The stage in the Giro with arrival on the Monte Zoncolan made us a bit wiser. Egan Bernal is the strongest uphill, Simon Yates is his challenger and Remco Evenepoel lost time again. View the key moments.
1. Leading group with Mollema and Bennett
Are the top riders looking the cat out of the tree and will we also have a battle on two fronts in this stage? 11 refugees believe in their chances and get 8 minutes from the peloton. The most important names: George Bennett and Bauke Mollema.
Ineos is not in the peloton, but Astana is. “At the Zoncolan, a top player must win, not a breakaway”, Aleksandr Vlasov’s team management explains their approach.
Meanwhile on the Zoncolan: rain and cold!
Meanwhile in the peloton: quarrel between Guerreiro and Pasqualon
2. Evenepoel at a disadvantage in a descent
Astana nibbles the lead little by little. At about 50 kilometers from the finish, they also continue strongly in a technical descent.
There are seven of them left, with Aleksandr Vlasov and Egan Bernal as the only toppers.
Remco Evenepoel is in a 3rd group, but team mates James Knox and Joao Almeida rectify the skewed situation.
No question of passing, Evenepoel says afterwards. At Ineos they left the gap and the roads were too narrow to pass immediately, was the explanation.
3. Fortunato amazes friend and foe
The pressure from Astana is not great enough: the leading group once again delivers the stage winner.
Not favorites Bennett or Mollema draw the longest straw, but the chunky Jan Tratnik and the surprising Lorenzo Fortunato feel at home on the Zoncolan.
At about 2 kilometers from the finish, Fortunato says goodbye to the Slovenian: the Italian from the puny Eolo-Kometa (a project of Ivan Basso and Alberto Contador) is the happiest soul on earth.
4. Bernal is out of category again
The ammunition stays in the pocket for a long time with the toppers. When Remco Evenepoel fits on the steepest pentes, Simon Yates accelerates. Only Egan Bernal has an answer.
What’s more, the Colombian eats the Brit’s plate and puts the finishing touches with a strong final sprint. Yates drops to second place in the score, Vlasov drops and Evenepoel is now eighth.