Egan Bernal said Ineos Grenadiers “managed the situation well” as he took a giant stride towards securing the maglia rosa at the Giro d’Italia.
The Colombian was escorted to the final climb on Stage 20 by Jonathan Castroviejo before Dani Martinez took over pulling duties, driving a fierce pace to Alpe Motta.
The team had elected not to follow an earlier move from closest GC rival Damiano Caruso (Bahrain Victorious), who followed teammate Pello Bilbao to latch onto a trio of Team DSM riders with 40 kilometres remaining.
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Caruso pulled clear of Romain Bardet (Team DSM) in the final kilometres to solo to victory, but Bernal came home shortly afterwards and has a 1’59” advantage heading into Sunday’s time trial into Milan.
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“I’m satisfied with the result. I think we managed the situation well,” said Bernal.
We have two minutes advantage for tomorrow’s time trial so I think we are in a good position.
“It’s not the best to have the second in GC in front of you, with almost one minute, but I still had three teammates so I tried to use them and arrive as fresh as possible in the last climb and also for tomorrow.”
Bernal was expected to come under pressure from Simon Yates (Team BikeExchange), who lurked menacingly on the 24-year-old’s wheel up the final climb.
But Yates was unable to match Martinez and was dropped in the closing stages, leaving him 3’23’ back in the overall standings.
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