Giro d'Italia: Bettiol storms to maiden stage victory as Bernal retains overall lead

By Sports Desk May 27, 2021

Alberto Bettiol chased down Remi Cavagna on the final climb to claim victory on stage 18 ​of the Giro d'Italia on a day that saw Egan Bernal retain his lead.

EF Education-Nippo rider Bettiol was part of a 23-strong breakaway when starting his pursuit with 15 kilometres remaining and caught Cavagna with six to go on the longest stage of the race.

The 2019 Tour of Flanders winner went solo from that point on to earn his maiden win on home soil and his team's first stage triumph at this year's race, while Cavagna slipped down to ninth.

"I really wanted a victory like this," Bettiol said. "I had already come close on a couple of occasions. 

"This morning Hugh [Carthy] gave me the green light to go on the attack. I want to thank him and the whole team. I didn't want to miss this opportunity."

Bettiol finished 17 seconds ahead of a congested pack, with Simone Consonni second after pipping Nicolas Roche on the line in Thursday's 231km journey from Rovereto to Stradella.

The peloton were around 23 minutes further back as Bernal enjoyed a stress-free day on the mostly-flat surface to hold on to the maglia rosa, having finally showed signs of weakness on Wednesday.

He will head into the three remaining stages with a two minute and 21 seconds lead over Damiano Caruso, while Simon Yates is three minutes and 23 seconds behind.

Friday's 166km stage 19, which has been rerouted following a tragic cable car crash earlier this week, takes the riders from Abbiategrasso to Alpe di Mera and gives Caruso and Yates another chance to chase down the race leader.

"I hope I've recovered well. I felt much better on the bike than yesterday and I hope tomorrow will be another good day," Bernal said.

"It's difficult to say I'm super confident – I'm just trying to do my best.  I have a lot of respect for the other guys and I need to be focused and do my best, that's it."

 

STAGE RESULT

1. Alberto Bettiol (EF Education-Nippo) 5:14:43
2. Simone Consonni (Cofidis) +00:17
3. Nicolas Roche (Team DSM) +00:18
4. Nikias Arndt (Team DSM) +00:18
5. Diego Ulissi (UAE Emirates) +00:18

CLASSIFICATION STANDINGS

General Classification

1. Egan Bernal (INEOS Grenadiers) 77:10:18
2. Damiano Caruso (Bahrain Victorious) +02:21
3. Simon Yates (Team BikeExchange) +03:23

Points Classification

1. Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) 135
2. Davide Cimolai (Israel Start-Up Nation) 113
3. Fernando Gaviria (UAE Emirates) 110

King of the Mountains

1. Geoffrey Bouchard (AG2R Citroen Team) 180
2. Egan Bernal (INEOS Grenadiers) 109
3. Dan Martin (Israel Start-Up Nation) 79

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    2. Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) 179
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    2. Romain Bardet (Team DSM) 61
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