Become a Member

Get access to more than 30 brands, premium video, exclusive content, events, mapping, and more.

Already have an account? Sign In

Become a Member

Get access to more than 30 brands, premium video, exclusive content, events, mapping, and more.

Already have an account? Sign In

Brands

Giro d'Italia

Giro d’Italia: What the stars said after a dramatic stage 17 showdown

From Egan Bernal's struggles, to Dan Martin's stage win, and Simon Yates' attack, this is what the riders had to say about stage 17.

Don't miss a moment from Paris-Roubaix and Unbound Gravel, to the Giro d’Italia, Tour de France, Vuelta a España, and everything in between when you join Outside+.

Expect everything and discount nothing at the Giro d’Italia.

Stage 17 of the Italian grand tour delivered a huge upset in the overall classification as Egan Bernal (Ineos Grenadiers) showed his first signs of weakness. For the first time in the race, Bernal could not hold the wheel as Simon Yates (Team BikeExchange) went on the attack with João Almeida (Deceuninck-Quick-Step).

Despite the drama, Bernal lost just three seconds of his overall lead, but Yates took a huge chunk out of the Colombian’s advantage, and there are two more mountain stages to come.

Also read: Dan Martin goes solo for the win on steep slopes of Sega di Ala

Further down the GC, Hugh Carthy (EF Education-Nippo), Aleksandr Vlasov (Astana-Premier Tech), and Romain Bardet (Team DSM) all struggled with the high tempo, widening the gap in the overall classification.

Amidst all of that, Dan Martin, whose GC hopes were ended at the start of the second week, completed his collection of grand tour stage victories with a solo win after dropping the remains of the breakaway.

Here’s what the stars said after a dramatic day of racing on stage 17.

Dan Martin: Stage winner

Dan Martin’s GC ambitions took a serious slide backwards when he lost more than six minutes to the pink jersey on the gravel at the start of the second week. Since then, Martin has reassessed his goals for the Giro d’Italia and set out to win a stage.

Thanks to a huge effort from Team BikeExchange in the peloton, it looked as though the breakaway would be caught but a determined Martin held on for the win by a slim 13-second margin. The result moves him within touching distance of the top 10.

“I had information from Nicki [Sørensen] the whole climb and I knew what was going on. I knew from a recon of the climb that I just needed to get to two kilometers to go, so I rode at my pace on the steeper section and made a good tempo. Then I really went full gas with 2.5km to go because I knew they were coming close, and I could kill their morale.

“It wasn’t until then that I went all in. I think the shake of the head at the end showed that I didn’t believe it was happening. I still can’t believe it is happening. The race has been a rollercoaster for us as a team, we lost Krists [Neilands] on the first day, we had some seconds, thirds, and a lot of podiums and then we lost Alessandro De Marchi, who had been in the pink jersey, and then Alex get sick but our spirit has always been amazing. We’ve had a great team atmosphere.

“I didn’t think it was going to happen with the strong headwind, which killed the speed in the breakaway and killed our legs, but somehow I managed to hold on.”

Egan Bernal: Race leader, 7th on the stage

Egan Bernal has looked supreme throughout the entire Giro d’Italia, but the pink jersey showed his first signs of weakness under duress. Bernal lost the wheel of the Team BikeExchange rider on the final climb and had to be rallied along by his teammate Daniel Martínez.

In the end, Bernal gave away 53 seconds to Yates, but only gave away three seconds to his closest GC rival in Damiano Caruso. He will hope that it was an off-day and that there will be no more like it before Milan on Sunday.

“Today was a tough day for me, for sure. The last kilometers were really steep and I tried to follow Yates but today he was stronger than me. I just tried to arrive with Caruso, who is the closest in the GC. I didn’t want to take any risks. For sure, Yates was impressive today and I just tried to do my best.

“I’m happy because I didn’t lose too much time with Yates in today’s stage. Today was perfect for him and then with Caruso who is second in the GC I just lost a few meters. On a bad day today, I lost almost nothing with second on the GC. I have some advantage with Yates, so I need to just arrive with some time in Milan. If I win the Giro with one second or two minutes, then it is the same.”

Simon Yates: 3rd overall, 3rd on the stage

Team BikeExchange spent much of stage 17, drilling it on the front of the peloton and whittling down the riders and their reserves. Yates delivered a return on their investment far larger than they could have expected.

Yates attacked with just over three kilometers to the top of the final climb, forcing the first wobble of form from Bernal in the pink jersey. After a difficult day in the saddle Monday, Yates will be happy to have found his climbing legs again.

Simon Yates: “I didn’t realize that he was dropped until a bit later. I was already going full gas so it’s not like I could have accelerated or tried to increase the gap. I just hope the weather stays like this. It’s quite obvious that every day it has been raining I’ve not had a good day. So, hopefully the forecast will stay the same.

“We missed the breakaway and I wanted to have a go for the stage. By the time the breakaway had already gone it was only 60 or so kilometers before the first climb of the day, so it wasn’t a huge job. It wasn’t like we had to ride 200km on the front and burn off all the team. They did a great job so chapeau to them.”

Matt White (Team BikeExchange sport director): “It was a very important day and we took some very valuable time from our rivals. Simon did a very good ride, he felt very good coming out of the rest day and when people feel good, it is always a good time to test others.

“Obviously, we would have liked to win the stage, Dan Martin had a great ride, but our other plan today was to take time on our rivals, and we did that with a lot of success today.

“After the crazy first 60km to 70km settled, Simon said he felt good, and then the guys did an incredible job controlling the vast majority of the stage. The race is not over until it’s over. We have a very long day tomorrow then we go into two very challenging mountain stages on Friday and Saturday before Milan.”

Damiano Caruso: 2nd overall, fifth on the stage

Caruso has been one of the most consistent riders during this year’s Giro d’Italia as he finds himself as the leader for Bahrain-Victorious after the departure of Mikel Landa in the first week.

Like most other riders, Caruso struggled to hold the pace of Yates in the final kilometers of the stage, but he rode home with Bernal just behind him to gain three seconds on the pink jersey. With other riders faltering around him, Caruso continues to look on course for a podium finish.

“Today was one of the hardest stages of this Giro. The last hour and a half was really full gas, especially on the last climb it was super hard. Like I expected Yates attacked, and he made a difference on the climb. But I felt good, and I kept my tempo until the finish, and in the end the gap was not so big.

“I couldn’t follow him, so in any case I didn’t have another option. I just had to keep my tempo and when I saw the maglia rosa suffer like me, my morale went up because it was hard for everyone in this moment.”