Colombian Egan Bernal tightened his grip on the Giro d’Italia pink jersey with a win in the rain-hit 16th stage yesterday in the Dolomites before the final rest day.
Ineos’ Bernal crossed the line alone in the ski resort of Cortina d’Ampezzo to finish 27 seconds ahead of Frenchman Romain Bardet and Italian Damiano Caruso. The 2019 Tour de France winner now leads Caruso by 2min 24sec with Britain’s Hugh Carthy third at 3min 40sec, before today’s rest day.
The race ends in Milan on Sunday.
“Today I wanted to do something special, to show I am back in the game,” said Bernal.
“It was a hard stage also because of the weather, but I had the right mentality from the beginning of the stage. I was ready to suffer and we did it.”
The stage had been shortened because of rain and freezing weather with two of the days’ climbs scrapped and the distance cut back to 153km from the original 212km. The final climb of the day, the Giau Pass, the highest point in this year’s race at 2,233 metres altitude, was kept on the route, along with the opening one, up La Crosetta.
The main risk to riders would have been on the slippery descents, during the ‘Queen stage’, considered the hardest of the race, to Cortina d’Ampezzo, which will host the 2026 Winter Olympics.
- Yates drops off -Bernal was wearing a rain jacket over the leader’s pink jersey as riders headed out for the day 40 minutes late, because of the conditions.
The 24-year-old attacked twice and broke clear 4km from the final summit, arriving at the top with a 45sec advantage on Caruso with and 1min 13 sec over Bardet. Bardet powered back on the descent to catch Caruso, but could not reach Bernal, who took off his jacket to show his jersey as he triumphantly crossed the finish line.
“This is a great victory, winning wearing the Maglia Rosa is special and I wanted to show it,” said Bernal.
Britain’s Simon Yates dropped from second overall to fifth after losing over two-and-a-half minutes on the day.
Belgian Remco Evenepoel also slipped behind in the final 30km and the climb to the Giau Pass, with the Deceuninck-Quick Step rider now half an hour behind Bernal.Before the stage Lotto Soudal’s Belgian Thomas De Gendt pulled out with a knee problem.
De Gendt finished third in the 2012 edition and has won stages on all three Grand Tours, the Giro, the Tour de France and the Vuelta a Espana.
1. Egan Bernal (COL/Ineos) 4hr 22min 41sec, 2. Romain Bardet (FRA/DSM) at 27sec, 3. Damiano Caruso (ITA/BAH) 27, 4. Giulio Ciccone (ITA/TRE) 1:18, 5. Hugh Carthy (GBR/EF1) 1:19, 6. Joao Almeida (POR/DEC) 1:21, 7. Aleksandr Vlasov (RUS/AST) 2:11, 8. Gorka Izagirre (ESP/AST) 2:31, 9. Davide Formolo (ITA/UAE) 2:33, 10. Tobias Foss (NOR/JUM) 2:33. 11. Simon Yates (GBR/BIK) 2:37.
1. Egan Bernal (COL/Ineos) 66hr 36min 04sec, 2. Damiano Caruso (ITA/BAH) at 2min 24sec, 3. Hugh Carthy (GBR/EF1) 3:40, 4. Aleksandr Vlasov (RUS/AST) 4:18, 5. Simon Yates (GBR/BIK) 4:20, 6. Giulio Ciccone (ITA/TRE) 4:31, 7. Romain Bardet (FRA/DSM) 5:02, 8. Daniel Martinez (COL/INE) 7:17, 9. Tobias Foss (NOR/JUM) 8:20, 10. Joao Almeida (POR/DEC) 10:01.