Egan Bernal blasts past breakaway and blows up GC on gravel finish
Egan Bernal has blown up the general classification with an explosive display of power in the final gravel section of stage 9 atop Campo Felice
The Ineos Grenadiers rider has won the first grand tour stage win of his career, a result that also propels him to top spot in the general classification. The Colombian takes the Maglia Rosa, the leader's pink jersey, during Monday's stage 10 at the Giro d'Italia.
Egan Bernal launched a blistering attack on the gravel roads of stage nine of the Giro d'Italia 2021, blasting past the breakaway and taking the race lead.
The tense stage set up a fascinating battle between the two remaining breakaway riders, Geoffrey Bouchard (Ag2r-Citroën) and Koen Bouwman (Jumbo-Visma), and the group of general classification favourites on the unpaved final kilometre of Campo Felice.
But it was race favourite Bernal (Ineos Grenadiers) who fired a devastating attack inside the final kilometre, tearing past Bouchard and Bouwman, denying them the stage and taking his first victory of the season.
Bernal said to the media afterwards, “I can’t believe what’s happening,” said Bernal at the finish. “I just won my first stage in a Grand Tour. I think I did a lot of sacrifices to be in this position after the Tour last year [where back problems forced him to abandon]. I’m really happy.”
“I was thinking of doing really well today, but I wasn’t sure if I’d go for the stage. But my teammates had a lot of confidence in me. I wasn’t sure, but they told me, ‘you can do it’...I think this victory is more for them, because they really believed in me.”
Previous race leader Attila Valter (Groupama-FDJ) was distanced on the final climb, Egan Bernal powered his way into the Maglia Rosa, now 15 seconds ahead of Remco Evenepoel (Deceuninck - Quick-Step) in second.
Giulio Ciccone (Trek-Segafredo) was second with a very impressive ride that sees him move up to fourth, while the young Russian rider Aleksandr Vlasov (Astana-Premier Tech) is third on both the stage, and now on general classification too. Remco Evenepoel (Deceuninck-Quick Step) is fourth 10sec down on Bernal and although he keeps hold of second on general classification, the Belgian now trails the maglia rosa by 15sec – a turnaround of 21sec on the day.
It was Egan Bernal's first Grand Tour stage win, Colombia wins its first stage since stage 19 of the 2019 Giro (San Martino di Castrozza): Esteban Chaves. Egan Bernal takes the Maglia Rosa, Colombia’s 16th, all of them since 2014 (the holders: Nairo Quintana, 9 jerseys; Rigoberto Urán, 4; Esteban Chaves, Fernando Gaviria and Egan Bernal, 1)
The 10th stage of the Giro d'Italia runs from L'Aquila to Foligno. At a 139 kilometres, the route takes in 1,300 vertical metres before a pan flat finale - one for the Sprinters and a rest day for the GC riders.
VIDEO: 2021 Giro d'Italia Stage 9 Final KM
2021 Giro d'Italia Stage 9 Top 10
1 Egan Bernal Gomez (Col) Ineos Grenadiers 4:08:23
2 Giulio Ciccone (Ita) Trek-Segafredo 0:00:07
3 Alexandr Vlasov (Rus) Astana-Premier Tech
4 Remco Evenepoel (Bel) Deceuninck-QuickStep 0:00:10
5 Daniel Martin (Irl) Israel Start-up Nation
6 Damiano Caruso (Ita) Bahrain Victorious 0:00:12
7 Romain Bardet (Fra) Team DSM
8 Marc Soler (Spa) Movistar Team
9 Daniel Martinez Poveda (Col) Ineos Grenadiers
10 João Almeida (Por) Deceuninck-QuickStep
2021 Giro d'Italia GC after Stage 9
1 Egan Bernal Gomez (Col) Ineos Grenadiers 35:19:22
2 Remco Evenepoel (Bel) Deceuninck-QuickStep 0:00:15
3 Alexandr Vlasov (Rus) Astana-Premier Tech 0:00:21
4 Giulio Ciccone (Ita) Trek-Segafredo 0:00:36
5 Attila Valter (Hun) Groupama-FDJ 0:00:43
6 Hugh Carthy (EF Education-Nippo) 0:00:44
7 Damiano Caruso (Ita) Bahrain Victorious 0:00:45
8 Daniel Martin (Irl) Israel Start-up Nation 0:00:51
9 Simon Yates (GBr) Team BikeExchange 0:00:55
10 Davide Formolo (Ita) UAE Team Emirates 0:01:01