'Simon Yates is on a roll - there’s a fragility about Egan Bernal' – Bradley Wiggins on Giro d'Italia showdown
"We’ve waited the best part of three weeks for it and it’s shades of the Simon we’ve seen quite often at a Giro before... He’s timed his form really well. But Bernal - he’s been exceptional this whole race. Does it give us hope tomorrow he can do it? It gives us a mouth-watering final tomorrow." Wiggins is eagerly awaiting Stage 20 at the Giro d'Italia as the GC battle reaches its finale.
‘Can't leave it late' - Can Yates unseat Bernal on five-star mountain Stage 20?
With a flat individual time trial into Milan bringing the curtain down on the race, Yates’ best bet for unseating the Colombian appears to be the preceding five-star mountain stage on Saturday.
Speculation continues to swirl around Bernal and his troublesome back, but the 2019 Tour de France champion limited his losses smartly on Friday and has only shown fleeting signs of cracks. Unfortunately, they’ve come in his last two proper tests – just as Yates has started to find form.
Yates is familiar with throwing away the pink jersey, having ridden magnificently into the final week in 2018 before imploding to gift Chris Froome an unlikely title.
‘It takes some balls to leave that gap’ – Wiggins on Bernal letting Yates go
“We’ve waited the best part of three weeks for it and it’s shades of the Simon we’ve seen quite often at a Giro before, three years ago before it all went wrong with Chris Froome,” Wiggins said on The Breakaway.
“He’s timed his form really well. But Bernal, he’s been exceptional this whole race. Does it give us hope tomorrow he can do it? It gives us a mouth-watering final tomorrow.
Simon Yates has backed up what he did the other day. I think his consistency means there’s little chance of him cracking tomorrow, he now seems to be on a roll.
Wiggins praised Bernal for choosing to stick with his team-mates on Friday, rather than follow Yates and risk blowing up ahead of the final weekend.
Bernal crossed the line in third, ahead of closest rival Damiano Caruso (Bahrain Victorious) as a difficult day still resulted in his overall lead growing to 2’29”.
“Bernal, what he did really well, is that classic thing of pacing himself and limiting losses,” said Wiggins.
“He’s got enough time in hand, but it makes you wonder if Simon can do that on an earlier climb [tomorrow].
“There’s a different demeanour to Bernal to the other day where he showed a lot of aggression on the stage he won and wanted to make a statement to say: ‘I’m back’.
There’s a fragility about him with the suffering he had the other day. His ego isn’t taking over though and that’s important.
‘He limited his losses’ – Wiggins salutes Bernal after tough Stage 19
Could Caruso upset them both?
Amid all the Yates-Bernal drama it’s easy to forget there is a third contender. Italy's Caruso is second on GC and Wiggins believes he could yet have a major say in where the maglia rosa ends up.
Asked about how Caruso will approach Stage 20, Wiggins said: “I think he will follow. The way he went with Yates today, I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s thinking he could potentially win this race.
“I don’t think he’s someone who will settle just for the podium. But he’ll follow the front of the race, wherever that is Simon Yates or Egan Bernal. It would have been so easy for him to stay with Bernal [on Stage 19].
“He [Caruso] has been the most consistent of all the GC guys throughout the race.
And if Bernal cracks a bit more and he thinks there’s a chance to take Simon Yates tomorrow, I think he would be thinking he could win this Giro.
Caruso ‘thinking he could win this Giro’ - Wiggins
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