The GC winners and losers of the Giro’s Strade Bianche stage
A hectic day was anticipated on the 11th stage of the Giro d’Italia, and the gravel of Tuscany delivered. Riders keen to wear the pink jersey into Milan knew the stage was wrapped in uncertainty and GC teams would have marked the stage as one to prepare for. The 162 km stage featured four gravel sectors in the final 70 km, ranging from 5 km to 13.5 km in length.
By the finish in Montalcino, the general classification saw a significant shakeup. Here’s where the Giro overall now stands:
- Egan Bernal: Still in the lead
- Emanuel Buchmann: Gained nine places, now sixth
- Aleksandr Vlasov: Gained one place, now second
- Hugh Carthy: Gained two places, now fourth
- Simon Yates: Gained four places, now fifth
- Damiano Caruso: Gained four places, now third
The Ineos Grenadiers came in with a plan and executed it. The team put their time trial world champion to work on the front of the race on the first of four gravel sectors. Filippo Ganna blasted through the gravel with the pink jersey on his wheel. Near the end of the stage, Bernal (Ineos Grenadiers) even attacked his group to nab a bit of extra time. At the end of the stage, Bernal held on to the pink jersey with an additional 31 seconds over second place. Clearly, his mountain bike background came in handy, as did racing Strade Bianche earlier in the season.
“Right from the first section, the goal was for Filippo (Ganna) goes into that first section first and just puts the hammer down,” Ineos team principal Dave Brailsford said after the stage. “He did that beautifully. The rest of the guys built the performance on top of that, with Gianni Moscon, then Egan finished it off capably.”
Buchmann (Bora-Hansgrohe) started the stage 15th overall and a minute and 47 seconds down on Bernal. While he missed the split on the first gravel sector, he did make his way back into the pink jersey group and took advantage of the chaos to attack in the closing kilometers. In the end, Buchmann jumped up to sixth overall 1’50” down.
Vlasov (Astana-Premier Tech moved into second place overall, benefitting from the troubles of Evenepoel. Vlasov led a group of GC hopefuls into the finish 20 seconds behind Bernal and Buchmann. Like many other GC leaders, Vlasov missed the split on the first section of gravel but made it back to Bernal eventually, thanks to the efforts of his team.
EF Education-Nippo were perhaps the second most impressive team of the day. On the first stretch of gravel, Hugh Carthy was distanced from the action, but two of his teammates dropped back to help him get back into the leader’s group. Flanders winner Alberto Bettiol and Ruben Guerreiro were instrumental to Carthy’s solid finish.
Yates (Team BikeExchange) looked questionable through the final sectors, dangling at the back of the group of favorites, but as each contender fell off the back he just rode right around them. He crossed the line with Caruso (Bahrain Victorious) just a few seconds after Vlasov.
It could have been worse…
- Giulio Giccone: Lost four places, now eighth
- Romain Bardet: Gained one place, now 12th
Ciccone (Trek-Segafredo hung on until the final kilometers but slipped off the back shortly after teammate Vincenzo Nibali did the same. He lost 1’47” and slipped to 8th, 2’24” behind Bernal. Unlike many of his rivals, Ciccone did make the split on the initial gravel sector.
Bardet (Team DSM, up one place) lost just over two minutes to Bernal, but actually improved his GC place. Bardet has had good rides on the Tuscan white roads before – he was second in 2018 at Strade Bianche behind Tiesj Benoot.
- Remco Evenepoel: Lost five places, now seventh
- Dan Martin: Lost ten places, now 18th
- Davide Formolo: Lost nine places, now 19th
Evenepoel (Deceuninck-Quick Step) lost touch on the gravel early, caught back on, and was then dropped by Ganna’s speed once again. Miscommunication seemed to strike the team at that point, as teammate Joao Almeida rode on for far longer than one would expect, leaving Evenepoel to fend for himself. Almeida eventually dropped back to his GC leader and pulled him to the line more than two minutes down on Bernal. While Evenepoel didn’t lose much more time than Ciccone and finished slightly ahead of Bardet, he had come into the stage looking like a strong challenger for pink. Instead of solidifying his GC prospects, he instead saw his overall ambitions take a serious blow, dropping from second down to seventh.
Martin (Israel Start-Up Nation) and Formolo (UAE Team Emirates) both dropped off early and tumbled the furthest on GC, coming in more than nine minutes down on stage winner Mauro Schmid and six minutes on Bernal and Schachmann. Martin had started the day in eighth and Formolo in 10th, both around a minute off the pink jersey. They now sit in 18th and 19th, more than 7 minutes back in the overall.