Egan Bernal dominates to solo to victory on stage 16 of the Giro d'Italia 2021

The pink jersey dropped everyone on the Passo Giau in horrendous conditions before descending to victory

Egan Bernal wins stage 16 of the Giro d'Italia 2021
(Image credit: Stuart Franklin/Getty Images)

Egan Bernal stamped his authority on the race by soloing to victory on stage 16 of the Giro d'Italia 2021 after attacking on the final climb of the day before descending to the line.

Bernal (Ineos Grenadiers) followed the high pace being set by EF Education-Nippo before attacking over the top on the Passo Giau, the Cima Coppi, the highest point of the race.

The Colombian held off Damiano Caruso (Bahrain-Victorious) and Romain Bardet (DSM) at around 30 seconds all the way down the descent to the finish in Cortina d'Ampezzo.

Bernal cruised to stage victory, taking off his rain jacket in the final few hundred metres to display the maglia rosa as he celebrated across the line. He also extended his lead in the overall standings over Caruso who moved up to second place.

>>> Mauro Vegni 'still angry about what happened last year' at Giro d'Italia as stage 16 altered 'to avoid any problems with riders'

How it happened

Stage 16 started with news that both the Passo Fedaia and Passo Pordoi had been removed from the stage along with the route being shortened to 153km, containing only two climbs instead of four between Sacile to Cortina d’Ampezzo.

The Pordoi was originally going to be the Cima Coppi, the highest point of the race, but instead that title went to the final climb of the day, the Passo Giau in the Dolomites.

Before the stage started, the riders and everyone involved in the race had a moment of silence to remember what is believed to be 14 people who had died after a cable car dropped from its cable to the ground in Stresa-Mottarone in Piedmont.

Afterwards, the riders set off in abysmal conditions. The weather was so bad that live pictures were very difficult to come by as helicopters were not allowed to take off. A breakaway of 24 riders did eventually manage to escape up the road.

Redesigned stage 16 of the Giro d'Italia 2021

(Image credit: RCS)

Some big-name riders made it up into the break, including Vincenzo Nibali (Trek-Segafredo), João Almeida (Deceuninck - Quick-Step), Dan Martin (Israel Start-Up Nation), Davide Formolo (UAE Team Emirates), Gorka Izagirre (Astana-Premier Tech), and mountain jersey wearer Geoffrey Bouchard (Ag2r-Citroën), along with 18 others.

Irish rider, Martin, was the best-placed of the riders in GC at 7-50, which meant that the peloton was working very hard to bring them back so that these riders weren’t able to come back in the overall.

But the descent of the first climb, La Crossetta, saw the break split up with Almeida, Nibali, Formolo, Izagirre, Amanuel Ghebreigzabhier (Trek-Segafredo), and Antonio Pedrero (Movistar) going up this road. This made Almeida the best placed at the front at 8-32 down on Bernal’s pink jersey.

With 65km to go, it looked like the chasing group were not making it back to the leaders with the gap to the chasing group including Martin at 3-30. The Ineos Grenadiers-led peloton further two minutes back.

With 40km to go, news came through that Remco Evenepoel (Deceuninck - Quick-Step) had dropped out of the back of the peloton as EF Education-Nippo upped the pace for their leader, Hugh Carthy. The gap dropped to inside three minutes to the break just before the start of the Passo Giau.

>>> Watch: Gorka Izagirre miraculously avoids parked car on descent during Giro d'Italia stage 16

The chasing group was swallowed up by the peloton before the Giau followed by Ghebreigzabhier from the lead group after working hard for his team-mate, Nibali. With 30km to go the gap dipped inside two minutes as Alberto Bettiol (EF-Nippo) continued to drill the pace.

Pedrero led down the brief descent onto the Giau, Izagirre tried to follow but almost crashed before suffering a puncture. Nibali and Formolo managed to bridge across, dropping Izagirre and Almeida. Formolo attacked early.

Pedrero managed to bridge to Formolo before kicking past and going solo to the line. Meanwhile, back in the peloton, the group had dropped to seven riders with Aleksandr Vlasov (Astana-Premier Tech) suffering a mechanical at the base of the climb with Simon Yates (BikeExchange) struggling at the back of the group.

Bernal then launched a devastating attack with 22km to go with Carthy following as was Romain Bardet. Yates was distanced along with Carthy’s team-mate, Simon Carr as well as Bernal’s final domestique Dani Martínez.

Egan Bernal on the attack during stage 16 of the Giro d'Italia 2021

(Image credit: Luca Bettini/Getty Images)

Bernal then dropped everyone, catching Pedrero and immediately dropping them as he disappeared up the road. He held a cap of around 30 seconds as Caruso chased on just behind, with Bardet then making his way back to the Italian on the descent.

There was nothing they could do to stop the race leader from holding his advantage though, as he celebrated his second stage victory at the race and the strengthening of his lead in the overall standings.

The Giro d'Italia now heads into its second rest day, before returning with stage 17 on Wednesday; a 193km summit finish stage from Canazei to Saga di Ala.


Giro d'Italia 2021, stage 16: Sacile to Cortina d'Ampezzo (153km)

1. Egan Bernal (Col) Ineos Grenadiers, in 4-22-41
2. Romain Bardet (Fra) Team DSM, at 27s
3. Damiano Caruso (Ita) Bahrain Victorious, at same time
4. Giulio Ciccone (Ita) Trek-Segafredo, at 1-18
5. Hugh Carthy (GBr) EF Education-Nippo, at 1-19
6. João Almeida (Por) Deceuninck - Quick-Step, at 1-21
7. Aleksandr Vlasov (Rus) Astana-Premier Tech, at 2-11
8. Gorka Izagirre (Esp) Astana-Premier Tech, at 2-31
9. Davide Formolo (Ita) UAE Team Emirates, at 2-33
10. Tobias Foss (Nor) Team Jumbo-Visma, at same time

General classification after stage 16

1. Egan Bernal (Col) Ineos Grenadiers, in 66-36-04
2. Damiano Caruso (Ita) Bahrain Victorious, at 2-24
3. Hugh Carthy (GBr) EF Education-Nippo, at 3-40
4. Aleksandr Vlasov (Rus) Astana-Premier Tech, at 4-18
5. Simon Yates (GBr) Team BikeExchange, at 4-20
6. Giulio Ciccone (Ita) Trek-Segafredo, at 4-31
7. Romain Bardet (Fra) Team DSM, at 5-02
8. Dani Martínez (Col) Ineos Grenadiers, at 7-17
9. Tobias Foss (Nor) Team Jumbo-Visma, at 8-20
10. João Almeida (Por) Deceuninck - Quick-Step, at 10-01

Thank you for reading 10 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access

Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription

Join now for unlimited access

Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

Tim Bonville-Ginn

Hi, I'm one of Cycling Weekly's content writers for the web team responsible for writing stories on racing, tech, updating evergreen pages as well as the weekly email newsletter. Proud Yorkshireman from the UK's answer to Flanders, Calderdale, go check out the cobbled climbs!

I started watching cycling back in 2010, before all the hype around London 2012 and Bradley Wiggins at the Tour de France. In fact, it was Alberto Contador and Andy Schleck's battle in the fog up the Tourmalet on stage 17 of the Tour de France.

It took me a few more years to get into the journalism side of things, but I had a good idea I wanted to get into cycling journalism by the end of year nine at school and started doing voluntary work soon after. This got me a chance to go to the London Six Days, Tour de Yorkshire and the Tour of Britain to name a few before eventually joining Eurosport's online team while I was at uni, where I studied journalism. Eurosport gave me the opportunity to work at the world championships in Harrogate back in the awful weather.

After various bar jobs, I managed to get my way into Cycling Weekly in late February of 2020 where I mostly write about racing and everything around that as it's what I specialise in but don't be surprised to see my name on other news stories.

When not writing stories for the site, I don't really switch off my cycling side as I watch every race that is televised as well as being a rider myself and a regular user of the game Pro Cycling Manager. Maybe too regular.

My bike is a well used Specialized Tarmac SL4 when out on my local roads back in West Yorkshire as well as in northern Hampshire with the hills and mountains being my preferred terrain.