Egan Bernal extends lead on day of drama and intrigue at Giro d’Italia
Bernal wins shortened stage to extend his lead Caruso moves up to second overall Yates tumbles down the standings Simon Yates’s team insisted on Monday night that it was “not over yet” and that their man was “still riding to win” the Giro d’Italia. But the 28-year-old BikeExchange rider suffered a crushing blow on Monday as he was dropped on a freezing cold and wet 16th stage, which was won in emphatic fashion by race leader Egan Bernal. Yates’ fellow Briton Hugh Carthy (EF Education-Nippo) had a better day, moving into a podium position after crossing the line fifth in Cortina d’Ampezzo in the Italian Dolomites. The designated “queen” stage of the race had to be shortened by organisers at the last minute as snow and sleet hit the mountain range. Instead of a 212-kilometre route over three major mountain passes, the stage followed a 153km route over only one major pass, the Giau. But that was more than enough for Bernal (Ineos Grenadiers} to prove once again he is the man to beat in this race. The Colombian attacked over the top of the Giau, caught the last remaining breakaway rider, Antonio Pedrero (Movistar), and won the stage brilliantly to put time into all of his rivals. Bernal even had the time and presence of mind to slow down and take off his rain jacket before the finish, riding no-handed on wet slippery cobbles approaching the line – not an easy thing to do – so that he could display the pink jersey. “I wanted to put on a show,” said the 2019 Tour de France champion. “This is the type of cycling I like, tough stages like these. It’s a risk but I believed in myself and the team believed in me.” Bernal finished 27 seconds ahead of Romain Bardet (DSM), with Damiano Caruso (Bahrain Victorious) third, the Italian moving up from third to second overall at 2min 24sec. Carthy, meanwhile, jumped from fifth to third, 3min 40sec back. Yates, who had been second overall going into the stage, dropped to fifth overall at 4mins20sec after shedding 2min37secs to Bernal on the stage. “His Giro is not over but against such a strong Bernal like today it’s going to be very hard,” conceded BikeExchange general manager Brent Copeland, who said Yates just had a “bad day” rather than a problem with fuelling or the cold. “We’re riding to win but Bernal is riding well too. It’s not over and we’ll try to do something and make it a spectacular Giro.” The riders have a final rest day on Tuesday. The Giro finishes in Milan on Sunday.