Dani Martinez "handed the Giro d'Italia on a plate" to Egan Bernal, says Eurosport expert Brian Smith, as Ineos Grenadiers produced another masterclass to all but secure the maglia rosa.
The Colombians have formed a formidable partnership in Italy, with Martinez starring on the run to Alpe Motta on Stage 20 after Jonathan Castroviejo had delivered them to the foot of the climb.
Only Damiano Caruso (Bahrain Victorious) could stay away as he clinched a maiden Grand Tour victory to strengthen his hold on second in GC ahead of Sunday’s individual time trial into Milan.
Tokyo 2020
‘Jason is all about performance’ - Wiggins backs Kenny to pass him as GB's most successful Olympian
8 HOURS AGO
Bernal leads Caruso by 1’59” heading into the 30km TT, with Simon Yates (Team BikeExchange) – who failed to back up his win on Friday – in third at 3’23”.
And while the day belonged to Bernal and Caruso, 2012 Tour de France champion Wiggins and Smith saluted the selfless work of Martinez.

‘That wasn’t all or nothing’ - Did Yates blow his chance?

“Bernal didn’t panic all day, he just used his teammates,” said Wiggins.
“I’m still shocked at the ride by Martinez. Just incredible really. I said earlier he would be the biggest ally for Bernal today, and he proved that. It was a phenomenal, phenomenal effort from Ineos. It was a display by them, it really was.”
Martinez had to fight to get back on the front of the main group midway through the stage after being distanced for the second time in as many days, but showed no signs of lasting damage as he powered up the climb to Alpe Motta.
Incredibly, he could yet finish in the top five on GC – despite peeling off the front after burying himself throughout this race.

Stage 20 highlights: Caruso scoops first Grand Tour win, Bernal ends Yates resistance

The 25-year-old, who only joined Ineos from EF Education First-Drapac this season, is eight seconds off fifth-placed Romain Bardet (Team DSM) – and a further 31 seconds adrift of Aleksandr Vlasov (Astana Pro) in fourth.
“I was saying ‘come on Simon, when are you going to attack?’ But it was just the pace of Martinez at the front,” said Smith.
To go from where he was last year, winning the Criterium du Dauphine, to swapping teams to Ineos Grenadiers, he put in the performance.
“He’s pretty much handed the Giro d’Italia on a plate for Bernal as far as I’m concerned.”

Brad on a Bike is returning to the Tour…

'Anything can happen' - Wiggins warning for Bernal

While he boasts a commanding lead, Wiggins said the ascent into pink was not quite complete for Bernal.
The 24-year-old, who arrived at the Giro with big questions marks over a troublesome back, must see out a largely-flat 30.3km time trial before he can start toasting a second Grand Tour triumph.
“He knows this job isn’t done yet until he crosses the line, regardless of the time gap he has,” said Wiggins.
“It’s 30km tomorrow, it’s not 15km like last year. He’s still got a job to do and he’s got to stay focused now.
"Let’s not forget they’ve not been on their TT bikes for three weeks since the prologue. It’s a complete change, different muscles.
"I think there’s a realisation that this job isn’t done and Caruso is strong, they are very evenly matched in this time trial.
One puncture, anything can happen. It would be very easy now to think ‘that’s it, I’ve won it’ and take your foot off the gas.

‘Bernal knows the job isn’t done yet’ – Wiggins on time trial

- - -
You can watch the Giro d'Italia live and ad-free on the Eurosport app and Eurosport.co.uk. Download the Eurosport app for iOS and Android now. You can also watch the most comprehensive live & ad-free racing on GCN+. Go deeper and get interactive with live polls & quizzes, plus rider profiles, race updates, results & more – plus stream exclusive cycling documentaries. Watch it all with GCN+ on any device.
Tokyo 2020
‘A silver medal with a gold touch’ – Dumoulin on mental health and why he took a career break
19 HOURS AGO
Tokyo 2020
'Phenomenal' - 'Brave' Dumoulin has 'walked the walk' - Wiggins
A DAY AGO