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With TV helicopters and transmission aircraft grounded due to deteriorating weather conditions, coverage was stripped back to patchy shots from race motos throughout the stage. Coverage blacked out in the final 20 kilometers as relays from race radios tracked Bernal’s winning move over the Giau.
Bernal’s unseen attack leaves him with an even stronger grip on pink. GC threats Simon Yates and Aleksandr Vlasov lost out, and Remco Evenpoel lost bucketloads of time. Contrastingly, Giulio Ciccone and Romain Bardet made gains.
So what was happening on the mist-shrouded mountain?
Here’s what the stars said about it:
Egan Bernal: Stage-winner, race leader
Egan Bernal (Ineos Grenadiers) attacked midway through the climb of the Giau, pulling clear of a bunch of GC contenders with a searing move that swept past the remnants of the breakaway.
The television coverage cut out soon afterward and did not return until cameras tracked Bernal ripping through the final 500 meters of the stage before sitting up to strip off his rain jacket to reveal his pink jersey as he took his second win of the race.
Bernal now sits 2:24 ahead on GC.
“It’s a great victory. To win with the maglia rosa is special and I wanted to show it.”
“I wanted to do something special today. I wanted to show I am back in the game. The team believed in me during the stage and I just tried to go and do something special.”
“The was hard, but when the race is hard because of the weather you need to be hard with the mentality. I had the mentality at the start of the race and I kept it. It was a day to suffer and we did it.”
Passo Giau 🏔️@Eganbernal on the attack 🙌
Cima Coppi 👑
— INEOS Grenadiers (@INEOSGrenadiers) May 24, 2021
Romain Bardet: 2nd on stage, 7th on GC
Romain Bardet (DSM) was a big winner of the day, countering Bernal’s move and descending from the Giau with Damiano Caruso. Bardet had gone into the race as co-leader with Jai Hindley only to have found himself steadily rising through the GC as his Aussie teammate abandoned. The Frenchman is now 7th overall at 5:02.
Bardet: “The guys did a good job to keep me safe in the earlier part of the stage before the last climb.” There, Bernal was once again the strongest. “I was behind with Caruso and rode at my own pace until the top of the climb. Then on the downhill I did the most that I could to close the gap and gained back some time there.”
“I think it was a good ride and we can be happy as we move into the third week.”
Matt Winston, coach: “We did a really good job regrouping this morning, thinking about a new plan when they changed the stage. I think we were really sharp at the start on the first really hard climb and then we had full support for Romain going onto the Passo Giau.
“It started to split a little before the last climb but we brought him into a good position and he was really strong there. He then did a really good descent to catch Caruso and take second on the stage. I think we can be happy with that and the move up on GC.”
— Team DSM (@TeamDSM) May 24, 2021
Remco Evenepoel: 58th on stage, 19th on GC
The Giro went from bad to worse for returning star Remco Evenepoel (Deceuninck-Quick-Step). The grand tour rookie was dropped early and hemorrhaged time, finishing 24-minutes back.
Evenepoel now sits 19th, 28-minutes back. He will now help teammate João Almeida where possible and hope to survive through the final five stages.
“My feeling was not very good if I lost more than twenty minutes. It was an off-day, but we knew this could happen. I only trained for two months towards this Giro. That is nothing, and not enough to be 100 percent ready for competition.
“But that’s life. We still have a week to go and today drove a good stage with João Almeida. That’s really important.”
“We are now going to enjoy the rest day, and make the best of the last week. I don’t plan to leave the Giro. I’ll only do that if I don’t feel like I can make it to the end. But I just want to finish this Giro.”
— Deceuninck-QuickStep (@deceuninck_qst) May 24, 2021
Simon Yates: 11th on stage, 5th on GC
Simon Yates (Team BikeExchange) was dangling on and off the GC group through the early part of the Giau only to be dropped when EF Education-Nippo cranked the pace a notch further.
After looking so impressive on the Zoncolan on Saturday, Yates lost ground fast and reached the summit of the Dolomite climb over 90-seconds back.
The Brit crossed the line 2:37 down on Bernal, losing three slots on GC. Team director Matt White said that the stage being shortened due to adverse weather played in Yates’ benefit.
Matt White, sport director: “It was a difficult day, a little bit less difficult because we didn’t run the full stage. And we’re lucky we didn’t because it was cold enough. If we’d gone over those two other passes in those temperatures we’d have seen even bigger gaps.”
“It didn’t go as planned for us, and you’ve got to manage your bad days, it’s just as important as managing your good days. There’s still a lot of racing to come, we’re still close to the podium. It will be a well-deserved rest day tomorrow and then we press reset and tackle our last block before Milan.”
Bernal leads the stage with @SimonYatess being given at 2'40" behind ⏱
There are a number of riders in between as we begin the long descent to Cortina d'Ampezzo with 12km to go. pic.twitter.com/0llt6N2InJ
— Team BikeExchange-Jayco (@GreenEDGEteam) May 24, 2021