Giro d'Italia - Stage 21 LIVE: Egan Bernal claims Giro crown as Filippo Ganna rules on Stage 21
Surely no one can stop Egan Bernal (Ineos Grenadiers) leaving the Giro d’Italia draped in the maglia rosa… Then again, time trials can throw up the odd late twist. Remember the crazy swap between Tadej Pogacar and Primoz Roglic at the Tour de France last year? Damiano Caruso is 1’59” back and bidding to stage a huge upset after winning Stage 20.
Perhaps the story of this Giro, 33-year-old Damiano Caruso takes his first ever pro victory on Saturday. A second place in the Giro GC on Sunday. What a weekend!
Yates crosses the line
Third overall – he'll be pleased with that I think, after a challenging first week. He has been near his best in flashes at this year's Giro, but lacking just a little bit of that consistency one needs for a Grand Tour victory.
This is it – victory is all-but-guaranteed...
Bernal is starting to show a bit of pain now, and his shoulders are rolling just a little – but he's got this in the bag. What a rider he is!
Caruso having a stormer – but Bernal in the driving seat
Caruso looks very, very good at the moment, but he's not making enough headway into that massive cushion Bernal built for himself over the first couple of weeks of the race.
Simon Yates sets a time of 23:47 at intermediate check number two. Caruso then goes through with 22:56. You'd have to say there's no chance of Yates changing his overall finish position now. He needs to find multiple minutes.
Bernal's time at the same time check is 23:19.
Top three go through the intermediate time check
So, Simon Yates is the first of our provisional podium to go through and he sets a first intermediate time of 11:05. Caruso manages 10:40. Then Bernal comes through with a time of 10:49.
The big news in terms of the GC top ten so far is that it looks bad for Hugh Carthy and good for Joao Almeida. The Portuguese is storming along and it seems he'll nick the Lancastrian's seventh place overall today.
Caruso and Bernal are off!
It would take something truly astonishing for Caruso to take two minutes from Bernal today, but if yesterday's heroics are anything to go by he will put his all into the effort. This is it then, the final 35 minutes of the Giro d'Italia.
Revved-up fans scream Italian Caruso towards glory
Bardet vs Martinez for fifth
There are little battles going on all through this time trial now. A top five is on the table for whichever of Bardet and Martinez emerges the stronger today. Bardet currently sits fifth, eight seconds ahead of Martinez. He isn't known for his TTing skills, however and that gap might just be bridgeable.
At the first intermediate, Martinez is nine seconds to the good.
Bettiol gets sixth, GC top ten are underway
The Italian has got a stage win in the bag already this Giro, but that hasn't stopped him giving it a go today. An admirable performance against the clock that caps a pretty decent race for him and his team.
We've just had Joao Almeida and Dani Martinez go off the ramp – and young Tobias Foss is already storming through the course.
Sobrero giving Groupama car a smack upside the head
Sobrero is right to be angry here, but he's also pretty fortunate not to have come off worse. The speed that these riders are carrying into that final tricky stretch, combined with cars and motorbikes unable to get quickly enough out of the way – it's a recipe for disaster, really.
'A disaster!' - Matteo Sobrero whacks Groupama-FDJ team car
Top three as it stands
I think we can be fairly confident that nobody else is going to break into this podium now.
Filippo Ganna: 33'48"
Remi Cavagna: 34'00"
Edoardo Affini: 34'01"
That Ganna bike change from earlier on
Luckily for the Italian it doesn't look at this moment like the mishap is going to lose him the stage.
Giro d'Italia: Ganna forced into bike change
Crazy scenes in the final section
After that bike change for Ganna, then a crash for Cavagna, we've just seen Sobrero get caught up in traffic – no, honestly – in the final few hundred metres of the stage. The Astana rider has actually struck the team car of another team with his hand in frustration there.
My word, so much drama in this final day TT. The Frenchman totally miscalculates a corner and he goes 'posterior over chest' into an advertising hoarding. Someone just got one heck of a video for their social media!
He is fine, it seems. He gets straight back up and hops onto his bike again and finishes second to Ganna. Gosh. What terrible luck.
Jan Tratnik comes home in fourth
But Cavagna is coming steaming in!
Second time check for Cavagna – and it's close!
The French champ goes through check number two 18 seconds down on Ganna at the same point – but! – Ganna had that terribly-timed puncture. This is going to be incredibly close between the two favourites.
Can Cavagna become the first person who is not Filippo Ganna to win a Giro time trial stage since 2019?
Cavagna 14 seconds down
The Frenchman is through the first intermediate check and he is 14 seconds down on Ganna already. It looks as though Ganna lost about 15 seconds due to that bike change, so the nails aren't in Cavagna's coffin just yet.
The TGV from Clermont Ferrand leaves the station
Remi Cavagna is just moments away from starting his effort. He is the likeliest rider to top Ganna's time, today – but it's not guaranteed, not even with that unfortunate flat tyre for the Italian.
Sagan waves to the crowd
The man wearing the ciclamino jersey (or perhaps I should say the ciclamino skinsuit) salutes the fans as he rolls across the line to seal his first points jersey in the Giro d'Italia.
Affini home in 34:01
He comes home in second place provisionally. He's still 12 seconds off the mark of 33:49 set by Ganna.
Oh my word! Nightmare for Ganna..
Ganna has had to take a bike change – and that might have scuppered his chances of a stage win. It looked like his back wheel had gone flat, either a punctured tube or a damaged wheel rim. The incident happened in the last kilometre, and he crosses the line shortly after – beating the current best time by 33 seconds. But how much time did he lose having to swap onto a new bike?
Ganna catches fourth 'minute man'
In case you were wondering whether he was on a good day or not, Ganna has just caught Davide Cimolai, who started a full four minutes before his compatriot. Ganna is managing to maintain speeds around 60km/h. Just phenomenal.
Affini, meanwhile, who we thought might challenge today, has ceded a lot of ground to Ganna, about 30 seconds.
Minali finishes his Giro
The last man in the race is the first one to finish today. He can head straight for the pub now, should he wish to. His time will only stand for a few minutes, I would think. It's a gorgeous final section and the finish itself is at the iconic cathedral in the centre of Milan. We just saw Minali lose his wheel for a second on one of the tricky turns at the end... will that become a feature of the day?
Ganna is off the ramp
And that heralds the beginning of the battle for the stage honours. I wouldn't be surprised to see Ganna spend the entire afternoon in the hotseat after this run. He is absolutely motoring along, as he has been all month, really.
Edoardo Affini of Jumbo-Visma is also underway. He was something of a surprise winner on the opening day of this Giro. It's been suggested that he might struggle over this longer distance (the opening TT was only nine kilometres).
We'll see the GC men right at the end of the afternoon, but before that in the next hour there are a few favourites for stage victory to watch out for.
Ganna is gonna take some beating today, I'd wager. He sat up nice and early yesterday.
The first rider off the ramp today will be Riccardo Minali at 12:45 BST. He gets this honour as the race's maglia nera AKA the last man on the general classification. They'll then start at one-minute intervals until about three o'clock, when the top dogs come out to play.
Vai, Riccardo! Only Five hours and thirty-four minutes you need to catch up to take pink, pal...
Hello, hello! And welcome to the end of the Giro. What an incredible final week it has been, and it all comes down to the race of truth. This afternoon we'll discover who has won the maglia rosa the dominant Egan Bernal, or the unexpected challenger Damiano Caruso. The odds are heavily in the Colombian's favour, but we've seen final-day meltdowns change the face of a Grand Tour before. In fact, we've seen it happen within the last year. Who could forget #PoorPrimoz?
Highlights: Pogacar set to win Tour de France after time trial thriller
Can Caruso stop Bernal?
Probably not, but here are the time gaps anyway...
1. Egan Bernal (Col) Ineos Grenadiers 85:41:47
2. Damiano Caruso (Ita) Bahrain Victorious +1:59
3. Simon Yates (GB) Team BikeExchange +3:23
4. Aleksandr Vlasov (Rus) Astana-Premier Tech +7:07
5. Romain Bardet (Fra) Team DSM +7:48
6. Daniel Martinez Poveda (Col) Ineos Grenadiers +7:56
7. Hugh Carthy (GB) EF Education-Nippo +8:22
8. João Almeida (Por) Deceuninck-QuickStep +8:50
9. Tobias Foss (Nor) Jumbo-Visma +12:39
10. Dan Martin (Ire) Israel Start-Up Nation +16:48
Stage 20 recap - Vintage Ineos put Bernal on cusp of Giro glory as Caruso wins
Egan Bernal is on the verge of winning the Giro d’Italia as Ineos Grenadiers played a blinder on Stage 20.
The Colombian’s closest challenger Damiano Caruso (Bahrain Victorious) rode away from Romain Bardet (Team DSM) on the final Cat. 1 climb to claim a popular win on home turf. But Bernal is unlikely to be too concerned, having finished just 24 seconds back to preserve his sizable lead of 1'59" ahead of Sunday’s time trial into Milan.
First Jonathan Castroviejo and then Dani Martinez guided the maglia rosa through the five-star mountain stage as Simon Yates (Team BikeExchange) – the man tipped to light up the penultimate stage – cracked in the final few kilometres.
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