Madesimo (Italy) (AFP)
Egan Bernal kept two minutes ahead of the Giro d’Italia on Saturday when he followed stage 20 winner Damiano Caruso to the finish line atop Alpe Motta.
Caruso has tightened his grip on second place overall, but Ineos leader Bernal has enough lead to qualify for the final day of Sunday’s 30.3km individual time trial at the Duomo Cathedral in Milan, confident of adding the 2021 Giro to their 2019 Tour de France triumph.
“I am satisfied with the result. I think we handled the situation well. We have two minutes early for tomorrow’s time trial. We are therefore in a good position, ”declared the Colombian Bernal, winner of two stages on the Giro.
Bernal was a cool-weather study on Saturday morning as Stage 20 started from the pretty town of Verbania on the shores of Lake Maggiore, where under a hot sun the peloton headed for a 38 km ascent over three snow-capped mountains .
As the race climbed its final climb to the Alpe Motta, Frenchman Romain Bardet and Italian Caruso led.
Bernal waited his time behind his sherpa Daniel Martinez before setting off a late burst up the steep slope to drop third-placed Simon Yates and overtake Bardet, who slipped into the top ten with his performance.
Caruso rose to the top with an enthusiastic welcome as he won his first major touring stage, 24 seconds ahead of Bernal as England’s Yates finished sixth of the day at 51 seconds.
“I’m not the champion, but I’ve had my day,” said Caruso, the victorious runner from Bahrain, who had adopted ultra-conservative stealth tactics until his attack on Saturday.
Bernal heads to Milan with an overall lead of 1.59 seconds over Caruso with Yates third at 3.33 seconds, after the top three finished the individual time trial in Stage 1 within six seconds. ‘from each other.
Ineos Grenadiers is aiming for a third Giro after Tao Geoghegan Hart won it in 2020 and Chris Froome in 2018.
© 2021 AFP