Britain’s Simon Yates is followed by Colombia’s Egan Bernal during the 14th stage of the Giro D’Italia tour of Italy cycling race, from Cittadella to Monte Zoncolan, Italy, Saturday, May 22, 2021. (Tim De Waele/Pool Photo via AP)
- Stage 20 of the Giro d’Italia (Saturday, May 29) is the final day in the mountains and last good chance to make a big move
- How much pressure can Simon Yates put on Egan Bernal?
- Is the value bet on Yates, Bernal, João Almeida, or a longshot on Saturday?
Sometimes teammates make all the difference.
Egan Bernal has been sitting on a substantial lead for much of this year’s Giro d’Italia. He showed signs of leaking water in the mountains on Wednesday, and seemed to be in major trouble on Friday.
Ineos Grenadiers, formerly known as Team Sky, has dominated cycling over the last decade. With Yates attacking on Stage 19, and Bernal looking shaky, Dani Martinez did the dirty work. A key domestique for Ineos, Martinez assisted Bernal in rejoining the chase. Over the final 2km, Bernal showed his strength and made a move to cut his losses.
Saturday should be similar to Friday. Yates must gain minutes, not seconds on Bernal. The course is full of serious climbs in the second half. Yates is favored (+200) to win the day, but will he attack early when the action begins (6:30 ET) in hopes of making Bernal work for a large portion of the day in order to retain the pink jersey? Where can we find betting value?
Stage 20 Giro d’Italia Odds
|Rider||Odds to Win Stage||Top-3 Finish Odds at DraftKings|
Odds as of May 28th.
On Stage 1 of this year’s Giro, an individual time trial, Bernal finished one second behind Yates. In other words, if Yates is within a handful of ticks during Sunday’s ITT, perhaps it could be interesting. Regardless, he must make up most of his 2:49 deficit in the mountains on Saturday.
Stage 20 is difficult because there are three serious climbs. Riders will first start navigating the Category 1 San Bernardino Pass about halfway through the 164 kilometres stage. Next up is the Cat 1 Splügen Pass. The stage ends with the Category 1 Alpe Motta. All told the elevation gain is 4,200 metres, and the average gradients are in the 6% and 7% range.
The contenders on Thursday were pretty clear. For a second straight mountain stage Yates was stronger than Bernal, and this time proved the best rider overall in the mountains. Yates had his team, BikeExchange, setting a strong tempo and with 6km left until the finish he attacked. While Bernal, thanks to help, only lost 28 seconds, what does it mean for Saturday? João Almeida was between the two top pink jersey contenders. Damiano Caruso, clinging to second place, finished four seconds behind Bernal.
With a single day left of climbing plus Sunday’s time trial, Bernal is 2:29 clear of Caruso, with Yates 20 seconds back in third. Nobody else is within six minutes of the lead.
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It sure seems like Yates has the most pep left in his legs, but Bernal’s team is no joke and can do a lot of heavy lifting if they are asked to.
Might Yates pull what Chris Froome did to him in the 2018 Giro? Yates entered Stage 18 having dominated the race. Froome made his move with 80km left. Yates had nothing left and lost more than 15 minutes. Froome went on to victory. It feels like Yates has to do something similar. If the attack comes too late, Ineos can carry Bernal for a short distance to protect his lead, just like we saw on Friday.
Bernal’s power at the very end of Stage 19 indicates his tank is not completely empty either. That said, can he withstand pressure for three large climbs? Does Yates have that sort of strength remaining?
Don’t rule out Almeida either. Since Deceuninck-QuickStep decided to support him instead of Remco Evenepoel, he has gone head-to-head with the top GC contenders. Almeida was tremendous in last year’s Giro.
Almeida wore the pink jersey for 15 stages last year. Even if he isn’t going to win this year, he can take an individual stage and make a statement that he should be the top rider on his team going forward.
Riding in just his third Giro, veteran Dan Martin is not shockingly having a strong race. He captured Stage 17 in the mountains.
Martin has finished in the Top 10 at a Grand Tour in five of the last seven years. He is currently in 10th position and is likely to gain time on Saturday. Under-the-radar, he is very viable to win Stage 20.
At a big price, Aleksandr Vlasov isn’t impossible. He is currently in fourth position and surely would like to make a move to try and get on the podium. On Friday he finished with Caruso ahead of Martin.
At the age of 25 perhaps Vlasov has strong legs ready for the final day in the mountains. He was the runner up this year in Paris–Nice, and finished third in the Tour of the Alps.
Martin and Vlasov would be given a lot more rope than Yates if they make a move. Ineos will be mindful of those more than six minutes back, but they’ll be locked in on any activity from Yates. Bernal probably secures the pink jersey if Yates is contained on Saturday. If Martin or Vlasov win the stage by a minute or two, it is no sweat for Bernal and his teammates.
Dave Friedman has covered professional and college sports for two decades. From ESPN to the Associated Press, Regional Sports Networks, Metro Networks, and many local outlets, he has written about and broadcast major and minor events throughout the country.