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Egan Bernal and Ineos Grenadiers seize control at Giro d’Italia after Mauro Schmid wins gravel stage

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Egan Bernal and Ineos Grenadiers seize control at Giro d’Italia after Mauro Schmid wins gravel stage – GETTY IMAGES

Swiss rider Schmid lands first career win in Montalcino

Bernal tightens his grip on the leader’s pink jersey

Carthy moves up to fourth; Yates climbs to fifth

Evenepoel left floundering on the gravel roads

Egan Bernal took control of the Giro d’Italia thrillingly on the white gravel roads of Tuscany on Wednesday, extending his overall lead of the race to 45 seconds. Britons Hugh Carthy and Simon Yates also had good days, moving up to fourth and fifth place respectively in the general classification. They are now well-positioned should the Colombian falter in the second half of the race.

Stage 11 was a Strade Bianche special, a tribute to the spring race that passes through this Italian area and takes in long sections of white gravel roads that kick up great clouds of dust around the peloton. The terrain took some high-profile prisoners, notably Belgian wunderkind Remco Evenepoel (Deceuninck-QuickStep).

The 21-year-old is racing in his first grand tour and only returned from a long-term injury a couple of months ago. But such had been his start to the race, cycling-obsessed Belgium had started to get extremely excited about the youngster’s prospects.

Evenepoel began the day 14 seconds behind Bernal but never looked entirely comfortable on the gravel and was dropped from the pink jersey group with around 20 kilometers to go. He looked thoroughly fed up, ripping out his earpiece at one point as it took an age for teammate Joao Almeida to drop back and help him.

Egan Bernal

He lost over two minutes to Bernal, who attacked the top of the final climb and rode to the finish alongside Emanuel Buchmann (Bora-Hansgrohe). The 2019 Tour de France champion crossed the line three minutes behind stage winner Mauro Schmid (Qhubeka Assos), who was victorious from the breakaway, but nearly 30 seconds ahead of Aleksandr Vlasov (Astana), who is now his nearest rival in the general classification at 45 seconds.

Carthy (EF Education-Nippo) and Yates (BikeExchange) were also in Vlasov’s chasing group, Carthy rising to fourth overall at 1min17 and Yates fifth at 1min22sec. The latter said he was happy with his position. He knows how quickly things can turn around. In 2018 it was Yates taking bonus seconds and attacking his rivals in the first two weeks. He ended up imploding. “Onwards and upwards,” Yates said. “It wasn’t a day I was looking forward to, but I think I did a good ride. I had good legs; that’s the main thing.”

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03:17 pm

Bernal extends his overall lead at the Giro.

Egan Bernal (Ineos Grenadiers) attacks Emanuel Buchmann (Bora-Hansgrohe) before rolling over the line in the 11th spot to extend his lead, while Aleksandr Vlasov (Astana-Premier Tech) is next to finish from the big general classification hopefuls ahead of Damiano Caruso (Bahrain Victorious) who managed to creep into third in the overall standings. Great day for Bernal, Vlasov and Caruso, not so good for Remco Evenepoel, Giulio Ciccone and Dan Martin who all lost time.

Hugh Carthy (EF Education-Nippo) moved to fourth, while fellow Briton Simon Yates (BikeExchange) is fifth overall. An excellent performance from EF Education-Nippo worked hard to protect their leader. Today, while Yates must be pleased with that result, having had to race over a terrain,n he has said he is not too keen on it.

Egan Bernal – Egan Bernal and Ineos Grenadiers seize control at Giro d’Italia after Mauro Schmid wins gravel stage – REUTERS

Speaking immediately afterward, Bernal said: “Today we rode well, and I increased my lead in the GC [general classification], but the Giro is still long, all the big climbs are still to be ridden. I’m confident, but I have to keep my feet firmly on the ground.”

Mauro Schmid, meanwhile, who became the second Swiss to win a stage at this year’s Giro following Gino Mäder’s victory in the opening week, said he even surprised himself. “Actually, I cannot believe it. I was only selected for the Giro team about two weeks before the race,” he said. “My preparation was good, but at the beginning of the season, I was not even thinking about riding a grand tour. I suffered a lot in the last two stages, but I really wanted to go on the attack because I like riding gravel. In the breakaway, I felt I had good legs, and I went for it.”

03:14 pm

Back in the race for pink . . .

Egan Bernal has caught Emanuel Buchmann, the pair riding towards the finish line, with both gaining more time with each pedal stroke.

Emanuel Buchmann and Egan Bernal – – GETTY IMAGES

03:13 PM

Schmid wins stage 11 at the Giro!

Mauro Schmid (Qhubeka-Assos), the Swiss making his grand tour debut at the Giro, wins the stage. Just 21, and he has won a fantastic set Today. Alessandro Covi (UAE Team Emirates) is runner-up, while Harm Vanhoucke (Lotto-Soudal) takes third.

03:12 pm

500 meters to go

Mauro Schmid and Alessandro Covi approach the finishing line.

03:11 pm

Bernal attacks!

Egan Bernal rises out of his saddle, putting in a huge dig to drop Aleksandr Vlasov and the rest of that group like a large sack of stones. I’m almost sure that the Ineos Grenadiers rider will extend his overall lead to tighten his grip on the maglia rosa.

03:09 pm

2km to go

Hugh Carthy moves to the front of the group, followed closely by Egan Bernal, Aleksandr Vlasov, Simon Yates, and Tobias Foss.

03:08 pm

2.5km to go

Remco Evenepoel is almost two minutes down on Egan Bernal and Aleksandr Vlasov. Emanuel Buchmann, meanwhile, is plowing on gaining around 20sec on that group of contenders.

03:06 pm

4.5km to go

Alessandro Covi and Mauro Schmid, by the way, lead the stage.

03:05 pm

Ciccone has a whitey!

Giulio Ciccone falls out of the back of the maglia rosa’s group, just moments after Marc Soler also lost contact.

03:04 pm

5km to go

Emanuel Buchmann (Bora-Hansgrohe) rolls off the front, the German general classification contender off in pursuit of some vital seconds as he looks to break into the top 10. He has not been followed by anybody. Moments later, Vincenzo Nibali cracks.

03:02 pm

6km to go

Giulio Ciccone looks lively in the maglia rosa group; there’s lots of looking around in this reduced group as it inches up a steep climb.

03:00 pm

7km to go

Alberto Bettiol and Ruben Guerreiro are in the group with the maglia rosa, taking care of their teammate and general classification contender Hugh Carthy, who has done well Today. Damiano Caruso, meanwhile, has Bahrain Victorious tteammateello Bilbao for the company as they hit the asphalt coming off the final stretch of gravel.

02:57 pm

8km to go

Remco Evenepoel and Joao Almeida trail the maglia rosa by 1min 10sec, but the pair are working well together. Bearing in mind the group’s speed up ahead, these two youngsters are doing well to hold the gap around that mark as they fight to save their Giro.

02:55 pm

9km to go

Marc Soler looks twitchy on the front of the maglia rosa’s group, the Spaniard pressing hard to shell some of his rivals. Aleksandr Vlasov is the next to poke his nose into the wind.

02:53 pm

Final gravel section for the maglia rosa . . .

. . . and Movistar move up to the front as they hit the 9km Cerrato. In the breakaway, Dries De Bondt and Alessandro Covi clip off the show before joining Mauro Schmid of Qhubeka-Assos.

02:51 pm

11km to go

The maglia rosa, being towed along by Gianni Moscon, passes beneath the 15km to go banner a minute ahead of Remco Evenepoel, who, remember, started the day just 14sec behind Egan Bernal.

02:49 pm

12km to go

Remco Evenepoel has his earpiece back in, but he is grimacing as he holds the wheel of teteammateao Almeida, the pair trailing Egan Bernal by around a minute. A small split appears in the breakaway.

02:48 pm

13.5km to go

Gianni Moscon is riding hard on the front for the maglia rosa while Remco Evenepoel looks unhappy. The youngster, somewhat dramatically, tears his earpiece out. The breakaway is onto the fourth and final sector of gravel and leads the stage by six minutes.

02:45 pm

15km to go

Remco Evenepoel has been reunited with Joao Almeida, but the youngsters have their work cut out to regain contact with the maglia rosa’s group that will be in no mood to ease off the pace.

02:42 pm

17km to go

Gianni Moscon takes over on the front for Egan Bernal to give his team leader some respite. At the same time, Joao Almeida has finally dropped back to see if he can help out his teateammateco Evenepoel.

02:41 pm

Evenepoel is going backward.

The gap between Remco Evenepoel and the maglia rosa is growing with each pedal stroke that is pushed. The Belgian is isolated; he has no teamteammatesllies to help his chase back on as Egan Bernal turns the screw and, dare I say it, but attempt to turn his hopes to dust. Any idea why Joao Almeida has not dropped back to help?

02:39 pm

20km to go – Evenepoel is dropped!

The breakaway goes through the 20 km-to-go banners. Egan Bernal is on the front in the chasing group, riding hard, while Remco Evenepoel has been dropped and appears to be on his lonesome.

02:37 pm

20.5km to go

Remco Evenepoel does not look comfortable on these gravel roads and is again on the back. On each corner or descent, the youngster appears to feather his brakes, remember this is all new territory for him – both the terrain and racing for longer than 10 days.

02:35 pm

21.5km to go

Egan Bernal has three teammteammatescting him, the four Ineos Grenadiers riders in control on the front just ahead of Trek-Segafredo teammateammateszo Nibali and Giulio Ciccone. Good news for Remco Evenepoel fans, however. It appears the demise of his teammatteammatesmaturely reported, and he has teammateteammateeida for the company. Reports are coming in that Dan Martin is over four minutes down on the maglia rosa.

02:30 pm

25km to go

The breakaway is onto the third of four gravel sectors in Today’s stage, and the Jumbo-Visma pairing of George Bennett and Tobias Foss are caught by the maglia rosa’s group.

02:27 pm

26km to go

The nine-man breakaway is all back as one, and there are two more sectors of gravel to follow.

02:24 pm

29km to go

Alessandro Covi (UAE Team Emirates) and Simon Guglielmi (Groupama-FDJ) attack off the front of the breakaway, the pair leading George Bennett and Tobias Foss by 7min 11sec, while the maglia rosa is another 20sec down the road. The pair put a few bike lengths between themselves and the rest of the breakaway, but I don’t think they will be alone for much longer.

02:19 pm

34km to go

Remco Evenepoel is isolated, riding in that group with Egan Bernal with no teammates– the grand tour debutant will not want a mechanical now!

Remco Evenepoel – GETTY IMAGES

02:18 pm

35km to go

The breakaway is back onto the friendly smooth asphalt, while back in the dust clouds, George Bennett and Tobias Foss are pushing on, 30sec ahead of the maglia rosa.

02:16 pm

37km to go

Remco Evenepoel is spotted at the rear of Egan Bernal’s group. At the same time, George Bennett has clipped off the front alongside a Jumbo-Visma teammate –teammate Tobias Foss – presumably to gain a few seconds on general classification. Still, it’s not really sure that’s a wise use of his energy.

02:13 pm

37.5km to go

All change at the front of the race, and there’s a nine-man group now leading the stage: Enrico Battaglin (Bardiani-CSF-Faizane), Dries De Bondt (Alpecin-Fenix), Alessandro Covi (UAE Team Emirates), Francesco Gavazzi (Eolo-Kometa), Simon Guglielmi (Groupama-FDJ), Roger Kluge (Lotto-Soudal), Lawrence Naesen (Ag2r-Citroën), Mauro Schmid (Qhubeka-Assos) and Harm Vanhoucke (Lotto-Soudal) have an 8min 28sec advantage over Egan Bernal et al.

02:11 pm

38km to go

Of the leading general classification contenders, Egan Bernal, Hugh Carthy, Damiano Caruso, Giulio Ciccone, Remco Evenepoel, Attila Valter, Aleksandr Vlasov, and Simon Yates are all in the leading group – 8min 25sec behind the breakaway – but Dan Martin and Davide Formolo are nowhere to be seen. Both may drop out of the top 10 today.

02:08 pm

40km to go

Two or three EF Education-Nippo riders are in this maglia rosa group looking after Hugh Carthy. The veteran Spaniard Luis León Sánchez has been doing a big turn on the front for Astana-Premier Tech. There will be plenty of losers in the race for pink Today, but will Aleksandr Vlasov, the young Russian, be one of the big winners?

Luis León Sánchez rides on the front – AP

02:04 PM

42km to go

Not quite sure how this happened, but Roger Kluge (Lotto-Soudal) is now leading the stage alongside Mauro Schmid (Qhubeka-Assos). Their advantage over Egan Bernal is a smidge below nine minutes.

02:00 pm

44.5km to go

Taco van der Hoorn (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux), Roger Kluge (Lotto-Soudal) and Bert-Jan Lindeman (Qhubeka-Assos) have been dropped by the breakaway. Just hearing that Dan Martin, the Irishman who looked strong earlier in the race, has lost contact with the maglia rosa et al. As mentioned earlier, Davide Formolo had either a crash or a mechanical as so the Italian, too, is not in that group.

01:58 pm

45km to go

Romain Bardet, Jai Hindley, Aleksandr Vlasov, Giulio Ciccone, Marc Soler, Luis León Sánchez, Simon Yates, and Hugh Carthy are all in the vastly reduced peloton, along with Egan Bernal and Remco Evenepoel. The breakaway is a shade over nine minutes up the road as the general classification favorites tackle a steep section of gravel – the road ramps up to 16% at one point, which is just cruel.

01:50 pm

47km to go

Filippo Ganna is done for the day, which will be a massive relief to all of those who were made to suffer by the Italian on the first sector of gravel. Remco Evenepoel has bridged over to Egan Bernal’s group but has no teammates. That could be crucial if he has a mechanical issue and needs a wheel or bike change. The gap on the breakaway, by the way, has dropped to 9min 30sec.

Speaking on Eurosport, Alberto Contador said:’ I expected Evenepoel to be much further ahead in the peloton today. I’m surprised he’s so far back at this point on the course Today. Ganna, for example, is really pushing hard Today, and he’s setting a challenging pace for everyone.”

01:48 pm

48.5km to go

Movistar, who has Marc Soler in the leading general classification group, is riding on the front now. Simon Yates, by the way, is spotted in the Remco Evenepoel group, and they are closing in on the maglia rosa, but at what cost?

01:45 pm

50km to go

The breakaway is onto the next gravel section, leading the stage by a shade over 10 minutes.

01:41 pm

53km to go

Davide Formolo (UAE Team Emirates) has a slight wobble. Remco Evenepoel trails Egan Bernal by a handful of seconds as the two groups hit an asphalt section of road. Still, the Belgian has some EF Education-Nippo and DSM riders for the company. By contrast, Giulio Ciccone and Vincenzo Nibali are in the group with Ineos Grenadiers and Egan Bernal. They are, as it stands, taking control of the race for pink Today Today.

01:39 pm

53.5km to go

Already, the peloton is in pieces, and Remco Evenepoel has lost contact with Egan Bernal, who is benefiting from a vast shift being put in by Filippo Ganna. Evenepoel, by the way, has two Deceuninck-Quick Step teammates, including Mikkel Honore.

01:37 pm

54km to go

Jonathan Caicedo (EF Education-Nippo) has been caught up in an incident. Remco Evenepoel (Deceuninck-Quick Step) has to work hard to stay in touch with the lead group. Oh crikey, Filippo Ganna almost comes a cropper on a right-hand bend, losing control of his front wheel, but somehow he stays upright. The gap on the break is down to 10 minutes.

01:33 pm

57km to go

A pair of Cofidis riders are down. Splits are forming on the peloton, and Filippo Ganna is back on the front and pushing 700 watts through those cranks of his; Egan Bernal is tucked in behind the world-time trial champion. Simon Yates is, apparently, in the leading group.

Gann – GETTY IMAGES

01:30 pm

59km to go

The Shark is on the front! Vincenzo Nibali is baring his teeth on the front of the peloton, presumably doing his best to take care of teammate Giulteammatee. The wily old master taking his young compatriot under his wing, or fin.

01:28 pm

61km to go

The peloton is tanking it on the approach to sector one, Flippo Ganna gunning it on the front for Egan Bernal, while Alberto Bettiol is looking after (EF Education-Nippo) teammate Hugh teammateiulio Ciccone is spotted up near the show, but no sight of Simon Yates, though admittedly they are riding through a big cloud of dust, so it is pretty tricky to identify riders.

01:26 pm

63km to go

The breakaway is onto the descent of the chalky white road, which is very narrow, roughly wide enough for one car to comfortably drive down. Once the peloton arrives, it will be stretched out in a very long line; there’s not too much space for riders to attack – ordinarily, the best place to ride is down the wheel tracks where vehicles have packed down the loose gravel. Riding anywhere else is almost impossible, especially when going uphill, where traction in the rear wheel is almost impossible unless you remain seated, which requires both power and good bike handling.

01:20 pm

65.8km to go

The peloton is approaching the first section of gravel. Despite teams clearly moving to position their leaders, those eyeing the general classification, their pace has not impacted the advantage held by the breakaway: 14min 2sec.

01:18 pm

68km to go

Huge black clouds in the distance, looking menacing. That said, there are also perfect blue skies up ahead, so it is 50/50. We will be getting rain later this afternoon. Roger Kluge is near the back of the breakaway as the dust kicks up on these loose gravel roads.

01:15 pm

69km to go

Here we go. The breakaway is onto the first section of gravel road; the peloton, where we are expecting the fireworks and big fight for position, is over 14 minutes down the road.

01:12 pm

72km to go

Hugh Carthy (EF Education) and Dan Martin (ISN) are spotted moving towards the front of the peloton, while Peter Sagan (Bora Hansgrohe) chats away, the Slovakian looks impossibly relaxed.

01:06 pm

A race of two halves . . .

With the breakaway having grown to 14 minutes now, I think it is safe to assume we will be treated to two races this afternoon once the riders reach the gravel: one for the stage win, the other a massive battle for the general classification. Romain Bardet (DSM), the runner-up at Strade Bianche in 2019, gave a pre-race interview earlier, which was just shown on Eurosport; the Frenchman was saying he was hoping for ‘chaos’ today. He may be getting his wish!

The breakaway – GETTY IMAGES

01:01 pm

78.8km to go

The breakaway’s lead grows out again; that 11-man group leads by 13min 35sec exactly nine kilometers out from the gravel.

12:58 pm

80 km to go

Just over 10 kilometers from the first sector of the day’s gravel which begins in Torrenieri and features a technical downhill stretch. While one assumes the breakaway will approach it relatively calmly, there will be one almighty battle in the peloton for a position.

12:53 pm

85km to go

The breakaway’s lead drops slightly to 11min 30sec, but one suspects they will be holding on to take the stage win Today. There are hints of rain on the horizon, but it would need to be some downfall to recreate the final scenes we saw during this stage back in 2010.

12:50 pm

‘White line highway’

12:43 pm

95km to go

Astana-Premier Tech is still tucked in behind Ineos Grenadiers, all of the leading general classification riders doing their best to stay near the front before tinghittinghitting the first of for gravel sections. Dries De Bondt, by the way, is still in that breakaway group has ing navigated a couple of uncauncategorizedmbs. He will be hoping his legs have woken up before the gravel climbs later in the stage whi; ch are steep.

12:33 pm

100km to go

The break has increased its lead to 13 minutes, and they are 30km out from the first gravel section, a shade over 9km long.

12:31 pm

Give ’em enough rope.

Wor. Trying moment as the breakaway hits a tight right-hander where the road splits in two, though one half of it has a rope across it – at roughly neck height. Half of the group go one side of the road, the other duck beneath the worryingly placed cordon. Fortunately,,, eve, everybody avoids the rope/police.

12:24 pm

105km to go

Dries De Bondt (Alpecin-Fenix) appears to be struggling in the breakaway. The Belgian national champion had been tipped by many tToday’soday’s stagstagest he was just spotted labolaboring the back on a slight incline. The 29-year-old is making his grand tour debut, sooo he will have not experienced a midweek rest day previously. Some riders come out flying following a rest day, ot; others it a struggle to get going for a day or two.

12:15 pm

110km to go

All fairrelativelym out on the road for now. The breakaway has increased its lead to 12min 26sec – the most important information I have seen in this year’s Giro d’Italia – as the 11-man group rides through-and-off as they share the heavy lifting between each other. As it stands, you would have to say we could be getting a surprise stage winnwinner Today.

12:00 pm

As it stands . . .

The 171-rider peloton passed through KM0 at 12.10 pmm (BST) and, almost immediately a b, breakaway started to form before Ineos Grenadiers shifted to the front to block the road.

However, 11 riders did manage to get off up the road – Enrico Battaglin (Bardiani-CSF-Faizane), Dries De Bondt (Alpecin-Fenix), Alessandro Covi (UAE Team Emirates), Francesco Gavazzi (Eolo-Kometa), Simon Guglielmi (Groupama-FDJ), Taco van der Hoorn (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux), Roger Kluge (Lotto-Soudal), Bert-Jan Lindeman (Qhubeka-Assos), Lawrence Naesen (Ag2r-Citroën), Mauro Schmid (Qhubeka-Assos) and Harm Vanhoucke (Lotto-Soudal) – and they have already gained a decent advantage on the peloton. With 120km of the stage to go, the breakaway has over 10 minutes on the bunch. The whole Ineos Grenadiers team – or the remaining seven after the withdrawal of Pavel Sivakov last week – are on the front protecting Egan Bernal.

Egan Bernal – Giro d’Italia 2021, stage 11 – live updates – GETTY IMAGES11:45 amm

It’s all up for grabs.

Keen followers of the sport will know that race leader Egan Bernal (Ineos Grenadiers) made his debut appearance at Strade Bianche in March, and he was imposing. The former mountain bike rider finished a highly creditable third behind Mathieu van der Poel and Julian Alaphilippe, beating defending champion Wout van Aert (fourth) and teammate Tom Piteammatefth) in the process.

Egan Bernal, Julian Alaphilippe and Mathieu van der Poel – Giro d’Italia 2021, stage 11 – live updates – GETTY IMAGES

As a holder of the maglia rosa, Bernal may benefit from having his team car at the front of the cavalcade of support vehicles following the peloton. These cars with sporting directors and mechanics crammed into them are organized in the general classification order, so Ineos Grenadiers will be the first car, then Deceuninck-Quick Step due to Remco Evenepoel being second in the standings, Astana-Premier Tech third (Aleksandr Vlasov​),, and so on. Although this is not unusual – every convoy of vehicles in every stage race in the world is organized this way – on days like Today, this could play a crucial role in the outcome of the stage or the general classification ambitions of the leading protagonists.

Once the race reaches the Cerrato, which are very narrow and, in places, twisty with steep climbs and descents, a rider can lose an age of time if their support vehicle cannot get to them. PositioningTToday will, as ever, be absolutely essential. There will be crashes, riders having mechanical issues, and nobody wants to be caught up behind any incidents. Equipment choice will also be necessary, as will be how a rider copes on the gravel. Imagine Paris-Roubaix meets Liège-Bastogne-Liège raced over a cyclocross course, and you are somewhere close to understanding the route of Today’s stage.

So, who does the stage suit? The Bernal above is one of the favorites, given that he finished third in Siena in March and then excelled on the gravel on Sunday – though the hard-packed stone of Campo Felice was very different from what they will be riding Today.

Someone like Alberto Bettiol (EF Education-Nippo), who was fourth at Strade Bianche in 2020 and is a local lad, may fancy his chances. The Italian appears to be in decent form, but will he be given the freedom to roam, or will he be on bodyguard duty for teammate Hugh Cateammateidentally? Teammates could be teammates Today, especially for the general classification riders who don’t have much experience riding the trade Bianche.

Another Italian that was going well and coped pretty well on the gravel on Sunday, finishing second to Bernal, is Giulio Ciccone (Trek-Segafredo). At the same time, Gianni Moson (Ineos Grenadiers) also looked strong and, again, if he is allowed to pursue personal glory, would be a decent shout for the stage win. Sticking with the theme of only selecting Italian riders here – and why not? – Davide Formolo (UAE Team Emirates) was runner-up at Strade Bianche in 2020 and is having a decent race, starting the day 10th on general classification.

Who wins Today’s stage, however, is really only part of the story. It will be just as fascinating to see who goes poorly and see how much time is lost in the general classification. Several riders and their teams, notably Simon Yates (BikeExchange), have complained that stages like Today have no place in grand tours.08:11 am

Today’s menu . . .

So here we are, one of the most widely anticipated stages from this year’s Giro d’Italia through the Tuscan hills just south of Siena.

Stage 11 map

After setting off from Perugia, the road heads west towards Montalcino. This town entered Giro folklore 11 years ago when racing on similar roads as the peloton will do so. Today, Cadel Evans won a famous stage ahead of Damiano Cunego and Alexandro Vinokourov. On that occasion, of course, the white roads – strade bianche – so familiar to the region had turned to a sea of brown sludge, making racing conditions, put simply, just awful. For those of us watching from the safety and warmth of our homes, however, it was compelling viewing. The forecastTToday is much more favorable than in 2010, so we will most likely not be seeing pictures like we saw in the below YouTube clip again.

Enough reminiscing, back to Today. Featuring almost 2,500 meters in vertical elevation and with four gravel sections – or sterrato – totaling 35 kilometers in length over the final 70km of the 162km stage, I think it is safe to say we can describe it Today like a mini-Strade Bianche. Unlike the famous one-day race, though, the finale is not quite as testing, and fewer gravel sections raced over the strade bianche, or white roads lend the classic its name.

Stage 11 profile

Here’s what the official roadbook says about the day ahead: “The first 90km are raced on wide and sometimes rough roads. The first unpaved sector, which also includes a technical downhill stretch, begins in Torrenieri. The second dirt road sector, which consists of a level crossing, begins after Buonconvento and Bibbiano.

“The route passes over river Ombrone, and then the road starts to rise for approx. 6km, with gradients nearing 16% midway. The trail weaves through a brace of bends across the forest, on dirt roads, and then comes back on the tarmac to negotiate a categorized climb up to Passo del Lume Spento (below, first ascent).

Spenco

“After descending into Montalcino, the route heads towards Castelnuovo dell’Abate and takes in the two final dirt road sectors, one after the other. Past Tavernelle, the road rises markedly, merges back onto the route (before the categorized climb), and then heads all the way to the finish.

Climb

“Descending into Montalcino, a little after the red triangle, the race enters the urban area on narrow, stone-paved roads. Taking into the final left-hand bend, the route emerges onto the home straight (200 m), on tarmac road.”

Montalcino07:25 am

Catch up: Highlights from Monday’s stage07:20 am

Ciao!

Hello and welcome to our live rolling blog from stage 11 at the Giro d’Italia, the 162-kilometer run from Perugia to Montalcino. Following Monday’s set that was won by Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe), there was just one change in the main classifications, in other words, the ones that are deemed worthy of a leader’s jersey, going into yesterday’s rest day. Here’s a quick look at those standings.

Race leader Egan Bernal (Ineos Grenadiers), the 24-year-old Colombian, completed Monday’s stage safely in the peloton to keep hold of his leads in both the general and youth classification and will wear for the second time Today the maglia rosa, or the pink jersey. Thanks to that stage win on Monday, Thanks to that stage win on Monday, Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) took control of the maglia ciclamino, the cyclamen jersey.

Geoffrey Bouchard (Ag2r-Citroën), who took control of the maglia Azzurra during Sunday’s mountainous stage, will again wear the blue jersey as the overall leader in the mountains classification. The top three in the youth classification mirrors that of the comprehensive. So Remco Evenepoel (Deceuninck-Quick Step) will wear the maglia Bianca, or the white jersey, on behalf of the maglia rosa.