Colombian Egan Bernal, riding for Ineos, tightened his grip on the overall Giro d’Italia lead on Wednesday’s 11th stage won by Switzerland’s Mauro Schmid. Team Qhubeka’s Schmid won the 100 mile stage as part of a long range breakaway while 2019 Tour de France winner Bernal extended his overall lead in Tuscany.
“Today we rode well and I increased my lead in the GC (general classification) but the Giro is still long, all the big climbs are still to be ridden,” said Bernal.
“I’m confident but I have to keep my feet firmly on the ground.”
Belgian Remco Evenepoel was one of the big losers of the day, as the race resumed after Tuesday’s rest day, falling behind in the final 12 miles to drop two minutes and eight seconds to Bernal, who gained time on all his rivals.
The 24-year-old former mountain biker was at ease throughout the day and perfectly mastered the final 20 mile section of white dirt roads where so many others suffered and that also feature on the Strade Bianche one day classic.
In the climb to Montalcino, Bernal then outpaced Russian Aleksandr Vlasov in a group that included British riders Hugh Carthy and Simon Yates. Evenepoel fell behind a first time in the descent of the first of four dirt road sectors and was definitely trailing in the third were he clearly suffered and had to be helped by Deceuninck-Quick-Step teammate Joao Almeida.
But the 21-year-old Belgian, making his cycling comeback in the Giro after nine months out following an accident, dropped from overall second to seventh at 2:22 adrift of the pink jersey.
France’s Romain Bardet also lost steam late along with Italian climber Giulio Ciccone.
Schmid, 22, pulled clear of Italian breakaway rival Alessandro Covi, finishing just ahead for his first professional win.
Overall Bernal leads Vlasovic by 45 seconds with Italian Damiano Caruso at 1:12.
“Actually I cannot believe it,” said Schmid.
“I was only selected for the Giro team about two weeks before the race. ”
My preparation was good but at the beginning of the season, I was not even thinking about riding a Grand Tour.
“In the last two stages I suffered a lot, but today I really wanted to go on the attack because I really like riding on gravel.
“In the breakaway, I felt I had good legs and I went for it.”
Thursday’s 12th stage covers 131 miles between Siena and Bagno di Romana with four climbs including the Passo del Carnaio in the final 6 miles.
GIRO D’ITALIA STAGE 11 RESULTS
|1||SCHMID Mauro||Team Qhubeka ASSOS||4:01:55|
|2||COVI Alessandro||UAE-Team Emirates||0:01|
|3||VANHOUCKE Harm||Lotto Soudal||0:26|
|4||DE BONDT Dries||Alpecin-Fenix||0:41|
|5||GUGLIELMI Simon||Groupama – FDJ||0:41|
|7||KLUGE Roger||Lotto Soudal||1:23|
|9||VAN DER HOORN Taco||Intermarché – Wanty – Gobert Matériaux||1:43|
|10||NAESEN Lawrence||AG2R Citroën Team||1:59|
|1||BERNAL Egan||INEOS Grenadiers||42:35:21|
|2||VLASOV Aleksandr||Astana – Premier Tech||0:45|
|3||CARUSO Damiano||Bahrain – Victorious||1:12|
|4||CARTHY Hugh||EF Education – Nippo||1:17|
|5||YATES Simon||Team BikeExchange||1:22|
|6||BUCHMANN Emanuel||BORA – hansgrohe||1:50|
|7||EVENEPOEL Remco||Deceuninck – Quick Step||2:22|
|8||CICCONE Giulio||Trek – Segafredo||2:24|
|9||FOSS Tobias||Team Jumbo-Visma||2:49|
|10||MARTÍNEZ Daniel Felipe||INEOS Grenadiers||3:15|
RBA/AFP Photos: Bettini