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Who won the Giro d'Italia 2021

30 May 2021Fabio Strufaldi

Review of the beautiful Giro d'Italia 2021 (and the Teams' scoreboards)

The Giro d'Italia 2021 ended in Milan with the victory of Egan Bernal. The 104th edition of the pink race did not disappoint the expectations: a very tough route of over 3410 km (here all the stages of the Giro d'Italia 2021), tight and uncertain, made even more difficult by the weather conditions and by an impressive series of crashes that have stopped many protagonists. And last but not least, the return of a passionate and festive crowd after last year's lockdown which, combined with the beauty of landscapes that is unmatched in any stage race in the world, makes the Giro d'Italia a special race. The Italian race could not be a business-machine like the Tour de France, it perhaps will not always see all top protagonists at the start, but we are sure of one thing: at each edition the Giro d'Italia makes great the cyclists who honor it, whatever name they have and in return the athletes make the race great year after year. Also for this reason the winner's trophy is called Trofeo Senza Fine (Neverending Trophy).

Who has won the Giro d'Italia 2021 is a great champion who responds to the name of Egan Bernal. Without bothering the monument-names of the past, he dominated the great mountains, supported by a team, the Ineos, of great quality and perfect in its mechanisms, which was able to renew themselves after the change of sponsors (formerly Sky) and following the decline of Froome. Egan is back to the glories of 2019, and with a Tour and a Giro in his bag at just 24 years old he confirmed to be a phenomenon of the present and the future. A desired victory of the coveted pink race for him, due to the intense relationship that the Colombian has with Italy (he was raised as an athlete in Piedmont), demonstrated when finishing in Cortina he took off his jacket to show off the pink jersey triumphantly.

The final GC of the Giro d'Italia 2021

1. Egan Bernal (Ineos-Grenadiers) 86:17:28
2. Damiano Caruso (Bahrein-Victorious) a 1:29
3. Simon Yates (Team BikeExchange) a 4:15
4. Alexandr Vlasov (Astana) a 6:40
5. Daniel Felipe Martinez (Ineos- Grenadiers) a 7:24
6. Joaõ Almeida (Deceuninck- Quick Step) a 7:24
7. Romain Bardet (Team DSM) a 8:05
8. Hugh Carthy (EF Education- Nippo) a 8:56
9. Tobias Foss (Jumbo- Visma) a 11:44
10. Daniel Martin (Israel- Start-Up Nation) a 18:35

A beautiful podium: alongside the winner, there are Caruso and Yates, two athletes who for different reasons deserve this honor (and a stage victory each). Caruso because after a career spent helping the captains he has shown that he has head, legs and heart: after the Alpe Motta stage he was the “happiest man in the world”. Yates because he was a proud opponent and when he is at top he guarantees fight . Behind the top three, a mix of experienced riders and emerging youngsters, as shown in the great races of recent years: the generational change is fully underway. A GC that presents many outsiders and an always uncertain development, determined by an endless series of falls, which have knocked out many leaders who could have been protagonists : Landa, Pozzovivo, Soler, Buchmann, Ciccone, not to mention De Marchi, Mohoric, Brambilla. A topic that deserves to be studied in depth by the Federation and the whole movement and which is not sufficiently emphasized: how accidents can affect the big cycling tours, perhaps within a broader debate on safety in general.

Italy is not just Ganna and Caruso
Filippo Ganna not only proved to be the strongest in the world in TT stages but he was an inexhaustible locomotive when it came to working for the team. And in an edition where many solo riders from the breakaway of the day have won, Italians were the protagonists of 6 stage victories: beyond the Verbanese and Caruso there were triumphs of Fortunato, Vendrame, Bettiol and finally the coveted victory at the Giro di Nizzolo after 8 participations and 11 second places

Final marks, team by team

Ineos

Often in sport the big names all together are no guarantee of the success of a team. Instead, Ineos (formerly Sky) proves every year to have a perfect organization, where each element gives the maximum for the success of the team, in this case finalized by Egan Bernal. We have seen Ganna who, in addition to the two victories, willingly sacrificed himself for the team, as well as Puccio, Martinez and Moscon, the latter also at the expense of personal chances of success. Some may not like their way of running, but this is modern cycling and Ineos has been able to interpret it perfectly. Mark: 10

 

Deceuninck- Quick Step

Deceuninck counterbalanced the victorious team: the expert team that in recent years has won a lot (in one-day races), has negatively surprised for the reckless management of Evenepoel. How can a 21-year-old boy be considered among the favorites when not only was his first ever participation in a three-week race, but had NEVER raced since the terrible accident last August in Lombardy? The team's excessive expectations also deceived journalists, who charged him with great media pressure every day. The reality is that he arrived just 15 ” from the pink jersey in Campo Felice after 9 stages, this was his success: starting from there to nurture a talent that will have a great future as long as they give to him the necessary time to grow. Little matters n this context the progress of Almeida, who was already out of the GC at Stage 4, where he suffered 6 mins gap. Mark: 4

 

Team BikeExchange 

A Simon Yates who, apart from the slight downturn of Montalcino, has always been on the piece and supported by a cohesive team even without great individuality. When the chamois of Bury is in shape, he is a guarantee for entertaining: one of the few in pro cycling world to have the change of pace to break away in toughest climbs . There were doubts about his durability on the three weeks, but he managed well his efforts. He probably leveraged the unfortunate epilogue of the 2018 Giro: he saved himself in the first part to have fresh energy to play in the last week, although he paid for something in the last two days in the mountains. Mark: 7


Qhubeka ASSOS team

One of the happy surprises of the 2021 Giro. After a troubled winter, which saw the South African team risk shutting down, it has finally found a sponsor. They reacted to the abandonment of GC man Pozzovivo and found three stage victories with Schmid, Nizzolo (finally!) and Campenaerts. The best publicity for a team of fighters with a captivating shirt to promote the Qhubeka project with a high ethical value, that is, to donate bicycles to the poor populations of Africa. Mark: 8

 

Bahrain - Victorious

An team that has transformed the misfortunes into outstanding opportunities: with Landa crashed out and Bilbao not in the form of last year, Caruso has loaded the leadership on his shoulders. He led a solid and regular Giro that already rewarded him with a second place and then surprised everyone with the heroic feat of the penultimate stage. The icing on the cake is the exploit of Gino Mader in San Giacomo di Ascoli.  Mark: 8.5

 

Trek-Segafredo

It is difficult to judge a team that started on the eve with many doubts about the form conditions of the protagonists and was then targeted by misfortunes. Nibali has now understood that he cannot caress the dream of longevity like the eternal Valverde, but the falls are haunting him; the same is true of Ciccone who seemed to be able to do well at the end of the Giro. There remains only the sweetener of the stage won by Dombrowski (then needless to say, also sadly withdrawn due to an accident). Mark: 5.5


UAE- Emirates

A team that perhaps focused too much on the Pogacar phenomenon thinking about the Tour because in the Pink Race it seemed in disarray, without any planning or a clear direction. Waiting for Godot Formolo, we risk burning him. It is now as evident as the sun that the Rock of Verona is not a man of stage races but must be programmed for the one-day classics. On the other hand, on the sprinter front, Gaviria doesn't get it right: he doesn't even trust his team-mate when he paves the way for victory (see Molano in Termoli). Mark: 4


Lotto-Soudal

A just C grade because they won two stages with the excellent Ewan, but then the Australian was "withdrawn" one third of the way through the Giro for technical choice. The need to preserve it for the Tour is not enough to justify the move, when there are plenty of sprinters (see Sagan) who take on all the mountains to get to Milan honouring the race. The rest of the team tried to get into the escapes but picked up little. Mark: 6

 

Eolo-Kometa

The young team led by Basso and Contador (last year still in Continental tier) enlivened the race with their talents often in the breakaway: in the end they succeded with an unexpected victory on the most beautiful climb, the Zoncolan. Fortunato's smile coming out of the fog, and Contador's tears (for those who have seen his social network) were among the most exciting moments of this Giro. Now we will see if the former Spanish champion will come, as he promised, from Madrid to Milan by bicycle! Mark: 7

 

Jumbo-Visma team

One of the disappointments of this Giro: even if they didn't have any prominent names, the Dutch squad was never in the heart of the race. George Bennett, indicated as the leader, did not have the form to contend the top of GC while the recovery path for Groenewegen' after last year's drama still seems very long. Mark: 5

 

Movistar team

Only a few years ago Movistar could win any race. Now it is a team in transition, waiting to see some promise blossom or invest money on an already established champion (will Lopez be the right man?) Soler had to leave by fall when perhaps he could invent something, Cataldo has probably the best of his career behind him, the other components are disciplined players but without a high note. Mark: 5


Astana

Similar review to Movistar, but with greater unfulfilled ambitions. Team focused on the emerging Vlasov who still earned a position in the top 10, but the typical Astana actions chasing stage victories were missing (Felline, Izagirre, Leon Sanchez, make a noise)
Mark: 5.5


AG2R- Citroen

The French team has accustomed us to attacking feats and some stage victories with young riders: once again this year they confirmed the tradition with the Vendrame show (who we believe will be successfull in hilly one-day races) and the blue jersey of Bouchard. Mark: 7


EF Education- Nippo

The American team was often in the core of the race, with several components helping Carthy uphill and which allowed the young Briton a top 10 finish. Then, the exciting exploit of Bettiol which crowned the talented Tuscan after two difficult seasons. Mark: 7


Bora - Hansgrohe

Peter Sagan is no longer dominant as he used to be but he won a good stage and arrived in Milan to conquer the cyclamen jersey. Unfortunately, the bad episode of Stradella remains, which one would not expect from him (fined 1000 Euros by the jury for intimidating other athletes). For the rest, a colorless team, with the abandonment of Buchmann and an impalpable Fabbro. Mark: 6

 

Israel - Start-up Nation

Another of those teams that managed to carve out a slice of glory. If Froome was a millionaire bet now lost, it was two other mature riders who made David's star shine: the unfortunate De Marchi who wore the pink jersey, only to fall ruinously and the Irish Dan Martin with a win after the heroic climb to Sega d'Ala. Mark: 7

 

The other Teams

A 6.5 to those under-dog teams that have won a stage such as Intermarchè-Wanty Gobert (with Van der Hoorn), Cofidis (with Lafay), Alpecin (with Merlier). A 6 to Groupama who wore the pink jersey for 3 days with Attila Valter. The DSM Team does not fullfill the expectations (5.5) with a regular but never protagonist Bardet (apart from the attempt in the penultimate stage) and with the ghost of Hindley after the exploit of last year. Different grade for the two Italian Pro Team teams entered as wild-card: Androni Giocattoli and Bardiani CSF, with limited budget and traditional passion they sought a stage victory that did not arrive. However the two teams have often entered the breakaways and they showed among other hopes two indomitable young riders (Pellaud and Carboni respectively, always present in the attacks from afar): a No Mark that counts as a full pass.