UAE Team Emirates' Alessandro Covi takes podium on 14th stage of Giro d'Italia

Lorenzo Fortunato takes victory in the gruelling Monte Zoncolan stage

UAE Team Emirates rider Italy's Alessandro Covi, left, at the Giro d'Italia. AFP
UAE Team Emirates rider Italy's Alessandro Covi, left, at the Giro d'Italia. AFP

It was an emotional day for Alessandro Covi as the UAE Team Emirates rider finished on the podium after the 14th stage of the Giro d'Italia on Saturday.

Lorenzo Fortunato, who rides for Eolo-Kometa, climbed to victory after a gruelling stage in the fog and cold at the summit of Monte Zoncolan, while Colombian Egan Bernal of Ineos consolidated his hold on the leader’s pink jersey.

The 25-year-old Fortunato finished 26 seconds ahead of Slovenian Jan Tratnik to claim his first career victory, with Covi third 59 seconds behind the Italian.

“This morning we decided to try and fight for the breakaway, I managed to get in it and then I gave it my all on the last climb which was really tough.

"I am happy with my condition which keeps getting better and we hope to have more opportunities and give it another go in the remaining stages,” Covi said.

"I haven't fully realised yet what I just did," Fortunato said. "I knew I was in good shape and this morning I really wanted to go in the breakaway.

“I knew that the last three kilometres 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”.

Bernal, 24, finished fourth at 1min, 43sec to gain time on his rivals after more than five hours in the saddle in the mountainous 205km stage, which started out from the medieval walled town of Cittadella, in the province of Padua and ended on the border with Austria.

Britain’s Simon Yates crossed in sixth to move second overall – 1min, 33sec behind the 2019 Tour de France winner Bernal, with Italy’s Damiano Caruso third at 1min, 51sec.

Russian Aleksander Vlasov lost over a minute to Bernal on the final climb where the gradient was at times more than 20 per cent. The Astana rider crossed the line in 16th position to drop from second place overall to fourth.

Belgian Remco Evenepoel of Deceuninck also lost time and is eighth in the general classification. “I tried to remain calm when we tackled the Zoncolan because I knew I was in a good position in the GC and didn’t need to attack first,” Bernal said.

“I followed Simon Yates when he attacked and then I did an acceleration in the finale.

“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.”

Last year’s runner-up, Jai Hindley of Australia was forced to withdraw before the stage because of “serious saddle sore”.

“The 2020 runner-up is no longer fit to race, and will instead head home to recover,” his Team DSM said.

Sunday’s Stage 15 covers 147km from Grado to Gorizia, in the north-east, crossing into neighbouring Slovenia before finishing back in Italy.

Updated: May 22, 2021 10:30 PM


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