Fortunato breaks away to win Giro's Brutal Monte Zoncolan Stage
Lorenzo Fortunato climbed to victory in the gruelling 14th stage of the Giro d’Italia on Saturday in foggy and cold conditions on the summit of legendary Monte Zoncolan
Colombian Egan Bernal of Ineos was the first of the favourites to cross the finish line to consolidate his lead in the pink jersey and take more time on his rivals.
The Italian Tifosi are celebrating this evening after 25-year-old Italian Lorenzo Fortunato, who rides for the Eolo-Kometa team, finished 26 seconds ahead of Slovenian Jan Tratnik with Italian Alessandro Covi third at 59 seconds back to claim his maiden Grand Tour victory.
Bernal finished fourth at 1:43 and gained time on his rivals.
As a result Britain’s Simon Yates moved second overall 1:33 behind the 2019 Tour de France winner, with Italy’s Damiano Caruso third at 1:51.
Russian Aleksander Vlasov lost over a minute on Bernal on the final climb to lose second place overall with Belgian Remco Evenepoel also dropping 1:30 dropping from second place overall to fourth overall.
Belgian Remco Evenepoel of Deceuninck also lost time and is eighth overall.
Vincenzo Nibali as another GC contender to lose time, he was dropped with 5 km to go and as a result fell out of the top 10 overall.
Fortunato achieved the first big win for the Alberto Contador Foundation team from the day's original 11 man breakaway.
Lorenzo Fortunato said after his victory, "I'm very happy for today. The team is the best and in first attacks my teammate Albanese was with me in the breakaway. The breakaway went easy all day but at the start of the Zoncolan I attacked and stayed behind Tratnik. My legs are very good and I'm very very happy.
"I want to thank to all of Eolo-Kometa, Luca Spada who is here with me, because without them, I would never have achieved this wonderful result. I came here thinking of getting into breakaways, but I never imagined winning on the Zoncolan".
"But in the car with Stefano Zanatta, Sean Yates, Ivan Basso, and Jesús Hernández, and Alberto, who is in the team, I think it is the minimum I can do to win this stage, and now we’ll look for others. I’m climbing well, I’m strong, and for sure we will see each other in other stages."
The stage covered 127 miles from Cittadella to Monte Zoncolan on the border with Austria, the final 3 kms of the climb featured gradients at more than 25 percent.
Egan Bernal said after the stage, "I don’t know if that’s the name I just tried to be calm because I think that I’m in a really good position now. I don’t need to attack on every mountain stage. I just need to be calm and patient. Finally I followed Yates and the I tried to make an acceleration in the final and I think that I did a good race.
"They were pulling really hard during the stage. I was thinking that Vlasov would be good. Normally this is a good climb for him so I was surprised that they were pulling so hard in the stage but then in the final we had the control of the race.
"I think it’s a good gap but I need to have focus. Everything can happen in the Giro. It looks like 1:30 is enough time but you never know. I need to be calm with the gap."
Stage 15 of the Giro is a flatish circuit in the region alongside the Italian-Slovenian border. The last ascent - short but sharp - appears with 4 kilometres remaining, as stage for the sprinters or a breakaway.
The flat stage will give the peloton a slight rest before Monday's brutal mountain stage that features over 5,300m of climbing!
VIDEO: 2021 Giro d'Italia Stage 14 Highlights
2021 Giro d'Italia Stage 14 Top 10
1 Lorenzo Fortunato (Ita) Eolo-Kometa Cycling Team 5:17:22
2 Jan Tratnik (Slo) Bahrain Victorious 0:00:26
3 Alessandro Covi (Ita) UAE Team Emirates 0:00:5
4 Egan Bernal Gomez (Col) Ineos Grenadiers 0:01:43
5 Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek-Segafredo 0:01:47
6 Simon Yates (GBr) Team BikeExchange 0:01:54
7 George Bennett (NZl) Jumbo-Visma 0:02:10
8 Nelson Oliveira (Por) Movistar Team 0:02:18
9 Daniel Martinez Poveda (Col) Ineos Grenadiers 0:02:22
10 Damiano Caruso (Ita) Bahrain Victorious
2021 Giro d'Italia GC after Stage 14
1 Egan Bernal Gomez (Col) Ineos Grenadiers 58:30:47
2 Simon Yates (GBr) Team BikeExchange 0:01:33
3 Damiano Caruso (Ita) Bahrain Victorious 0:01:51
4 Aleksandr Vlasov (Rus) Astana-Premier Tech 0:01:57
5 Hugh Carthy (GBr) EF Education-Nippo 0:02:11
6 Emanuel Buchmann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe 0:02:36
7 Giulio Ciccone (Ita) Trek-Segafredo 0:03:03
8 Remco Evenepoel (Bel) Deceuninck-QuickStep 0:03:52
9 Daniel Martinez Poveda (Col) Ineos Grenadiers 0:03:54
10 Romain Bardet (Fra) Team DSM 0:04:31