After an intense head‑to‑head, Ineos Grenadiers’ Daniel Martínez won against Pello Bilbao.
Not coincidentally, he had already received the Best Domestique award, and his squad was designated as the Best Team.
The decisive moment is always the same, the one we all know by now as it was captured in that famous photograph. Along the closing climb of the stage that finished in Sega di Ala, Martínez moved up to a struggling Bernal, and led him to prevent him from going astray. He even took the time to turn around and support him, as passionately as a fan, and as lovingly as a family member, helping him ward off Yates’s effort to snatch the leader’s jersey from him.
Much has already been said about this.
However, another episode, possibly not as prominent but equally revealing has actually shown Martínez’s total commitment to his team. It happened in the last road stage, the one finishing in Alpe Motta.
Caruso was on the offensive, seeking to score a partial victory – or maybe even turn over the classification.
The Colombian ace had fallen behind shortly after starting the descent from the Splügenpass, and Bernal was left alone at the front with other riders. With one final climb left to tackle, Martínez knew he had to be at his captain’s side. So off he went – a talented climber with not so great descent skills – down the hairpins, pushing his limits and challenging his fears, until he got back to where he belonged: beside the race leader, to guide him all the way through the last kilometre of the closing climb. The moment that has earned Daniel Martínez this award (too), is clearly the one that was captured in the famous photograph in Sega di Ala.
However, his support and dedication have been unfaltering and sustained day after day, for three weeks, definitely showing the best team spirit of the 2021 Giro.