GIRO’21 Stage 14: Fortunate Fortunato Takes the Zoncolan!

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Giro d’Italia Stage 14: An unbelievable finish to the toughest Giro d’Italia stage of 2021 so far. Lorenzo Fortunato of the eolo-Kometa team crossed the finish line first on the summit of the Monte Zoncolan. Egan Bernal (INEOS Grenadiers) put time into all the other GC rider to lengthen his overall lead. The Colombian now has 1:33 on Simon Yates (BikeExchange) in second place.

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Big win for the eolo-Kometa team and Lorenzo Fortunato

xpedo cxr pedalbanner with Brian McCullough

Lorenzo Fortunato was the surprise winner on the Monte Zoncolan. The Italian turned out to be the strongest rider from the early break on the mythical final climb. Jan Tratnik was second, Alessandro Covi third. Egan Bernal cracked his competitors in the final kilometre and doubled his lead in the pink jersey.

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Points and overall leaders – Peter Sagan and Egan Bernal

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Giro stage 14 route: This mountain stage is divided into two parts: it starts flat and continues on a slight incline for 130 km, all the way to Monte Rest. The route then weaves through a brace of hairpins, on a narrowed roadway, both on the way up and on the way down. After going back on broader roads in Priuso, the route passes Tolmezzo and Arta Terme, reaching the foot of the closing climb. The first 11km ascends in hairpins, on wide roads, with gradients around 7-8%, whereas the last 3 km are very demanding. The last 3km rise sharply on a narrow road with only a few bends, and gradients often exceeding 20% (averaging 13%). The pitch over the final kilometre largely hovers around the 18% mark, with gradients exceeding 25% and topping out at 27% both along the hairpins and in the final stretch. The last 50 metres are on tarmac road and on a slight incline.

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Maglia Rosa – Egan Bernal (INEOS Grenadiers), Maglia Ciclamino – Peter Sagan (BORA-hansgrohe), Maglia Azzurra – Geoffrey Bouchard (AG2R Citroën) and Maglia Bianca – Egan Bernal (INEOS Grenadiers), worn by Aleksandr Vlasov (Astana-Premier Tech)

Stage 14 of the Giro d’Italia took the peloton to the top of the mythical Monte Zoncolan. 14.5 kilometres and an average gradient of 8.5%, the climb from Sutrio was less difficult than from Ovaro, but the steep final kilometres (27% in places) would separate the men from the boys.

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Monstrous day ahead

In the first kilometres of the stage, eleven riders had already fought to get in the early break: George Bennett, Bauke Mollema, Edoardo Affini, Jan Tratnik, Nelson Oliveira, Vincenzo Albanese, Alessandro Covi, Andrii Ponomar, Vincenzo Albanese, Remy Rochas, Jacopo Mosca and Lorenzo Fortunato.

xpedo cxr pedalbanner with Brian McCullough

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The race leaves Cittadella

The chances of the early break were helped by the inclusion of Mosca and Affini, who had two leaders in the group with Bennett and Mollema. Due to their pace on the flat, the eleven escapees were able to gain a lead of more than 8 minutes.

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The break of the day

Before the riders started on the Monte Zoncolan, they first had to cross the Forcella Monte Rest (11.5km at 6%). There it became clear that Astana-Premier Tech was not planning on giving the leading group the stage victory. With a considerable speed acceleration, they took a few minutes back from the break.

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Crash for Nicolas Edet

In the descent, the peloton split into pieces because of Astana. Most of the GC riders were in the front group, but Remco Evenepoel was missing. The Belgian Deceuninck – Quick-Step rider found himself in the third group, which at one point was more than 30 seconds behind the group of Aleksandr Vlasov and Egan Bernal.

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Bennett in the break again

Deceuninck – Quick-Step managed to pull things back together within 10 kilometres. At 38 kilometres from the finish, calmness in the peloton returned and the lead of the riders at the front grew again to 6 minutes.

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Mollema and Bennett were not as strong as we expected

Seven riders started to climb the Monte Zoncolan together: Bennett, Mollema, Tratnik, Oliveira, Covi, Ponomar and Fortunato. Rochas and Albanese were dropped earlier, Affini and Mosca sat up at the foot of the climb after all their work on the flat. Tratnik attacked first. The Bahrain Victorious rider immediately had a gap of 40 seconds on the rest of the leading group, except Fortunato. The Italian of the modest eolo-Kometa team counter-attacked and caught the Slovenian 7 kilometres from the finish.

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Fortunato and Tratnik pushed on for the win

Mollema and Bennett couldn’t follow and in the last 3 kilometres, Covi even rode away from the New Zealander and Dutchman.

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Third place for Alessandro Covi

It became clear that Fortunato and Tratnik would fight it out for the stage victory. The 25-year-old Italian then accelerated at 2.5 kilometres from the finish. Tratnik cracked.

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Tratnik was zig-zagging to keep going in the climb

In the last steep kilometre Fortunato gave everything he had left to stay ahead of Tratnik. The eolo-Kometa rider gave his team a big present in their first Grand Tour by winning on the mythical Monte Zoncolan. Tratnik finished second a few seconds later, Covi secured his third place.

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Fortunato had to grit his teeth for the win

Back in the favourites group, the INEOS Grenadiers took the lead on Monte Zoncolan. Initially, this didn’t cause much damage. Only Vincenzo Nibali couldn’t hold the pace.

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A good days work for Egan Bernal – More time in the bank

Simon Yates finally emerged at 2 kilometres from the finish. The BikeExchange rider accelerated for the first time this Giro. Only the pink jersey wearer Bernal could follow the pace set by Yates. The Colombian seemed to be having a hard time, but in the end Bernal managed to crack his British competitor to take time on all his competitors.

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Yates showed himself for the first time

Bernal even managed to catch some of the early break riders, Mollema in fifth place and Bennett in seventh, to finish in fourth place himself. Evenepoel was dropped in the last kilometres and eventually lost more than a minute and a half. In the general classification he dropped one place. Vlasov also had a bad day, he dropped from second to fourth.

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Not a great day for Evenepoel

Stage winner, Lorenzo Fortunato (eolo-Kometa): “I haven’t fully realised yet what I just did. I knew I was in good shape and this morning I really wanted to go in the breakaway. My teammate Vincenzo Albanese worked hard for me in the break, I have to thank him. I knew that the last 3km were the hardest, for this reason, I waited for the final part of the Zoncolan to attack and then I gave it everything until the finish line.”

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Has Egan Bernal won the 2021 Giro?

Maglia Rosa Egan Bernal (INEOS Grenadiers): “I tried to remain calm when we tackled the Zoncolan because I knew I was in a good position in the GC and did not need to attack first. I followed Simon Yates when he attacked and then I did an acceleration in the finalé. I think I did a good race. Now I have a good lead but I need to remain calm and focused, anything can happen in the Giro.”

Giro d’Italia Stage 14 Result:
1. Lorenzo Fortunato (Ita) Eolo-Kometa in 5:17:22
2. Jan Tratnik (Slo) Bahrain Victorious at 0:26
3. Alessandro Covi (Ita) UAE Team Emirates at 0:59
4. Egan Bernal Gomez (Col) INEOS Grenadiers at 1:43
5. Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek-Segafredo at 1:47
6. Simon Yates (GB) BikeExchange at 1:54
7. George Bennett (NZ) Jumbo-Visma at 2:10
8. Nelson Oliveira (Por) Movistar at 2:18
9. Daniel Martinez Poveda (Col) INEOS Grenadiers at 2:22
10. Damiano Caruso (Ita) Bahrain Victorious
11. Giulio Ciccone (Ita) Trek-Segafredo
12. Daniel Martin (Irl) Israel Start-up Nation at 2:27
13. Emanuel Buchmann (Ger) BORA-hansgrohe at 2:29
14. Hugh Carthy (GB) EF Education-Nippo at 2:37
15. Romain Bardet (Fra) DSM at 2:45
16. Aleksandr Vlasov (Rus) Astana-Premier Tech at 2:55
17. Antonio Pedrero (Spa) Movistar at 3:07
18. João Almeida (Por) Deceuninck – Quick-Step at 3:11
19. Remco Evenepoel (Bel) Deceuninck – Quick-Step at 3:13
20. Nicholas Schultz (Aus) BikeExchange
21. Ruben Guerreiro (Por) EF Education-Nippo
22. Jan Hirt (Cze) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux at 3:32
23. Victor Lafay (Fra) Cofidis at 4:04
24. Davide Formolo (Ita) UAE Team Emirates at 4:19
25. Mikel Nieve Iturralde (Spa) BikeExchange at 4:26.

Giro d’Italia Overall After Stage 14:
1. Egan Bernal Gomez (Col) INEOS Grenadiers in 58:30:47
2. Simon Yates (GB) BikeExchange at 1:33
3. Damiano Caruso (Ita) Bahrain Victorious at 1:51
4. Aleksandr Vlasov (Rus) Astana-Premier Tech at 1:57
5. Hugh Carthy (GB) EF Education-Nippo at 2:11
6. Emanuel Buchmann (Ger) BORA-hansgrohe at 2:36
7. Giulio Ciccone (Ita) Trek-Segafredo at 3:03
8. Remco Evenepoel (Bel) Deceuninck – Quick-Step at 3:52
9. Daniel Martinez Poveda (Col) INEOS Grenadiers at 3:54
10. Romain Bardet (Fra) DSM at 4:31
11. Tobias Foss (Nor) Jumbo-Visma at 5:37
12. Attila Valter (Hun) Groupama-FDJ at 7:49
13. Daniel Martin (Irl) Israel Start-up Nation at 7:50
14. João Almeida (Por) Deceuninck – Quick-Step at 8:32
15. Ruben Guerreiro (Por) EF Education-Nippo at 9:19
16. Davide Formolo (Ita) UAE Team Emirates at 9:52
17. Nicholas Schultz (Aus) BikeExchange at 10:15
18. George Bennett (NZ) Jumbo-Visma at 11:48
19. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Trek-Segafredo at 14:25
20. Rein Taaramäe (Est) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux at 16:04
21. Koen Bouwman (Ned) Jumbo-Visma at 16:07
22. Pello Bilbao Lopez De Armentia (Spa) Bahrain Victorious at 16:43
23. Tanel Kangert (Est) BikeExchange at 18:53
24. Gianni Moscon (Ita) Ineos Grenadiers at 19:45
25. Louis Vervaeke (Bel) Alpecin-Fenix at 24:49.

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