the gap has grown and is now two minutes. But all is not happy families in this 19-man move - there are many passengers, with Martin very keen to push on. Sanchez pushes on the descent and manages to force a little split, which will add to the tension.
130km to go: 1'00" for the 19 escapees
The break features Gianni Moscon (Ineos Grenadiers), Geoffrey Bouchard (Ag2R-Citroen), Dries De Bondt (Alpecin-Fenix), Simone Ravenelli (Androni Giacattoli), Luis Leon Sanchez (Astana-Premier Tech), Giovanni Carboni (Bardiani-CSF), Felix Grossschartner (Bora-Hansgrohe), James Knox and Pieter Serry (Deceuninck Quick-Step), Matteo Badilatti (Groupama-FDJ), Jan Hirt, Quinten Hermens and Andrea Pasqualon (Intermarche-Wanty-Gobert), Dan Martin (Israel Start-Up Nation), Matteo Jorgenson and Antonio Pedrero (Movistar), Jacopo Mosca (Trek-Segafredo), Valerio Conti, Alessandro Covi and Diego Ulissi (UAE Team Emirates).
134km to go: De Bondt denies Bouchard points
Not for the first time in this Giro, the Belgian national champion Dries De Bondt (Alpecin-Fenix) skips clear to surprise Bouchard and pip the Frenchman to maximum points over the summit of the Sveseri climb. Very peculiar and I can only speculate on his motivations... The Belgian was on 30pts in the blue jersey standings this morning - with Bouchard on 136. So he really has no interest in the competition. Still, he pockets 9pts and leaves just the 4pts for the blue jersey.
136km to go: Still very unsettled
After Giovanni Carboni (Bardiani-CSF) ended the peloton ceasefire with an attack, he was joined by a Bora-Hansgrohe rider and a couple of others before Davide Formolo pounced and started to dance clear. This then provokes a response behind and the peloton all splits up again on the climb - and that results in the break's advantage coming down to 50 seconds.
George Bennett and Gorka Izagirre are among the riders who have reacted to this move by Formolo - and a chase group is closing in on Brambilla...
138km to go: Cat.3 Sveseri
The race is onto the first climb of the day, a 3.3km ascent at 8.4%. The gap is up to over one minute now with Brambilla still trying to bridge over. George Bennett, the Kiwi champion who has some previous with Brambilla, tried to chase down the Italian but it came to nothing.
140km to go: Brambilla tries to bridge
With the peloton slowing, now is the chance to enter the fray - and that's exactly what Gianluca Brambilla is attempting to do. His target is a large group of around 20 riders. Some of the names of note in the break are: Geoffrey Bouchard, Gianni Moscon, Luis Leon Sanchez, James Knox, Felix Grossschartner, Dan Martin, Jan Hirt and Diego Ulissi...
145km to go: break caught
It's Sanchez who delivers the final blow to that break and now we have another cluster of around 20 riders who have opened up a gap - and Bouchard, the blue jersey, is there again, as is Dan Martin. And it looks like the peloton is finally going to let this one go...
150km to go: four becomes eight
Andrea Pasqualon (Intermarche-Wanty-Gobert), Matteo Jorgenson (Movistar) and UAE Team Emirates duo Valerio Conti and Alessandro Covi have managed to join the leaders. The gap is still very small and behind it's Astana who are in the mix having missed out, with Luis Leon Sanchez, the Spanish champion, leading the way.
155km to go: new leading quartet
It doesn't take long for things to change - and there were just too many riders in too many groups trying to get over to that previous leading trio. Now there's a more promising move off the front made up of the blue jersey Geoffrey Bouchard (Ag2R-Citroen) and three Belgians - Dries de Bondt (Alpecin-Fenix), Pieter Serry (Deceuninck Quick-Step) and Quinten Hermans (Intermarche-Wanty-Gobert). They have four riders in pursuit just ahead of another long line of interested parties...
160km to go: Three clear
Simone Ravanelli (Androni Giacattoli), Rein Taaramae (Intermarche-Wanty-Gobert) and Einer Rubio (Movistar) have a small gap on the front of the pack, from which a large chase group seems to be extricating itself. They're about 20km from the foot of the first lower-category climb, where things should settle a little.
Bernal to win the Giro - but by how much?
Any question marks over Egan Bernal’s condition entering this Giro d’Italia have been answered emphatically by both the Colombian and his impregnable Ineos Grenadiers team. With just five stages remaining – can anyone stop the 24-year-old from winning the 104th edition of La Corsa Rosa by the biggest margin in eight years? Only himself.
Grand Tours nowadays – and in particular, the Giro – get won by seconds, not minutes. And yet Bernal is on course to set the biggest winning margin since Vincenzo Nibali’s gulf of 4’43” over Rigoberto Uran in 2013. Given the way he – and his rivals – are riding, it could yet even surpass the Shark.
It would take something special for Bernal to top Ivan Basso’s nine-minute-plus demolition of Jose Enrique Gutierrez in 2006, but you wouldn't bet against the man on this showing.
Full rest-day opinion piece below... and above a video of a man with a chainsaw on the Passo Giau...
Watch shocking footage of fans running with chainsaw next to Bernal
168km to go: Gougeard again
Another pop from the Frenchman. He's then joined by nine others, including Dan Martin. The Irishman has been in the mix today so far and clearly wants to salvage something from his race after falling off the GC radar. But then a few more try to bridge over - and it looks like the whole game will begin again...
172km to go: Gougeard goes clear
Frenchman Alexis Gougeard is the latest Ag2R-Citroen rider to try his luck but he's reeled in after a handful of riders manage to bridge over, pulling the rest of the pack along in the process. Fernando Gaviria, oddly enough, has also been fairly active so far - although we'd expect this one was more for his teammate Davide Formolo, who lives quite near the finish today so could be eyeing a win.
180km to go: Still no break
Larry Warbasse (Ag2R-Citroen) and Simone Petilli (Intermarche-Wanty-Gobert) are the latest riders to be thwarted, with that man Honore dragging the strung-out peloton back. Ag2R and Intermarche are both very active in these opening kilometres - as are Movistar and Quick-Step. For the Belgian team we've had James Knox, Pieter Serry and Iljo Keisse all testing their legs as well as Honore.
188km to go: Very active start
Mikel Honore of Quick-Step tried his luck - as did a duo from Movistar. But the fast downhill roads are not making it easy. The latest move comes from a pair of Intermarche-Wanty-Gobert riders - perhaps Jan Hirt and Andrea Pasqualon - who have opened up a small gap on the pack, which has Israel Start-Up Nation on the front and leading the chase.
193km to go: Stage 17 under way
And the attacks come from the get-go with Samuele Zoccarato of Bardiani-CSF darting clear and provoking a response by eight or nine others. With the first section of this stage going downhill, it's going to be a fierce contest to make the break - especially given so many teams will now want to salvage something from the race. I'm thinking Deceuninck Quick-Step who are now out of the GC picture following Remco Evenepoel's implosion on the Giau.
Riders rolling through the neutral zone...
Ciao regazzi! And welcome back to our live coverage of the 104th edition of the Giro. Are we all rested from the rest day? The sun is back in the Dolomites after that wash-out on Monday. The peloton has rolled out of Canazei and are approaching the official start of today's 193km Stage 17. It includes 3,400m of climbing including three categorised climb, culminating with a new ascent for the Giro - the Cat.1 double-digit slop up the Sega di Ala. Here's the profile...
Shocking footage emerges of fans wielding chainsaws near Bernal
Some pretty alarming footage emerged on Tuesday of fans appearing to be wielding chainsaws running next to Bernal during Stage 16.
Owing to the bad weather in the Dolomites, much of Monday’s shortened stage played out rather mysteriously behind closed doors.
But on Tuesday morning, a shocking clip began to circulate on social media of two fans appearing to be wielding chainsaws running alongside the Ineos star as he embarked on one of the many tricky climbs.
Watch shocking footage of fans running with chainsaw next to Bernal
Stage 16 recap
A blistering attack that no one saw resulted in Egan Bernal strengthening his already solid grip on the general classification after the Colombian race leader powered clear on the Passo Giau to win a weather-shortened Stage 16 in the Dolomites.
Heavy rain, freezing temperatures and dense fog meant the live television images from the host broadcaster fizzed out moments after the 24-year-old put in his decisive attack on the highest climb of the 2021 Giro.
Bernal rode clear of a group of race favourites a few kilometres from the 2,233m summit of the Passo Giau, skipping past the remaining four escapees from the day’s initial breakaway of 24 riders, before tackling the long descent to Cortina which played out in challenging conditions we could only imagine.
By the time Bernal appeared for the fixed cameras in the final kilometre, the Ineos Grenadier leader had held off a late downhill charge from Romain Bardet and Damiano Caruso to secure the stage win – his second of the race.
Read the full report here.
Watch unseen footage from Bernal's remarkable attack on Stage 16
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