Giro d’Italia 2021: Egan Bernal extends lead as Lorenzo Fortunato wins on Zoncolan

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Egan Bernal - Giro d'Italia 2021: Egan Bernal extends lead after Lorenzo Fortunato wins on Zoncolan - AP

Egan Bernal – Giro d’Italia 2021: Egan Bernal extends lead after Lorenzo Fortunato wins on Zoncolan – AP

Saturday May 22 – Cittadella to Monte Zoncolan, 205km

Lorenzo Fortunato soloed to victory atop the fearsome Monte Zoncolan as Egan Bernal extended his overall lead to more than a minute after the 14th stage of the Giro d’Italia on Saturday.

Fortunato, who rides for Eolo-Kometa, attacked with around 2 kilometres remaining of the 205-kilometre stage from Cittadella to claim a debut professional win in his first grand tour, at the top of one of the Giro’s most prestigious climbs.

It was Fortunato’s first victory in more than eight years, having last won as a junior.

Jan Tratnik was second, 26 seconds behind Fortunato. The duo had escaped from the remains of the breakaway shortly after the start of the ascent of the Zoncolan, which was covered in snow. Alessandro Covi was third, 59 seconds behind Fortunato.

Bernal attacked from the peloton in the fog at the summit and finished fourth to extend his overall lead to 1min 33sec ahead of Simon Yates, who moved into second. Bernal, the 2019 Tour de France winner, is 1min 51sec ahead of third-place Damiano Caruso

This year’s Giro saw the riders climb the Zoncolan from the easier side. It was still nevertheless one of the most arduous ascents of the race. The last three kilometres had gradients often exceeding 20% and topping out at 27% along the hairpins in the final kilometre. AP

Stage 13: Nizzolo ends long wait for maiden stage win

Friday May 21 – Ravenna to Verona, 198km

Giro d'Italia 2021: Giacomo Nizzolo ends long wait for maiden stage win as Egan Bernal retains pink jersey - REUTERSGiro d'Italia 2021: Giacomo Nizzolo ends long wait for maiden stage win as Egan Bernal retains pink jersey - REUTERS

Giro d’Italia 2021: Giacomo Nizzolo ends long wait for maiden stage win as Egan Bernal retains pink jersey – REUTERS

Giacomo Nizzolo ended his long wait for a Giro d’Italia stage win as Egan Bernal retained the pink jersey in Verona. Nizzolo, the European and Italian champion, had a record 11 second places without a win in Giro stages, but the Qhubeka-Assos rider finally broke his duck on stage 13 to spark emotional celebrations.

The virtually pan-flat 198km stage from Ravenna was always destined to finish in a sprint, though Jumbo-Visma’s Edoardo Affini tried a late dart away from the fast men on the finishing straight before being overhauled by Nizzolo just before the line, ending with second place ahead of Peter Sagan.

“My goal was to be second, maybe that was the trick to gain the victory,” Nizzolo joked. “I’m super happy. My only goal in the sprint was to not get blocked in the final. I went quite far in the wind but I had good legs and it worked out.”

“(Affini’s attack) was a reference for me, I tried to catch him from as far as possible. He did a great effort so congratulations to him as well but I’m so happy.”

Asked what a first Giro stage win meant to him, the 32-year-old said: “A lot, a lot. As I said, I don’t think my value changed because of the Giro but it is obviously nice so I will enjoy it.”

The sprint finish meant no change to the general classification as the overall contenders enjoyed a relatively easy day after two stressful stages and the looming presence of Monte Zoncolan on Saturday.

The Ineos Grenadiers’ Bernal retains a 45-second advantage over Aleksandr Vlasov, with Damiano Caruso one minute 12 seconds down ahead of Britain’s Hugh Carthy and Simon Yates in fourth and fifth respectively.

“It was a bit calm and finally we had an easy day in the Giro,” Bernal said. “I think we had some time to recover a little bit but tomorrow we will have a hard day, so from now we start to think about tomorrow.”

One thousand fans are due to line Saturday’s climb after tickets priced at €10 were snapped up inside an hour. Asked if he would target a stage win in the pink jersey, Bernal said: “That would be special but it’s difficult to control all of the peloton and to control the break. I would be happy if I just keep the maglia rosa but I will do my best.” PA

Stage 12: Bernal passes latest test to keep hold of pink

Thursday May 20 – Siena to Bagno di Romagna, 212km

Egan Bernal - Giro d'Italia 2021: Egan Bernal passes latest test to keep hold of leader's pink jersey - GETTY IMAGESEgan Bernal - Giro d'Italia 2021: Egan Bernal passes latest test to keep hold of leader's pink jersey - GETTY IMAGES

Egan Bernal – Giro d’Italia 2021: Egan Bernal passes latest test to keep hold of leader’s pink jersey – GETTY IMAGES

Egan Bernal kept hold of the Giro d’Italia leader’s jersey having survived the 212km stage from Siena to Bagno di Romagna unscathed after Ineos Grenadiers team-mate Gianni Moscon crashed during the finale.

Two-time winner Vincenzo Nibali (Trek-Segafredo), more than four minutes down in 13th place on general classification, used a late attack to claw back a few seconds and show he still has ambitions in the race.

Nibali’s attack did draw a brief response from Bernal’s team-mate Moscon, only for the Italian to crash on a corner, though he completed the stage without losing time.

“I think today was a really hard day for everyone,” Bernal said. “We are happy it finished well. When Nibali attacked in the downhill we didn’t want to take the risk to follow him so I think we did well.”

The stage, meanwhile, was another day for the breakaway, with Andrea Vendrame (Ag2r-Citroën) beating Chris Hamilton (DSM) to the line as the last survivors of a 16-man breakaway.

“I’m super happy because I tried in 2019 but I was second and [Esteban] Chavez won that day, and I tried also last year but I was in a bad position,” the Italian said.

“I have been training hard this year and I made a dream come true. I’m really happy. We’ve been working to try to get the blue jersey for [Geoffrey] Bouchard and then in the finish we made it so I could try and get the victory.”

George Bennett (Jumb-Visma) was awarded third place after Gianluca Brambilla (Trek-Segafredo) was relegated for an irregular sprint, with the pair having been in something of squabble for many of the final kilometres.
PA

Stage 11: Bernal extends lead after Evenepoel loses time

Wednesday May 19 – Perugia to Montalcino, 162km

Egan Bernal - Giro d'Italia 2021: Egan Bernal extends lead after Remco Evenepoel loses time - GETTY IMAGESEgan Bernal - Giro d'Italia 2021: Egan Bernal extends lead after Remco Evenepoel loses time - GETTY IMAGES

Egan Bernal – Giro d’Italia 2021: Egan Bernal extends lead after Remco Evenepoel loses time – GETTY IMAGES

Egan Bernal strengthened his grip on the pink jersey as the white gravel roads of Tuscany blew apart the Giro d’Italia on Wednesday.

Mauro Schmid won a dramatic stage 11 from a breakaway in Montalcino but all eyes were on the battle behind as the famed strade bianche broke the hopes of several general classification contenders.

An angry Remco Evenepoel conceded more than two minutes to go from second to seventh overall, Giulio Ciccono tumbled from fourth to eighth while Dan Martin and Davide Formolo fell out of contention.

Only 62 seconds separated the top 10 at the start of the day, but by the finish Bernal’s advantage over second-placed Aleksandr Vlasov was 45 seconds, with Damiano Caruso 72 seconds down in third. The gap to 10th – held by Bernal’s team-mate Dani Martinez – now stands at three minutes 15 seconds.

British duo Hugh Carthy and Simon Yates moved up to fourth and fifth respectively despite losing time amid the chaos, but Ineos Grenadiers’ Bernal was the clear winner on the day. PA

Stage 10: Bernal retains lead going into first rest day

Monday May 17 – L’Aquila to Foligno, 139km

By John MacLeary

Egan Bernal – Giro d'Italia 2021: Egan Bernal retains leader's pink jersey going into first rest day - GETTY IMAGESEgan Bernal – Giro d'Italia 2021: Egan Bernal retains leader's pink jersey going into first rest day - GETTY IMAGES

Egan Bernal – Giro d’Italia 2021: Egan Bernal retains leader’s pink jersey going into first rest day – GETTY IMAGES

Egan Bernal retained the maglia rosa on Monday, the Colombian taking the leader’s pink jersey into the first rest day of the Giro d’Italia after finishing the shortest stage of the three-week race safely in the bunch.

The Ineos Grenadiers rider will take a 14-second lead over Remco Evenepoel (Deceuninck-Quick Step) into Wednesday’s stage when racing resumes in the Tuscan hills, while Aleksandr Vlasov (Astana-Premier Tech) will start another eight seconds down in third place.

Evenepoel gained one second on Bernal after the pair went head-to-head at the second intermediate sprint with time bonuses up for grabs, the Belgian edging out the maglia rosa on an enthralling day of racing.

Bernal said afterwards that he had not intended to challenge for the bonus seconds, but took the opportunity to race once he had seen Deceuninck-Quick Step make their move. “I just saw the opportunity to go behind Remco,” he said. “I took only one second but it didn’t take me any effort. We’re here also to enjoy the race and this was a nice way to do so. It was actually a harder stage than we thought it would be this morning. Bora did a great job. Tomorrow I’ll train during the rest day and I’ll prepare for the very important stage coming up on Wednesday.”

It was Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe), however, who was celebrating in Foligno after the three-time world champion won a bunch gallop ahead of Fernando Gaviria (UAE Team Emirates) to land the second Giro stage of his career, while the in-form Italian sprinter Davide Cimolai took third.

Sagan’s win came after his team-mates had set a fierce tempo on an uncategorised climb that led in the category four Valico della Somma. Though unable to get rid of the entire field of sprinters, the pace on the climbs was too much for Dylan Groenewegen (Jumbo-Visma), Tim Merlier (Alpecin-Fenix) and Giacomo Nizzolo (Qhubeka-Assos) with all three getting dropped, unable to contest the sprint finish.

Sagan timed his move to perfection, benefiting from slipstream given to him by Juan Sebastián Molano (UAE Team Emirates) who attacked in the home straight, possibly thinking team-mate Fernando Gaviria was on his wheel. Sagan was able to, effectively, use Molano as his lead-out man, jumping the Colombian to take the stage, only the second Giro win of his career, finishing ahead of Gaviria and Davide Cimolai.

Stage nine: Bernal blasts into leader’s pink jersey

Sunday May 16 – Castel di Sangro to Campo Felice, 158km

Egan Bernal - Giro d'Italia 2021: Egan Bernal takes hold of leader's pink jersey with first stage win - GETTY IMAGESEgan Bernal - Giro d'Italia 2021: Egan Bernal takes hold of leader's pink jersey with first stage win - GETTY IMAGES

Egan Bernal – Giro d’Italia 2021: Egan Bernal takes hold of leader’s pink jersey with first stage win – GETTY IMAGES

Former Tour de France champion Egan Bernal showed just why he is one of the favourites to win the Giro d’Italia as he stormed to victory Sunday on the ninth stage to also claim the leader’s pink jersey.

Bernal, who rides for Ineos Grenadiers, attacked with about 500 metres remaining on the summit finish in the first top-categorised climb of this year’s race. Bernal passed the two previous leaders to claim his first Giro stage win in the first year he has participated in the Italian race.

The 2019 Tour winner finished seven seconds ahead of Giulio Ciccone and Aleksandr Vlasov at the end of the 158-kilometre route from Castel di Sangro to the ski resort of Campo Felice. The stage featured three other categorised climbs as well as the final, tough ascent on gravel roads.

Bernal took over the race lead from Attila Valter. The 24-year-old Colombian has a 15-second lead over Remco Evenepoel and is 21 seconds ahead of Vlasov. AP

Stage eight: Valter holds lead for another day in mountains

Saturday May 15 – Foggia to Guardia Sanframondi, 170km

By John MacLeary

Attila Valter - Giro d'Italia 2021: Attila Valter holds lead for another day in the mountains - GETTY IMAGESAttila Valter - Giro d'Italia 2021: Attila Valter holds lead for another day in the mountains - GETTY IMAGES

Attila Valter – Giro d’Italia 2021: Attila Valter holds lead for another day in the mountains – GETTY IMAGES

Attila Valter enjoyed the ‘perfect day’ on Saturday when the Hungarian who rides for Groupama-FDJ retained the leader’s pink jersey at the Giro d’Italia having finished the hilly stage to Guardia Sanframondi safely.

It was another young rider, Victor Lafay of Cofidis, who won the stage after the 25-year-old made his move from a whittled down breakaway in the final two kilometres of the 170km stage from Foggia.

“It was a perfect day for me and for the team,” said Valter after finishing alongside the main general classification contenders.

“Once the break went clear, we tried not to take any risks. It’s amazing to see all my team-mates working for me and it’s fantastic to be able to wear the maglia rosa for another day.”

Stage seven: Ewan wins again as Valter retains pink

Friday May 14 – Notaresco to Termoli, 181km

By Tom Cary

Giro d'Italia 2021: Caleb Ewan claims second stage win as Attila Valter retains pink jersey - VeloGiro d'Italia 2021: Caleb Ewan claims second stage win as Attila Valter retains pink jersey - Velo

Giro d’Italia 2021: Caleb Ewan claims second stage win as Attila Valter retains pink jersey – Velo

Hugh Carthy remained in sixth place overall, 38 seconds off the lead, and fellow Briton Simon Yates 10th overall, a further 11 seconds back, after Friday’s seventh stage of the Giro d’Italia.

Caleb Ewan, the Australian sprinter, claimed his second stage win of the race as the general classification contenders recovered from what was a chaotic couple of days featuring numerous incidents and accidents.

General classification contender Mikel Landa (Bahrain Victorious) and stage four winner Joe Dombrowksi (UAE Team Emirates) were both forced to retire after a rider collided with a race marshal on stage five, triggering a multi-rider crash.

On Thursday’s sixth stage, meanwhile, a BikeExchange team car rear-ended Belgian rider Pieter Serry, knocking him off his bike. The driver involved, Gene Bates, was thrown off the race as a result.

With the weather set much fairer on Friday, and after all the crashes, the peloton seemed determined to enjoy a less eventful stage, Ewan (Lotto-Soudal) eventually following up his win on stage five with a well-timed surge at the finish in Termoli.

As the leading contenders began to wind up for the run-in, it was Fernando Gaviria (UAE Team Emirates) who made the first move on an uphill section, but his attack was destined to fail.

Ewan closed him down with about 150 metres remaining and won with something to spare to take his career Giro haul to five. Davide Cimolai (Israel Start-up Nation) was second and Tim Merlier (Alpecin-Fenix) third. Hungary’s Attila Valter (Groupama-FDJ) finished safely in the bunch to retain the pink leaders’ jersey.

”It was a question of being smart and a lot of teamwork,” Ewan said. “There were a few points in the last 10km where we needed to be in the front so we didn’t have to brake and we got a really good ride in.

“My legs were burning at the end. It was basically sprinting for the last 450 metres with a slight uphill, so it was a tough one. When Gavaria goes you know he has the strength and the speed to hold it. I had a bit of a run and really accelerated.”

Valter will keep the leader’s jersey for another day at least and will take an 11-second lead over Belgian youngster Remco Evenepoel (Deceuninck-Quick Step) into the eighth stage, which features one category-two climb and a steep finish at Guardia Sanframondi.

Stage six: Valter becomes first Hungarian to hold leader’s pink jersey

Thursday May 13 – Grotte di Frasassi to Ascoli Piceno, 160km

Attila Valter – Giro d'Italia 2021: Attila Valter becomes first Hungarian to hold leader's pink jersey - REUTERSAttila Valter – Giro d'Italia 2021: Attila Valter becomes first Hungarian to hold leader's pink jersey - REUTERS

Attila Valter – Giro d’Italia 2021: Attila Valter becomes first Hungarian to hold leader’s pink jersey – REUTERS

Gino Mäder won the sixth stage of the Giro d’Italia on Thursday for his first victory in a grand tour, and Attila Valter took the leader’s pink jersey.

Mäder, who rides for Bahrain Victorious, was part of a quartet leading the race up the summit finish and the 24-year-old attacked with three kilometres remaining to cross the line 12 seconds ahead of his fellow escapees.

Egan Bernal was second, just ahead of Dan Martin and Remco Evenepoel at the end of the sternest test yet of this year’s Giro.

There were three classified climbs along the 160-kilometre route from Grotte di Frasassi to Ascoli Piceno and the stage was made even trickier by the weather conditions, which were wet and cold.

Valter took over the lead from Alessandro De Marchi. The Hungarian has an 11-second lead over Evenepoel and 16 seconds ahead of Bernal – two of the favorites for the overall win.
AP

Stage five: De Marchi survives ‘crazy circus’ to keep pink

Wednesday May 12 – Modena to Cattolica, 177km

By John MacLeary

Alessandro De Marchi - Giro d'Italia 2021: Alessandro De Marchi survives 'crazy circus' to keep hold of pink - GETTY IMAGESAlessandro De Marchi - Giro d'Italia 2021: Alessandro De Marchi survives 'crazy circus' to keep hold of pink - GETTY IMAGES

Alessandro De Marchi – Giro d’Italia 2021: Alessandro De Marchi survives ‘crazy circus’ to keep hold of pink – GETTY IMAGES

Alessandro De Marchi kept hold of his leader’s pink jersey at the Giro d’Italia on Wednesday when the Italian finished safely in the bunch after Caleb Ewan won a bunch sprint finish to claim stage five in Cattolica.

Ewan’s stage win – the fourth of the Lotto-Soudal rider’s career – was only part of the story though on a day of high drama on the Adriatic coast.

Following a relatively incident-free day, Pavel Sivakov (Ineos Grenadiers) was the first to go down heavily after the Russian appeared to touch wheels with a team-mate before clipping the branch of a roadside tree. Although he completed the stage, over 13 minutes down, his team’s sporting director Matteo Tosatto suggested he may have broken his collarbone and was unlikely to continue.

Landa’s fate was sealed once the race had entered the final five kilometres of a circuitous and very technical run in to the line. The Basque, who had looked in great form during Tuesday’s tough stage, crashed after a rider collided with a race marshal who was stood in the centre of the road to warn riders about dangerous road furniture.

Involved in the same crash, which left the marshal lying on the road, was Joe Dombrowski (UAE Team Emirates) and François Bidard (Ag2r-Citroën). Landa was unable to continue and was taken away by ambulance while Bahrain Victorious later confirmed the severity of his injuries in a team statement.

“In the final kilometres of the race, Mikel Landa was taken down in a crash involving three other riders after a collision at a traffic island,” the team statement said. “Landa has been taken to Riccione Hospital, where he is receiving treatment for a broken collarbone and multiple ribs on his left side. Landa remained conscious throughout and is in good spirits to get back on the bike as soon as possible.”

Tuesday’s stage winner Dombrowski and the leader in the mountains classification completed the stage and is expected to continue on Thursday, while Bidard’s team later confirmed the Frenchman had fractured his left clavicle and had abandoned the race.

Despite finishing safely to retain the maglia rosa, Alessandro De Marchi (Israel Start-up Nation) described the finale ‘a crazy circus’.

“The road was really difficult and technical, even too dangerous in my opinion so in the last 70km there was really a lot of stress and I hope the guys that crashed are fine,” the Italian said.

Stage four: De Marchi takes lead after his plan pay off

Tuesday May 11 – Piacenza to Sestola, 187km

By John MacLeary

Alessandro De Marchi – Giro d'Italia 2021: Alessandro De Marchi becomes new race leader after plans pay off -  REUTERSAlessandro De Marchi – Giro d'Italia 2021: Alessandro De Marchi becomes new race leader after plans pay off -  REUTERS

Alessandro De Marchi – Giro d’Italia 2021: Alessandro De Marchi becomes new race leader after plans pay off – REUTERS

Alessandro De Marchi took the first maglia rosa of his career after the Italian became the new race leader at his home race, the Giro d’Italia, following a rain-drenched fourth stage through the Apennines.

De Marchi, 34, later said he had been planning his assault on the fabled pink jersey which had been held by another Italian, Ineos Grenadiers rider Filippo Ganna since the opening stage, since the weekend.

“I started thinking about taking the maglia rosa two days ago but I didn’t tell anybody,” the Israel Start-up Nation rider said. “Today it was about finding the right move. I knew it would be tricky at the start. A bit of luck helped and here we are. I’m lost for words. The maglia rosa is the childhood dream of every cyclist, especially for an Italian.”

The rider who is ordinarily associated with riding in the breakaway, did just that, though somehow managed to keep his powder dry until he lit the fuse at precisely the right time. Having been part of a large 25-man breakaway for much of the stage, Rein Taaramae (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux) appeared on course to take the jersey as he rode along with co-breakaway rider Chris Juul-Jensen (BikeExchange). That is, until De Marchi launched himself out of a chasing group, taking with him Joe Dombrowski (UAE Team Emirates), in the tough finale.

Despite missing out on the stage win that was taken by Dombrowski, De Marchi was able to hold on for second on the stage a result that propelled him into pink while the UAE Team Emirates rider moved up to second on general classification as well as taking the lead in the mountains competition. Louis Vervaeke (Alpecin-Fenix), another of the day’s breakaway riders, climbed into third overall.

Stage three: Van der Hoorn defies odds to win from break

Monday May 10 – Biella to Canale, 190km

By John MacLeary

Taco van der Hoorn - REUTERSTaco van der Hoorn - REUTERS

Taco van der Hoorn – REUTERS

Filippo Ganna will wear the leader’s pink jersey at the Giro d’Italia for a third successive day on Tuesday after the Ineos Grenadiers rider finished Monday’s stage in the bunch behind winner Taco van der Hoorn.

Ganna, who took the overall led in the race after winning the opening time trial Saturday, enjoyed a relatively quiet day while Bora-Hansgrohe spent most of the 190-kilometre third stage from Biella to Canale setting a fierce pace on the front of the peloton. After an eight-man breakaway had formed from the flag, Peter Sagan’s team appeared intent on reining them before the three-time world champion launched himself for the line.

However, Van der Hoorn (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux) had other ideas and after riding Simon Pellaud (Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec) off his wheel around 7km from the line remained the last man standing.

Against all the odds, however, the 27-year-old who is making his grand tour debut, held off the chasing pack to land the biggest win of his career.

Ganna rolled over the line safely in the bunch to keep hold of the maglia rosa, while Remco Evenepoel (Deceuninck- Quick Step) moved up to third on general classification. Tim Merlier (Alpecin-Fenix), who won Sunday’s second stage, retained his points jersey, and Vincenzo Albanese (Eolo-Kometa) extended his lead in the mountains classification.

Stage two: Merlier sprints to victory as Ganna retains pink

Sunday May 9 – Stupinigi (Nichelino) to Novara, 173km

Tim Merlier  - Giro d'Italia 2021: Tim Merlier sprints to victory on stage two as Filippo Ganna retains pink jersey - GETTY IMAGESTim Merlier  - Giro d'Italia 2021: Tim Merlier sprints to victory on stage two as Filippo Ganna retains pink jersey - GETTY IMAGES

Tim Merlier – Giro d’Italia 2021: Tim Merlier sprints to victory on stage two as Filippo Ganna retains pink jersey – GETTY IMAGES

Tim Merlier handed Alpecin-Fenix victory on the first road stage of their Grand Tour debut as he took the honours on the second day of the Giro d’Italia.

The Belgian had the power to hold off Italian pair Giacomo Nizzolo and Elia Viviani at the end of the 179km stage from Stupinigi to Novara.

It was a record 10th second place in a Giro stage for Team Qhubeka-ASSOS’ Nizzolo, who has never won a stage of his home Grand Tour despite twice winning the points classification.

The sprint finish meant there were only minimal changes in the early general classification standings as set in Saturday’s opening time trial, with Filippo Ganna retaining the pink jersey for the Ineos Grenadiers.

The Italian stretched his advantage slightly to 13 seconds from Jumbo-Visma’s Edoardo Affini as he picked up three bonus seconds in the intermediate sprint.

Deceuninck-QuickStep’s Remco Evenepoel edged ahead of team-mate Joao Almeida to move up to fourth, 20 seconds down, with a group of pink jersey hopefuls including Egan Bernal, Simon Yates and Vincenzo Nibali still bunched together with deficits of a little over 40 seconds.

With only three riders joining the early breakaway, Sunday’s stage was raced at a slow pace until it came back together with 25km to go and preparations began for a technical sprint, punctuated by a tight roundabout on the approach to the line.

Merlier launched his sprint early but nobody could find a way around the 28-year-old.

“I’m really happy, and really proud of it,” he said of the win. “The roundabout was really important but I saw we were in a good position. My only thought was ‘faster, faster, faster’. It was far to go from 250m but in the end it was enough.”

Dylan Groenewegen, racing for the first time since serving a nine-month ban following last year’s controversial crash at the Tour of Poland which left Fabio Jakobsen in a coma, finished fourth for Jumbo-Visma just behind Cofidis’ Viviani.

“The feeling after a really long time is OK,” the Dutchman said. “Taking fourth place in the first sprint after nine months, I need to be happy, but I’m a winner, I always want more.

“The legs are really perfect so I’m looking forward to the next sprints.” The race continues with a 190km stage from Biella to Canale on Monday. PA

Stage one: Ganna wins time trial to take pink jersey

Saturday May 8 – Turin, 8.6km (time trial)

Giro d'Italia 2021 stage results latest standings maglia rosa - AFPGiro d'Italia 2021 stage results latest standings maglia rosa - AFP

Giro d’Italia 2021 stage results latest standings maglia rosa – AFP

Filippo Ganna claimed the first Maglia Rosa leader’s jersey of the 2021 Giro d’Italia on home soil, winning the opening time trial, an 8.6-km ride along the Po river on Saturday.

Time trial world champion Ganna, who also won the first stage of last year’s Giro, clocked a best time of eight minutes 48 seconds to beat compatriot Edoardo Affini by 10 seconds and Norway’s Tobias Foss by 12.

Belgian prospect Remco Evenepoel, who was making his comeback to competitive cycling more than eight months after serious injuries in a freak crash at the Giro di Lombardia, secured an encouraging top-10 finish, 18 seconds off the pace.

The 21-year-old, who won all four of the stage races he started last season, is making his grand tour debut, gunning for the general classification.

Among the other overall contenders, Russian Aleksandr Vlasov clocked 9:12, faring better than 2019 Tour de France champion Egan Bernal of Colombia (9:26), Briton Simon Yates (9:25) and double Giro champion and local favourite Vincenzo Nibali (9:28), who is back to racing after recovering from a wrist injury that required surgery.

Last year’s runner-up Jai Hindley of Australia was a bit further down in the rankings with a time of 9:33.

Sunday’s second stage is a 176-km ride from Stupinigi to Novara. Reuters