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Egan Bernal extends lead on day of drama and intrigue at Giro d’Italia

Egan Bernal – Egan Bernal tightens grip on leader’s jersey on another day of drama at Giro d’Italia – GETTY IMAGES

Bernal wins shortened stage to extend his lead

Caruso moves up to second overall

Yates tumbles down the standings

Simon Yates’s team insisted that it was not over yet and that their man was “still riding to win” the Giro d’Italia. But the 28-year-old BikeExchange rider suffered a crushing blow on Monday as he was dropped on a freezing cold and wet 16th stage, which was won by race leader Egan Bernal.

Yates’ fellow Briton Hugh Carthy (EF Education-Nippo) had a better day, moving into a podium after crossing the fifth line in Cortina d’Ampezzo in the Italian Dolomites. The designated “queen” stage of the race had to be shortened by organizers at the last minute as snow and sleet hit the mountain range.

Instead of a 212-kilometer route over three major mountain passes, the stage followed a 153km route over only one primary key, the Giau. But that was enough for Bernal (Ineos Grenadiers} to prove once again he is the man to beat in this race.

The Colombian attacked over the top of the Giau, caught the last remaining breakaway rider, Antonio Pedrero (Movistar), and won the stage emphatically to put time into all of his rivals. Bernal even had the time and presence of mind to slow and take off his rain jacket before the finish, riding no-handed on wet slippery cobbles approaching the line so that he could display the pink jersey.

“I wanted to put on a show,” said the 2019 Tour de France champion. “This is the type of cycling I like, tough stages like these. It’s a risk, but I believed in myself, and the team believed in me.” Bernal finished 27 seconds ahead of Romain Bardet (DSM), with Damiano Caruso (Bahrain Victorious) just behind, the Italian moving up from third to second overall at 2min 24sec.

Egan Bernal

Carthy, meanwhile, jumped from fifth to third, 3min 40sec back. Yates, who had been second overall going into the stage, dropped to fifth overall at 4mins20sec after shedding 2min37secs to Bernal on the scene.

“His Giro is not over, but against such a strong Bernal like today, it’s going to be very hard,” conceded BikeExchange general manager Brent Copeland, who said Yates just had a “bad day” rather than a problem with fuelling or the cold.

“We’re riding to win, but Bernal is riding well too. It’s not over, and we’ll try to do something and make it a spectacular Giro.” The riders have a final rest day on Tuesday. The Giro finishes in Milan on Sunday.

02:15 pm

Yates tumbles down the standings.

Hugh Carthy (EF Education-Nippo) rolls over the line 1min 19sec behind Egan Bernal, a result that propels him up to third (+3min 40sec). But it was not such a good day for another Briton after Simon Yates (BikeExchange), who started the day in the second spot, lost 2min 37sec to Bernal dropping two places to fifth (+4min 20sec).

02:01 pm

Bernal wins stage 16 at the Giro!

Egan Bernal (Inoes Grenadiers) has won stage 16, his second win at this year’s Giro d’Italia. As the Colombian approached the line, riding over smooth and slippery cobbles, he battled with his rain jacket before removing it to show off the maglia rosa that he had just tightened his grip on thanks to a historic stage win that nobody saw. Speaking afterward, Bernal said: “This is a great victory; winning wearing the maglia rosa is exceptional, and I wanted to show it. Today I wanted to do something special, to show I am back in the game.

Egan Bernal – Egan Bernal extends lead on the day of drama and intrigue at Giro d’Italia – GETTY IMAGES

“It was a hard stage also because of the weather, but I had the right mentality from the beginning of the stage,” the 24-year-old added. “I was ready to suffer, and we did it. I’m super happy.” Romain Bardet (DSM) rolls over the line ahead of Damiano Caruso (Bahrain Victorious), the latter of whom moves up to second overall, while The Frenchman moves up two places to fifth.

Romain Bardet and Damiano Caruso – GETTY IMAGES

02:00 pm

Here he comes . . .

Still no pictures, but Egan Bernal is in the final kilometer of the stage.

01:59 pm

2km to go

Romain Bardet has caught Damiano Caruso, but it sounds like they will not be seeing Egan Bernal.

01:57 pm

4km to go

There’s a significant Colombian presence in Cortina d’Ampezzo. The passionate cycling fans are hoping to cheer on Egan Bernal over the line, but will the maglia rosa win this stage today? We hear that he is leading by 40sec ahead of Damiano Caruso, with Romain Bardet a little way back, but there’s no news on Hugh Carthy or Simon Yates.

Egan Bernal – GETTY IMAGES

01:52 pm


01:52 pm

Under 10km to go . . .

. . .and Damiano Caruso is, according to some, closing in on Egan Bernal,

01:47 pm

13km to go

Simon Yates is losing more and more time. The Briton is almost three minutes down on Egan Bernal, while Damiano Caruso, who stays upright, should be moving up to second on general classification, and Romain Bardet will also climb the standings. As I am sure you will know, the DSM rider is a fearless descender and not too shoddy in the wet.

01:45 pm

15km to go

Egan Bernal has gone over the summit of the Giau, Damiano Caruso is around 45sec down while Romain Bardet is following. The descent to Cortina d’Ampezzo will be swift and very dangerous. Bernal and his Ineos Grenadiers teammates are riding on rim brakes, and so in this weather will have to take the corners especially carefully as they are not quite as responsive in the wet.

Egan Bernal – GETTY IMAGES

01:39 pm

Well, this is awkward

Sorry about this, but there are still no pictures from the race. Apparently, the aircraft that ordinarily flies high above the race to help broadcast the action is not allowed up in the air today due to the weather, hence the lack of updates. To post a bike race in the mountains – and elsewhere – a small aircraft circles above the race, high above the clouds, off which a satellite bounces technical stuff that I don’t really understand to a big box somewhere else that magically turns these signals into moving pictures. In addition to the aircraft, there’s usually a helicopter or two from which a brave cameraperson or two capture the action. When the weather is terrible, the signals can go down or even be told to land.

01:35 pm

TV no show

Unfortunately, pictures are down again. But reports say Damiano Caruso is trailing Egan Bernal by 26sec, then Romain Bardet is another 10sec down the road. Hugh Carthy, apparently, follows, but there’s no news on Simon Yates.


01:30 pm

21km to go – Bernal attacks!

Television pictures have returned, and there is a lone leader, and his name is Egan Bernal. The Ineos Grenadiers team leader caught Antonio Pedrero and rode straight on past him.

01:27 pm

22km to go

Egan Bernal puts in a little dig, and we think Simon Yates has been dropped. Just as the action started to kick off, the television pictures dropped out.

01:21 pm

23.5km to go

Simon Yates has fallen off the back of this group of general classification contenders, and it is the 22-year-old Welshman Simon Carr is setting an infernal pace here on behalf of Hugh Carthy.

Incidentally, Carr is one of four talented first-year neo-pros that we wrote about in a recent feature on the next wave of Britons set to rule the roads. He sounds like an attractive young lad who holds dual nationality and is impressing again today.

Britain’s got talent: Meet the next wave of British cyclists set to rule the roads

01:16 pm

25km to go

Davide Formolo is climbing the Giau in the big ring! Not surprised his pedal stroke wasn’t looking too smooth. The maglia rosa’s group has dramatically reduced in size, with no sign that Aleksandr Vlasov started the day fourth overall. Still, Egan Bernal (Ineos Grenadiers), Simon Yates (BikeExchange), Damiano Caruso (Bahrain Victorious), Hugh Carthy (EF Education-Nippo), Giulio Ciccone (Trek-Segafredo), Romain Bardet (DSM), and Daniel Martínez (Ineos Grenadiers) are all present.

01:13 pm

25.5km to go

The final climb of the day is a brute. Though just 9.8km long, the Giau, which has an average gradient of 9.3%, is one of those nasty climbs that just holds its numbers true. There’s not a stretch of road that goes below 8%, and much of it bounces around the 9-10% mark. Once the riders have hauled themselves over the top, there’s a swift descent towards the old ski resort of Cortina d’Ampezzo, where rich and famous Italians like to holiday.

Passo Giau

Losing just 1,000 meters in elevation on the descent to Cortina d’Ampezzo, which is 1,224m above sea level, the fast and frenetic finale is likely to be very cold, especially if raining.


Davide Formolo has taken the lead, but the Italian climber looks to be suffering. The gradient is very steep, and his pedal stroke is not the smoothest. A little wonder he will be frozen through.

01:10 pm

27km to go

Gorka Izagirre holds on for dear life after the Spaniard, a decent descender, managed to ride off the road but, somehow, stayed upright before avoiding a parked car by the narrowest of margins. The former cyclo-cross rider must have seen his life flash before his eyes. Either way, as a result, he has lost contact with the head of the race. Antonio Pedrero leads, the Spaniard has Davide Formolo and Vincenzo Nibali for the company, and they are onto the decisive climb of the day: the Giau.

01:00 pm

32km to go

The break’s lead is dropping further, down to 2min 23sec around four kilometers from the start of the ‘proper’ climb up the Giau.

Vincenzo Nibali – GETTY IMAGES

12:54 pm

34km to go

Remco Evenepoel has been dropped by the peloton. Though unconfirmed, reports say the young Belgian has already lost two minutes on the maglia rosa – one really has to wonder if the 21-year-old will be pulled from the race, the first grand tour of his career. The rain, meanwhile, appears to have eased up, and some of the riders have started to unzip their jackets – as the road continues to rise, they will be working hard and getting a serious sweat on, which can be very confusing for the body in these freezing conditions.

Antonio Pedrero (left to right), Gorka Izagirre and Joao Almeida – EUROSPORT

12:51 PM

35km to go: ‘We have a chance to win the Giro’

Apparently, Hugh Carthy woke up this morning and told his teammates he felt he could win the Giro d’Italia here today. Wow, that’s some statement of intent. Tejay van Garderen, who has been riding on the front of the peloton for the Briton, told reporters earlier this morning: “You know? we woke up, we saw rain this morning, and Hugh said ‘we have a chance to win the Giro today'”.

Simon Carr

As it stands, Alberto Bettiol, the 2019 Tour of Flanders winner, has taken over on the front while tucked in behind are Simon Carr, the 22-year-old Welshman, and Carthy.

12:38 pm

42km to go

The pace being set by Tejay van Garderen on the front of the peloton has strung the group out and is threatening to cause splits and shell a few riders. Tucked in behind the American is Gianni Moscon of Ineos Grenadiers, and the gap on the breakaway is down to 4min 20sec. It may be a little presumptuous of me to say this, but I don’t think the breakaway will be going all the way today.

12:33 pm

45km to go

Interesting development on the front of the peloton. EF Education-Nippo has taken over from Ineos Grenadiers. Does this mean Hugh Carthy is feeling strong? Or are they just trying to warm up?

12:17 pm

55km to go

The breakaway’s advantage has dropped to 4min 30sec, the work being done by Filippo Ganna and Salvatore Puccio appears to be paying off. Those two, of course, are working for Egan Bernal, who will probably not want to lose too much time to Joao Almeida today.

12:06 pm

60km to go

Only two riders in the breakaway – Joao Almeida (Deceuninck-Quick Step) and Amanuel Ghebreigzabhier (Trek-Segafredo) – are wearing full-length gloves today. Quite remarkably, the others have mitts on. It may not sound like much, but when hands get cold in these conditions, it can be difficult feeling the fingers, and as we saw at the recent Tour de Romandie where Geraint Thomas crashed on an uphill finish, it can even cause unwanted spills.

11:59 am

65km to go

The breakaway leads the chasing group of 18 riders by 3min 24sec, while the peloton is another two minutes or so back. It is still raining heavily, and although 40km from the beginning of the ascent of the Giau, the road is constantly rising at around 1-2%.

11:51 am

70km to go

There have been no pictures of the breakaway for a while now, but I understand it is 5min 45sec up the road from the Filippo Ganna-powered peloton.

11:44 am

75km to go

Breakaway’s advantage is a shade below six minutes. It is snowing on the summit of the Giau, but the road has been heavily salted, meaning it should not stick. Once the rider goes over the top, though, the descent to Cortina d’Ampezzo will be icy.

11:27 am

87km to go

Egan Bernal is back alongside his teammates teammatesront of the peloton, but the six-man breakaway has increased its lead further. As it stands, Joao Almeida is up to seventh on the virtual general classification, moving above Deceuninck-Quick Step teammate Rteammateepeol. That could make things interesting in the team bus later on today. As I’m sure you will know, both arrived as co-leaders, but Evenepeol appeared to be the chosen one after an impressive opening week for the young Belgian. As a result, Almeida was instructed to sacrifice his ambitions to ride for Evenepoel, which the Portuguese did not appear too happy with.

Egan Bernal – GETTY IMAGES

11:22 am

90km to go

That gap between the breakaway and the peloton has increased to 5min 39sec. Salvatore Puccio appears to be riding on the front for Ineos Grenadiers, but there is no sign of Egan Bernal. I think the race leader may have dropped back down the field with Filippo Ganna, though it is difficult to say as the pictures are a bit dark and blurred due to the terrible conditions that I will be banging on about all day.

11:14 am

95km to go

What was a pretty large breakaway group comprising 24 riders split on the descent of La Rosetta? The sextet of Joao Almeida (Deceuninck-Quick Step), Davide Formolo (UAE Team Emirates), Amanuel Ghebreigzabhier (Trek-Segafredo), Gorka Izagirre (Astana-Premier Tech), Vincenzo Nibali (Trek-Segafredo) and Antonio Pedrero (Movistar) now lead the maglia rosa. The highest on general classification in this group is Almeida, who started the day 8min 36sec behind Egan Bernal, but having gained 4min 35sec, the Portuguese has moved up to ninth in the virtual standings. Ineos Grenadiers will be conscious of that and will not want the Deceuninck-Quick Step rider gaining too much time, but he has some strong riders alongside him, many of whom go well in the sort of conditions they are racing in today.

11:04 am

Reichenbach abandons

Sébastien Reichenbach (Groupama-FDJ) has abandoned. The former Swiss national champion was involved in the big pile-up at the beginning of yesterday’s stage and is the first to get off his bike today. Incidentally, Thomas De Gendt was the only non-starter today. His departure leaves just two Lotto-Soudal riders in the race.

11:00 am

As it stands . . .

It has been a very confusing and chaotic start to the day, and host broadcasters are struggling to get pictures of the race out to the watching world due to the awful conditions in the Dolomites. However, I know that an extensive breakaway group has formed, and it leads the maglia rosa by over three minutes with 105km of this shortened stage remaining.

10:16 am

Update: Queen stage of the Giro is shortened

Due to the horrific conditions in the Dolomites this morning, race organizers RCS decided to shorten the stage, removing the Fedaia and Pordoi. Despite the roads being clear of snow, there were concerns over the descents, which may have been icy and will have undoubtedly been treacherous, get that it is teeming down with rain and the high altitude of those mountains that both top at over 2,000 meters above sea level. Here’s the new stage profile of the stage that has been shortened from 212km to 153km, with the Giau becoming the new Cima Coppi at 2,233m.

Revised stage profile

Mauro Vegni, the race director, said earlier this morning: “Our first objective is to ensure the riders reach Milan safely. The weather conditions could be good, but we don’t know how the forecast will go. We decided it was more important to do a shorter intense stage rather than face a complex situation; that’s why we’ve cut the two long descents.

“We can’t cancel all the stage; there are always some risks involved in racing. Now they’ll only risk during the last 10 kilometers; on the descent of the Passo Giau to Cortina, we’ve cut out the other long drops, and we think we’ve protected the riders and the stage. We’re all given up something, and the riders have agreed to race the reduced set.

“The one condition we had during the talks and when accepting the changes was that the stage finished in Cortina. The option of taking the times at the summit of the Passo Giau doesn’t work – the stage will go to the finish in Cortina.”

05:45 am

What’s on today’s menu?

Featuring three category one climbs and the Cima Coppi, the name given to the highest point in the race in honor of the grand Italian champion Fausto Coppi, it is safe to say that today’s jaunt through the Dolomites is one of the toughest this year’s Giro d’Italia.

Stage 16 podium

After setting off from Sacile at the ungodly hour of 10 am, the riders will barely have warmed up before reaching the start of the day’s first climb, La Rosetta (see below profile), which is just 11.6km in length at an average gradient of 7.0% but is little more than an amuse-bouche for what is to follow. In fact, La Rosetta is the only categorized climb that does not go above 2,000 meters in altitude – it tops out at 1,116m for those that care about these things.

La Rosetta

Once beyond the day’s first intermediate sprint in Agordo, at around the 91km mark where there will be points on offer in the race for the maglia ciclamino, the second ‘sprint’ of the day follows 20km later on the lower slopes of the Passo Fedaia. Here in Rocca Pietore (below), riders can gain time bonuses in the general classification, with the first three riders claiming 3sec, 2sec, and 1sec.

Passo Fedaia

Then the attention switches to the ascent of the Passo Fedaia (below). The long drag up to the actual start of the climb will have a draining effect on the riders, certainly for those dreading the 5,700 meters of vertical gain they will rack up during the stage. After 14km of climbing on a slope with an average gradient of 7.5%, but one that pitches up to 18%, riders finally summit at 2,050m which will be the highest point of the race so far. But it gets worse, or better, depending on the riders’ form and fortitude – rain is forecast.

Passo Fedaia

After dropping into Canazei, the route rises at a steady 6% gradient for 12km along Passo Pordoi, which, as mentioned, at 2,231m, is the highest point in this year’s Giro. Though some distance from being as high as climbs like the Stelvio (2,758m), the conditions in which today’s stage is raced may be critical. When the clouds close in, and the rain falls heavily, the most beautiful mountain range in the whole of Europe, possibly even the world, can become hellish to ride in.

Passo Pordoi

Having descended off the Pordoi at great speed, the road heads to Selva di Cadore which in turn leads to the foot of Passo Giau (below), the fourth and final climb of the day, and it is a brute. Though just 9.8km long, the Giau, which has an average gradient of 9.3%, is one of those nasty climbs that just holds its numbers true. There’s not a stretch of road that goes below 8%, and much of it bounces around the 9-10% mark. Once the riders have hauled themselves over the top, there’s a swift descent towards the old ski resort of Cortina d’Ampezzo, where rich and famous Italians like to holiday.

Passo Giau

Losing just 1,000 meters in elevation on the descent to Cortina d’Ampezzo, which is 1,224m above sea level, the fast and frenetic finale is likely to be very cold, especially if raining.


In summary, it will be a brute of a day that is, unsurprisingly, suited to the natural climbers. Given the trend for breakaway riders to win stages at this year’s Giro in which eight of the 15 locations have been won from the break – Taco van der Hoorn (stage three), Joe Dombrowski (stage four), Gino Mäder (stage six), Victor Lafay (stage eight), Mauro Schmid (stage 11), Andrea Vendrame (stage 12) and Lorenzo Fortunato (stage 14), Victor Campenaerts (stage 15) – I don’t think anybody would be too surprised if another rider not involved in the battle for pink were to prevail. That said, there will be movement in the general classification, but the big question is: can anybody unsettle Egan Bernal and wrestle that maglia rosa off him?05:45 am

Catch up: Highlights from yesterday’s stage05:40 am


Hello and welcome to our live rolling blog from stage 16 at the Giro d’Italia, the 212-kilometer run from Sacile to Cortina d’Ampezzo.

Victor Campenaerts – Giro d’Italia 2021, stage 16 – live updates – EPA

Yesterday’s stage may have been a little frustrating for those wanting to spend their Sunday afternoon watching a massive battle in the mountains. Still, anybody who has been paying attention over the last few years will have been delighted to see Victor Campenaerts (Qhubeka-Assos) finally win the first grand tour stage of his career. Admittedly, the general classification was a bit of a damp squib, but in theory, that will mean today’s jaunt into the Dolomites should provide the fireworks. Before we have a look at today’s stage, though, let’s remind ourselves about the standings in the top classifications.

Egan Bernal – Giro d’Italia 2021, stage 16 – live updates – EPA

Emanuel Buchmann (Bora-Hansgrohe) crashed out following a pile-up at the beginning of yesterday’s stage, meaning a whole raft of riders moved up the general classification by a single place. Still, there were no changes in the top five – the German had started the day in the sixth spot. Egan Bernal (Ineos Grenadiers) will wear the maglia rosa or the pink jersey awarded to the race leader for the seventh day.

Davide Cimolai and Fernando Gaviria both moved up the standings of the points classification after Giacomo Nizzolo (Qhubeka-Assos) abandoned shortly after the Monte Zoncolan stage. Still, as a leader in that competition, Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) keeps hold of the maglia ciclamino, the cyclamen jersey.

With just three category four climbs on Sunday, there was tiny movement in the mountains competition. So Geoffrey Bouchard (Ag2r-Citroën) will wear the maglia Azzurra, the blue jersey, in one of the most challenging stages in this year’s Giro as it enters the Dolomites. Alexandr Vlasov (Astana-Premier Tech) will again wear the maglia Bianca, or the white jersey, on behalf of the maglia rosa Bernal.