Lorenzo Fortunato was a surprise but deserved winner on a brutal stage 14 of the Giro d'Italia, as overall leader Egan Bernal stretched his lead in the race for the maglia rosa.

Eolo-Kometa Cycling Team rider Fortunato was part of an 11-rider breakaway as the peloton climbed the iconic Zoncolan in the final stages of the 206.5 kilometre ride from Cittadella.

Together with Jan Tratnik (Bahrain Victorious), Fortunato slipped away from the rest of the pack and then attacked solo on the toughest part of the climb with around 2.3km left.

Tratnik was in view with around 1,000 metres to go but Fortunato held on for a win on what is his Grand Tour debut.

"The breakaway went easy all day but at the start of the Zoncolan I attacked and stayed behind Tratnik. My legs are very good and I'm very, very happy," he said after the stage.

Bernal (Ineos Grenadiers) finished fourth on the stage, having responded to a late attack from Simon Yates (Team BikeExchange) and responding with a move of his own on the Briton with only a few hundred metres remaining.

Yates is now second overall, one minute and 33 seconds back, with Damiano Caruso (Bahrain Victorious) a further 18 seconds behind in third.

Aleksandr Vlasov (Astana Premier Tech) had started the day second in the General Classification but could not reply to the moves made by Bernal and Yates, and now finds himself fourth overall.

"I think it’s a good gap, but I need to have focus," Bernal said. 

"Everything can happen in the Giro. It looks like 1:30 is enough time but you never know. I need to be calm with the gap."


STAGE RESULT

1. Lorenzo Fortunato (Eolo-Kometa Cycling Team) 5:17:22
2. Jan Tratnik (Bahrain Victorious) +00:26
3. Alessandro Covi (UAE Team Emirates) +00:59
4. Egan Bernal (Ineos Grenadiers) +1:43
5. Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo) +1:47

CLASSIFICATION STANDINGS

General Classification

1. Egan Bernal (INEOS Grenadiers) 58:30:47
2. Simon Yates (Team BikeExchange) +1:33
3. Damiano Caruso (Bahrain Victorious) +1:51

Points Classification

1. Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) 135
2. Giacomo Nizzolo (Team Qhubeka Assos) 126
3. Davide Cimolai (Israel Start-Up Nation) 113

King of the Mountains

1. Geoffrey Bouchard (AG2R Citroen Team) 96
2. Egan Bernal (INEOS Grenadiers) 57
3. Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo) 50

Giacomo Nizzolo finally came out on top in a sprint finish at the Giro d’Italia to win stage 13 as Egan Bernal retained his overall lead in the race.

Nizzolo had finished second on 11 occasions previously in the race, including missing out this year to Tim Merlier on stage two and Caleb Ewan at the end of stage five.

However, the Italian made sure he would not be denied on Friday, overhauling Edoardo Affini following a 198-kilometre journey from Ravenna to Verona.

"Finally I've got a stage victory at the Giro!" Nizzolo said. "Today I decided to launch a long sprint.

"I chose to risk staying too long in the wind rather than wait for too long behind other riders with the chance of being blocked. My choice paid off."

Affini appeared set to be rewarded for his late attack from long range, yet the Jumbo-Visma rider did not quite have enough to hold off the fast-finishing Nizzolo and had to settle for second place, just ahead of Peter Sagan.

As for the general classification, Bernal was able to stay safe and conserve some energy ahead of Saturday’s potentially pivotal stage that finishes on a climb up the famous Monte Zoncolan.

The Colombian crossed the line with the peloton to remain 45 seconds clear of Aleksandr Vlasov in the battle for the maglia rosa.

"Finally we had an easy day," Bernal said.

"It would be special to win atop the Zoncolan tomorrow but that means controlling the whole peloton, so I'd be happy if I just keep the maglia rosa."

STAGE RESULT

1. Giacomo Nizzolo (Team Qhubeka Assos) 4:42:19
2. Edoardo Affini (Jumbo-Visma) +0:00
3. Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) "
4. Davide Cimolai (Israel Start-Up Nation) "
5. Fernando Gaviria Rendon (UAE Team Emirates) "

CLASSIFICATION STANDINGS

General Classification

1. Egan Bernal (INEOS Grenadiers) 53:11:42
2. Aleksandr Vlasov (Astana-Premier Tech) +0:45
3. Damiano Caruso (Bahrain Victorious) +1:12

Points Classification

1. Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) 135
2. Giacomo Nizzolo (Team Qhubeka Assos) 126
3. Davide Cimolai (Israel Start-Up Nation) 113

King of the Mountains

1. Geoffrey Bouchard (AG2R Citroen Team) 96
2. Egan Bernal (INEOS Grenadiers) 48
3. Dries De Bondt (Alpecin-Fenix) 24

Egan Bernal produced a storming finish to win stage nine of the Giro d'Italia – a result good enough to see the Colombian take over as the new race leader.

Bernal claimed a long-overdue maiden Grand Tour stage triumph following a gruelling 157-kilometre ride from Castel di Sangro to Campo Felice that concluded with an uphill finish on a gravel track.

Geoffrey Bouchard and Koen Bouwman were involved in a breakaway group but were unable to remain clear, the duo overtaken within 500 metres of the line.

A determined Bernal pushed hard to claim potentially crucial time in the battle for the maglia rosa, finishing seven seconds clear of Giulio Ciccone and Alexandr Vlasov, who were second and third respectively.

The 2019 Tour de France winner now has a 15-second cushion over nearest rival Remco Evenepoel in the overall standings.

"I cannot believe what just happened, I just won my first stage in a Grand Tour," Bernal said in his post-race interview.

"I made a lot of sacrifices to get where I am now. I was thinking I would do well today but I was not sure whether I could have won the stage.

"My team-mates had a lot of confidence in me, they told me I could do it: this victory is for them, they really believe in me."

Attila Valter had held the pink jersey heading into the stage, yet he found the going tough on the final climb and finished almost a minute behind the stage winner.

Meanwhile, Matej Mohoric was taken to hospital following a dramatic crash during proceedings. Team Bahrain Victorious confirmed the Slovenian would undergo tests and was to be kept under observation, as per the UCI's concussion protocol.

Mohoric somersaulted over his handlebars after coming off during a descent, with his bike splitting apart after making contact with a crash barrier.


STAGE RESULT  

1. Egan Bernal (INEOS Grenadiers) 4:08:23
2. Giulio Ciccone (Trek-Segafredo) +07secs
3. Alexandr Vlasov (Astana-Premier Tech) "
4. Remco Evenepoel (Deceuninck-Quick Step) +10s
5. Daniel Martin (Israel Start-Up Nation) "

CLASSIFICATION STANDINGS

General Classification

1. Egan Bernal (INEOS Grenadiers) 35:19:22
2. Remco Evenepoel (Deceuninck-Quick Step) +0.15
3. Alexandr Vlasov (Astana-Premier Tech) +0.21

Points Classification

1. Tim Merlier (Alpecin-Fenix) 83
2. Giacomo Nizzolo (Team Qhubeka Assos) 76
3. Elia Viviani (Cofidis) 69

King of the Mountains
 
1. Geoffrey Bouchard (AG2R Citroen Team) 51
2. Egan Bernal (INEOS Grenadiers) 48
3. Gino Mader (Bahrain Victorious) 44

Caleb Ewan sprinted to his second victory of this year's Giro d'Italia and moved into the points jersey after his stage seven triumph.

The Lotto Soudal rider beat Davide Cimolai (Israel Start-up Nation) and Tim Merlier (Alpecin-Fenix) in a sprint finish at the end of a 181km stage from Notaresco to Termoli.

Australian Ewan, who also triumphed on stage five, now has five career stage wins at the Giro and 11 victories to his name across the three grand tours.

Towards the end of a quiet stage, Fernando Gaviria (UAE Team Emirates) - who ultimately finished sixth - made the first move but was unable to make it stick, with Ewan winning comfortably.

Attila Valter of Groupama-FDJ remains in the leader's pink jersey after finishing safely in the peloton. He is 11 seconds clear of Remco Evenepoel.

"It was a question of being smart and a lot of teamwork," stage winner Ewan said as he described the finish over some tight and twisty roads.

"There were a few points in the last 10km where we needed to be in the front so we didn't have to brake and we got a really good ride in. They did a really good job.

"My legs were burning at the end, it was basically sprinting for the last 450 metres with a slight uphill so it was a tough one.

"When Gavaria goes you know he has the strength and the speed to hold it. I had a bit of a run and really accelerated."
 

STAGE RESULT  

1. Caleb Ewan (Lotto Soudal) 4:42:12
2. Davide Cimolai (Israel Start-up Nation) same time
3. Tim Merlier (Alpecin-Fenix) "
4. Matteo Moschetti (Trek-Segafredo) "
5. Andrea Pasqualon (Intermarche - Wanty - Gobert Materiaux) "

CLASSIFICATION STANDINGS

General Classification

1. Attila Valter (Groupama-FDJ) 26:59:18
2. Remco Evenepoel (Deceuninck-Quick Step) +0.11
3. Egan Bernal (INEOS Grenadiers) +0.16

Points Classification         

1. Caleb Ewan (Lotto Soudal) 106
2. Tim Merlier (Alpecin-Fenix) 83
3. Giacomo Nizzolo (Team Qhubeka Assos) 76

King of the Mountains

1. Gino Mader (Bahrain Victorious) 26
2. Geoffrey Bouchard (AG2R Citroen Team) 18
3. Vincenzo Albanese (Eolo-Kometa) 16

Gino Mader climbed to the first professional victory of his career on stage six of the Giro d'Italia and Attila Valter took over as the race leader on Thursday.

Mader gave Bahrain Victorious a much-needed lift a day after their team leader Mikel Landa crashed out of the race.

The 24-year-old Swiss was among six riders who made a breakaway on the 160-kilometre route from Grotte di Frasassi on a miserable rainy day.

That group was increased to eight, but there was one man who went on his own up the 15km final ascent to the finish in Ascoli and it was Mader who went away to take the win.

Mader attacked with 3.3km to go in grim weather conditions and there was no catching him as he finished 12 seconds ahead of Egan Bernal, also taking over as the leader of king of the mountains.

His victory ensured for the first time in Giro history riders from different countries have won the opening six stages of the race.

Groupama-FDJ rider Valter took the maglia rosa from Alessandro De Marchi, becoming the first Hungarian to have that honour.

Valter leads Remco Evenepoel by 11 seconds, while 2019 Tour de France champion Bernal is only 16 seconds adrift of the new leader in third place.

Bernal showed no sign of the back problem that has troubled him, making a late attack to drop some of his general classification rivals after receiving great backing from his INEOS Grenadiers team-mates a day after Pavel Sivakov was forced to abandon the race.

 

STAGE RESULT  

1. Gino Mader (Bahrain Victorious) 4:17:52
2. Egan Bernal (INEOS Grenadiers) +0.12
3. Dan Martin (Israel Start-Up Nation) +0.12
4. Remco Evenepoel (Deceuninck–Quick-Step) +0.12
5. Giulio Ciccone (Trek–Segafredo) +0.14

CLASSIFICATION STANDINGS

General Classification

1. Attila Valter (Groupama-FDJ) 22:17:06
2. Remco Evenepoel (Deceuninck–Quick-Step +0.11
3. Egan Bernal (INEOS Grenadiers) +0.16

Points Classification        

1. Giacomo Nizzolo (Team Qhubeka Assos) 72
2. Elia Viviani (Cofidis) 68
3. Tim Merlier (Alpecin-Fenix) 58

King of the Mountains

1. Gino Mader (Bahrain Victorious) 26
2. Geoffrey Bouchard (AG2R Citroen Team) 18
3. Vincenzo Albanese (Eolo–Kometa) 18

INEOS Grenadiers started the defence of their Giro d'Italia title in some style on Saturday, as Filippo Ganna cruised to victory in the stage one time trial.

Tao Geoghegan Hart finished top of the general classification standings in 2020, and Ganna ensured INEOS hold the maglia rosa once more after day one. 

Ganna won the same stage last year – a 15km individual time trial from Monreale to Palermo – and repeated the feat on an 8.6km course in Turin this time around.

The defending time trial world champion, who won four stages in total in the 2020 Giro, went round in a time of 8:47, beating Edoardo Affini (Jumbo-Visma) by 10 seconds.

Affini and his team-mate Tobias Foss had looked well placed after their efforts, but Ganna ultimately had far too much power as he claimed what is the third-fastest individual time trial record in Giro history.

"It was a lot of time waiting in the hot seat at the finish, but I've won the stage, I'm here, and I'm really happy," Ganna, who recorded an estimated average speed of 58.748kmph, said in a flash interview.

"Now, we think about tomorrow, and recovering, because this Giro is really hard. I have this amazing victory."

Ganna is the first rider to wear the pink jersey after stage one of successive Giros since Francisco Moser in 1984 and 1985, while only Diego Ulissi (eight) and Vincenzo Nibali (seven) have won more stages in the event of the riders taking part this year.

Deceuninck-Quick Step riders Joao Almeida, Remi Cavagna and Remco Evenepoel all claimed top 10 finishes, while only a second separated GC favourites Simon Yates (Team BikeExchange) and Egan Bernal (INEOS Grenadiers), who recorded times of 9:07 and 9:08 respectively.

STAGE RESULT 

1. Filippo Ganna (INEOS Grenadiers) 8:47
2. Edoardo Affini (Jumbo-Visma) +00:10
3. Tobias Foss (Jumbo-Visma) +00:13
4. Joao Almeida (Deceuninck-Quick-Step) +00:17
5. Remi Cavagna (Deceuninck-Quick-Step) +00:41

CLASSIFICATION STANDINGS

General Classification

1. Filippo Ganna (INEOS Grenadiers) 8:47
2. Edoardo Affini (Jumbo-Visma) +00:10
3. Tobias Foss (Jumbo-Visma) +00:13

Points Classification

1. Filippo Ganna (INEOS Grenadiers) 15
2. Edoardo Affini (Jumbo-Visma) 12
3. Tobias Foss (Jumbo-Visma) 9

King of the Mountains

N/A

The Giro d'Italia returns to its usual spot on the calendar after its coronavirus-delayed scheduling last year and it promises to be another classic.

It was not until October that last season's event took place, with Ineos Grenadiers rider Tao Geoghegan Hart taking the honours for his first Grand Tour triumph.

However, the Briton's primary target in 2021 is the Tour de France so he will not be wearing the maglia rosa in Milan at the end of the month.

Here is a rundown of everything you need to know about this year's Giro.

 

THE ROUTE

It is 3,479 kilometres of hard graft from the start in Torino on May 8 to the finish line in Milan 22 days later.

That spans 21 stages, with two rest days, beginning and ending with individual time trials.

In between are some punishing days in the saddle, including seven major mountain stages and brief trips into Slovenia and Switzerland along the way.

All eyes will be on what could be a pivotal day in the mountains on stage 16, which takes in climbs up Passo Fedaia and the Passo Giau in the Dolomites.

The literal high point of the race – though perhaps not at all figuratively for the competitors – will also come on that day atop the Passo Pordoi, at 2,239m above sea level.

THE CONTENDERS

There is little to split Simon Yates and Giro debutant Egan Bernal in the bookies' odds, with stiff competition from elsewhere in the pack.

Bernal is from the rich stock of Ineos Grenadiers' stable and will have the backing of a strong team, as will Team BikeExchange's Yates.

Both have Grand Tour successes under their belts, Bernal winning the 2019 Tour, while Yates prevailed at the 2018 Vuelta a Espana.

Given that Geoghegan Hart was not giving any billing ahead of last year's race, it would be remiss to exclude supposed 'outsiders' from the reckoning.

On that front, Joao Almeida (Deceuninck-QuickStep) and Bernal's team-mate Pavel Sivakov would be two to look out for, while 2020 runner-up Jai Hindley (DSM) cannot be discounted.

 

PAST WINNERS

2020: Tao Geoghegan Hart 

2019: Richard Carapaz

2018: Chris Froome

2017: Tom Dumoulin 

2016: Vincenzo Nibali

EXPERT INSIGHT

Tour winner and five-time Olympic champion Bradley Wiggins shed some light on the supposed fragility of Bernal, suggesting the dynamic with Sivakov could prove problematic.

Wiggins favours Yates instead and suggested he could be joined on the podium by fellow Briton Hugh Carthy.

"The air of invincibility around Bernal has now gone after his failure at the Tour last year due to injury," Wiggins told Cyclingnews.

"There are question marks over his form and if he's through the period of being able to get through three weeks of racing without problems for his back.

"But for me this is Simon Yates' moment. He's won the Vuelta and it's been three years since he won that race and he dominated the Giro until Chris Froome did what he did.

"We could have two British riders [Yates and Carthy] on the podium and I think that it's going to be great race, I really do."

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