On Thursday, the second longest stage of the 2021 Giro between Siena and Bagno di Romagna saw the win of Andrea Vendrame from the breakaway. The pink jersey group crossed the line almost ten minutes later, with Attila Valter and Matteo Badilatti in it. After stage 12, the young Hungarian sits twelfth overall while the sprinters should be back in business tomorrow in Verona.

On Wednesday, the decisive breakaway including Simon Guglielmi established itself early on towards Montalcino. Today, things were very different at the start of Siena. Approaching kilometre 0, one could even feel the tension as some riders were already rubbing shoulders in order to give it a go straight away. This official start was given at 11:38 am, and the fight went on for more than an hour before a group managed to break away. The escape came to life in the streets of Florence, cradle of the Renaissance. “The start was fast and hard,” said Philippe Mauduit. “The breakaway went clear only after 60 kilometres, so it was really difficult to enter it today. Rudy and Seb tried quite a bit, but it just slipped through their fingers. For a bit, Rudy found himself in a chase group behind five leaders. This group got caught and it’s the next pursuers that managed to come back and make a gap. It’s a pity, for sure, but it’s part of our sport. We cannot blame them for anything, they tried. It didn’t work out today, but since the start of the Giro, it’s the first time we’ve missed a breakaway that we wanted to take. It can’t work every time…”

“We had to be careful in the final”, Philippe Mauduit

Sixteen riders then went away, and with the top ranked escaper being twenty minutes away from the pink jersey Egan Bernal, Ineos really eased up. The lead initially reached five minutes but then got over the ten-minute mark, meaning the outcome of the day was no longer in doubt. “From the point we understood that the breakaway would make it, we didn’t have much to go for and there was nothing to do except being careful in the final,” said Philippe Mauduit. “We had to make sure not to be caught up stupidly, and to finish at the same time as the pink jersey. That’s what we managed to do, and Matteo supported Attila until the finish today.” Up front, Andrea Vendrame outsprinted Christopher Hamilton for the stage victory. Among the favourites, Vincenzo Nibali tried to attack both in the final climb and in the final downhill, but the Italian eventually finished only seven seconds ahead of the pink jersey group… In GC, he also remains behind Attila Valter, who is now in twelfth place following Marc Soler’s withdrawal at the start of the day.

Tomorrow, about 200 totally flat kilometers will be on the riders’ program between Ravenna and Verona. “There is a very good chance that it will be a sprint at the end, but the weather might be difficult, so we will have to remain careful,” said Philippe Mauduit.