Giro d’Italia 2021: Cadel Evans says Egan Bernal has the advantage on the gravel of stage 11

The retired Australian Grand Tour star won the last gravel stage in Montalcino 11 years ago

Cadel Evans at the 2010 Giro d'Italia
Cadel Evans at the 2010 Giro d'Italia
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Cadel Evans has shared his tips for the Giro d’Italia favourites, as the race returns to the famous gravel stage from the 2010 Tour. 

Evans, 44, was the winner the last time the Giro took on the unpaved roads to Montalcino 11 years ago and said riders had never before seen a spectacle like it. 

The retired Australian pro, former world champion and Tour de France winner, said the general classification favourites need to embrace the white roads of Italy and don’t take any risks, while he believes race leader Egan Bernal has the advantage.

In an interview with Belgian newspaper Het Nieuwsblad, Evans said: “As a former mountain biker, Bernal has the advantage. We saw that on Sunday. Your bike reacts differently on gravel. You can tell from everything that Bernal has that feeling. My advice to Evenepoel: do not misunderstand this and certainly do not take any risks in your equipment. Tires, wheels: play safe as much as possible and make sure that you are not unlucky in the first place.”

Evans won the stage to Montalcino on day seven of the 2010 Giro, battling through torrential downpours to finish two seconds ahead of Damiano Cunego on the day.

But despite the memorable stage win, Evans wasn’t able to take home the maglia rosa that year, as Ivan Basso went on to win the race overall despite losing two minutes on the gravel - prompting Evans to tell this year's favourites not to panic if they lose time. 

Evans, a mountain biker before his illustrious road career, said: “Don't complain about whether or not such a stage belongs in a grand tour. Ten years ago this was completely new. Dirt roads in big laps, that did not happen. 

“When I won, the Tour of California took place at the same time. My teammates sat with their mouths open at breakfast watching that ride in the Giro. They had never seen such a spectacle. But I loved it. For me, everything came together in this ride that I stood for as a rider.” 

Bernal (Ineos Grenadiers) is likely to be the favourite for the victory on stage 11, having won the uphill gravel finish to Campo Felice last weekend, and having finished third in Strade Bianche earlier this year. 

>>> 'He needs to be aggressive': Egan Bernal must continue to attack in the mountains to win Giro d'Italia, says former coach 

Remco Evenepoel (Deceuninck - Quick-Step) will be trying to limit any losses, as he currently sits 15 seconds behind Bernal with 11 stages left to race. 

Evenepoel, racing his maiden Grand Tour and his first race for nine months, is the stronger time triallist of the pair and will be hoping to keep Bernal within reach for the final stage time trial on stage 21 in Milan.