The 2021 edition of the cycling tournament ended on Sunday, May 30th. After a crono stage, the winner was crowned in Milan.
Between falls, incidents, and awful weather, the cyclists made it to Milan. Despite the challenges and the adversities, the last finish line was a celebration. Not only for Egan Bernal, who officially won the Giro d’Italia 2021. A bit of Italy and a bit of Colombia, Bernal cried on stage. But this was also a triumph for Italy and Italian professional cycling.
Who is Egan Bernal
Born in 1997, he’s a young cyclist. His professional career started in 2016 and his first international victory was the Tour de France 2019. Also, Bernal was the first Colombian cyclist to win the French tournament. While the champion is from Souther America, he has strong ties to Italy.
In fact, Egan Bernal raced with the Italian team la Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec at the beginning of his career. So, he lived in both Buasca and Cuorgnè, two villages in the Piedmont region. And Italians loved him, even after his talent brought him somewhere else. There is still a fan club in Buasca and supporters cheered for Bernal during the 2021 Giro d’Italia.
People cheered for a well-rounded cyclist, who is both fast and strong. Bernal can win in the flat countryside of Lombardy as well as in the harsh slopes of Friuli Venezia Giulia. That’s how the Colombian won the Tour de France in 2019, with the Sky team. He triumphed at the Champs-Élysées in Paris, winning both the yellow shirt (for the first cyclist) and the white shirt, given to the most promising (young) cyclist. Once Bernal won the Tour, his name was on the lips of all the supporters of the sport.
The Giro d’Italia 2021
This year’s championship wasn’t easy. Both incidents and weather tried stopping the race.
First, Matej Mohoric, who scared everyone with his fall during the ninth stage. And he had to retire from the Giro, with his bike broken in half. Then cyclist Mikel Landa, who had to retire due to a fractured collarbone. The 15th race had to be stopped and then restart, after a maxi-fall involving 30 cyclists. And the incidents continued, even for the Italian De Marchi, who had a good shot at winning but had to retire.
Indeed, a Giro 2021 filled with misfortune. And bad weather, especially in Friuli, where the stage had to be shortened, avoiding the peak Giau. Still, despite all this, Bernal managed to stay strong, both mentally and physically.
Egan Bernal wins the Giro
”This victory is special, the Giro is the most beautiful race in the most beautiful country of the world,” the Colombian said to Rai, “I really don’t have words to describe what I feel. It’s difficult to believe this is happening, I just won the Giro and I truly don’t have words. I look calm, but inside I have so many emotions after everything that has happened. I could never forget this Giro, from the victory at the first stage to the sprints. This is me, and cycling is what I love. I’ve found the freedom of racing like I love.” What’s next? Probably the Olympics.
And the Italians cyclists?
Damiano Caruso is the first of the Italian champions, ending second in the ranking. Indeed, right behind Bernal, at only 1 minute and 29 seconds from first place. For days, he made everyone dream, believing that an Italian could take the Italian Giro. Caruso won seven stages and he wouldn’t change a thing.
“This three weeks have been my three weeks,” Caruso said, “what I’m feeling is incredible, it’s been a mix of emotions. Today I am here, in second place, who would have thought it possible.”
Caruso will enter in the pantheon of Italian champions. With many other names, like Pantani and Coppi.