Giro d'Italia 2021: Romain Bardet 'didn't realise' he finished second behind Egan Bernal

The Frenchman put in a strong performance on the final climb and descent of stage 16 to move up in the overall standings

Romain Bardet on the Passo Giau during stage 16 of the Giro d'Italia 2021
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/Getty Images)

Romain Bardet put in a superb display on stage 16 of the Giro d'Italia in horrendous conditions to move up to seventh in the overall standings, but says he didn't even realise he'd finished second to stage winner Egan Bernal

Bardet (DSM) held on with the race favourites up until the attack of the pink jersey Bernal (Ineos Grenadiers) on the Passo Giau where he, along with all the other riders, were left riding in ones and twos behind the Colombian.

Over the top, Bardet managed to use his exceptional descending skills to catch up with the rider second on the road, Damiano Caruso (Bahrain-Victorious) before working hard to drill it to the line where Bardet sprinted to second before getting a pat on the back from Caruso, who moves up to second in GC.

"I didn’t realise I was second," Bardet said after the stage, "I’m happy that we had a bit of success and a good finish today, it was nice. Since 2018 I haven’t had good feelings for the GC but the last climb has been really hard but I’m here now and I wanted to do the Giro. 

"Of course, trying to follow Bernal is difficult so I took my own pace. It was a hard pace and Bernal then went, I couldn’t follow, after a few metres I decided I was going to do my own pace. Of course, it’s another hard week coming and let’s hope it’s as good as today."

The race now is poised for a tight battle for the podium spots in the final week of the Giro d'Italia as the riders get a chance to rest tomorrow (May 25) on the second and final rest day of the race.

Twice a podium finisher at the Tour de France, Bardet now sits seventh, but just 1-22 behind Hugh Carthy (EF-Nippo) in third place overall. He is 5-02 down on Bernal.