People will be discussing stage 11 of this year’s Giro d’Italia for quite some time. But one thing is certain: The much-anticipated stage over the white gravel roads of Tuscany did not disappoint.
It has long been said that no rider would win the Giro on this stage, but some would certainly lose their chances over this beautiful but brutal terrain. And the latter was packed with lost hopes as contenders such as Remco Evenepoel and Romain Bardet lost more than two minutes to Egan Bernal, while Dan Martin lost more than six minutes.
But the current race-leader Egan Bernal only padded his lead in the maglia rosa, the pink leader’s jersey.
Egan Bernal cruised near the front of the pack all day with perhaps his most convincing ride in the maglia rosa so far.
The peloton seemingly floated over the first gravel section of the day.
The day was given over to the breakaway, as a large group of 11 got nearly a 15-minute gap before hitting the gravel roads. The front of the race was never seen again.
Belgian star Remco Evenepoel looked comfortable in the early unpaved sections of road.
Not only did riders have to tend with the long stretches of loose gravel, but they also encoutered sweeping turns and technical descents.
For anyone off the back on these dusty roads, stage 11 quickly turned into a long day.
Swiss rider Mauro Schmid gave the Qhubeka-Assos team its biggest victory of the year. On the verge of folding at the end of 2020, the South African team has steadily improved all year, and today’s win gave them plenty to celebrate.
Bahrain-Victorious drove the chasing pace over the final section of gravel.
With only one teammate dispatched to help him, Evenepoel did his best to cut his time losses.
Frenchman Romain Bardet had been improving steadily throughout the first half of the race. While he finished second at the Strade Bianche race in 2018, he came up short today.
Losing over six minutes, Irishman Dan Martin will now clearly be focusing on stage wins for the remainder of this year’s Giro.
Egan Bernal cruised comfortably through much of the day, and now has a 45-second lead over Russia’s Alexander Vlasov.