Giro d’Italia 2021: Simon Yates says he ‘wanted to try something but didn’t have the legs’

The British star said he wanted to attack to improve on his podium place but couldn’t match Ineos Grenadiers

Simon Yates remains third overall after stage 20 of the Giro d'Italia
Simon Yates remains third overall after stage 20 of the Giro d'Italia
(Image credit: Stuart Franklin/Getty Images)

Simon Yates said he wanted to attack on the final mountain stage of the 2021 Giro d’Italia, but revealed he didn’t have the legs to stay with Egan Bernal.

The British Grand Tour contender had been on the offensive throughout the final week of the Giro as he tried to move up from third-place overall, hoping to maybe overturn his deficit to race leader Bernal (Ineos Grenadiers).

But after his Team BikeExchange squad set the pace early on stage 20 to Valle Spluga to set up Yates for an attack, the 28-year-old wasn’t able to launch his move, eventually losing time to the rivals ahead of him on general classification.

Speaking after the stage Yates, winner of the 2018 Vuelta a España, said: “We tried to do something again, the boys did a fantastic job again, as always. The plan was to try something on the second to last climb, but we arrived there and I didn’t have the legs, a bit of fatigue from yesterday maybe, a bit of fatigue from three weeks all coming together.

“But as always, I did the best as I could and I’m happy with what I did and we finish off with the TT tomorrow. We’re staying focused, it’s only one more day and then we can celebrate a nice podium in Milan." 

Stage 20, the final road stage before the time trial in Milan on day 21, was a tough mountain stage with three classified climbs in the second half of the course.

The GC race exploded into life on the descent from the first climb, San Bernadino, as Team DSM and Bahrain Victorious attacked on the downhill to pull out an advantage on Bernal and Yates.

On the second climb of the day, the gap grew out to 50 seconds, before Ineos Grenadiers began to shut down the leaders on the way to the final climb. 

Yates was able to follow Bernal and his support rider Daniel Martinez early on the final climb, as we waited for his impending attack, but Yates’s move never came.  

After finally being dropped inside the final 3km of the stage, Yates lost 51 seconds to Damiano Caruso (Bahrain Victorious) and almost 30 seconds to Bernal, one day after he won his first stage of this year’s race and clawed back some time. 

>>> Egan Bernal admits he was worried about Damiano Caruso’s ambitious Giro d’Italia attack 

BikeExchange head sports Matt White said: "We wanted to give Yatesy one more chance at winning a stage, one more chance at moving up the general classification, so we took control of the race and it was all going really good.

“In the end Yatesy just didn’t have the legs on the final climb to go with Martinez and Bernal.

"It was 100 per cent effort from all the boys and we can ask no more."

Heading into the final 30km time trial, Yates sits third overall with a deficit of 1-24 to Caruso in second, and 3-23 to leader Egan Bernal.