Ineos Grenadiers chief Dave Brailsford praised Egan Bernal for a “pretty ballsy” move on Stage 16 of the Giro d’Italia.
The race feed just managed to catch the Colombian throwing down the gauntlet to his GC rivals a few kilometres from the 2,233m summit of the Passo Giau.
When we next saw Bernal, he was soloing into Cortina d’Ampezzo some 20 kilometres later having overhauled the remnants of the breakaway to take another win in Italy.
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Such was his dominance, the Colombian had time to unzip his rain jacket to cross the line flushed in pink, punching the air as he dealt another blow to his GC rivals.
Brailsford said it was the latest example of Ineos’ new attacking philosophy as they seek to distance themselves from the dull and defensive days of Team Sky.
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“It wasn’t a dream day for the weather at all, but a dream day for us,” Brailsford told Eurosport and GCN.
In days gone by in the position Egan had found himself, maybe in the past we would have played it very efficiently, be quite defensive, safe and maybe not the most exciting.
“But I thought Egan took the opportunity to go on the attack, a pretty ballsy move, and take the Cima Coppi [awarded to highest point on Giro] which he wanted to do, and then descended fast but careful to take the stage win.
“It’s not only a big deal what he’s done, but [also] in the way he’s done it. It’s something that we’re all very proud of.”
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Bernal now leads the general classification by 2:24 ahead of Damiano Caruso (Bahrain Victorious), who is stepping up superbly after team leader Mikel Landa was forced to abandon after a crash on Stage 5.
Brailsford, who has masterminded victories for Sky and Ineos stretching back to Bradley Wiggins’ win at the 2012 Tour de France [Chris Froome was retrospectively awarded the 2011 Vuelta], insisted the job was not yet done.
“It’s a bit of a cliché, but we know in cycling anything can happen at any time,” he said.
“It’s a bit like scoring a goal in football, you’re most vulnerable just after you’ve scored. That five minutes afterwards because you can relax a little bit, unconsciously relax, and I think we’ve got to be very careful of that.
But it’s not the first time we’ve been in this position and we’ll keep the guys focused.
“I’m extremely proud of the way the team has ridden. There’s no egos in this group, they’re all getting on really well together and when that happens and it all gels, it’s just a wonderful sport to be a part of.”
The Giro takes a break on Tuesday with the second rest day, with three tough days of climbing still on the menu before the race-concluding individual time trial into Milan.
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