Bernal climbs into Giro lead after long-awaited stage win

By Sports Desk May 16, 2021

Egan Bernal produced a storming finish to win stage nine of the Giro d'Italia – a result good enough to see the Colombian take over as the new race leader.

Bernal claimed a long-overdue maiden Grand Tour stage triumph following a gruelling 157-kilometre ride from Castel di Sangro to Campo Felice that concluded with an uphill finish on a gravel track.

Geoffrey Bouchard and Koen Bouwman were involved in a breakaway group but were unable to remain clear, the duo overtaken within 500 metres of the line.

A determined Bernal pushed hard to claim potentially crucial time in the battle for the maglia rosa, finishing seven seconds clear of Giulio Ciccone and Alexandr Vlasov, who were second and third respectively.

The 2019 Tour de France winner now has a 15-second cushion over nearest rival Remco Evenepoel in the overall standings.

"I cannot believe what just happened, I just won my first stage in a Grand Tour," Bernal said in his post-race interview.

"I made a lot of sacrifices to get where I am now. I was thinking I would do well today but I was not sure whether I could have won the stage.

"My team-mates had a lot of confidence in me, they told me I could do it: this victory is for them, they really believe in me."

Attila Valter had held the pink jersey heading into the stage, yet he found the going tough on the final climb and finished almost a minute behind the stage winner.

Meanwhile, Matej Mohoric was taken to hospital following a dramatic crash during proceedings. Team Bahrain Victorious confirmed the Slovenian would undergo tests and was to be kept under observation, as per the UCI's concussion protocol.

Mohoric somersaulted over his handlebars after coming off during a descent, with his bike splitting apart after making contact with a crash barrier.


STAGE RESULT  

1. Egan Bernal (INEOS Grenadiers) 4:08:23
2. Giulio Ciccone (Trek-Segafredo) +07secs
3. Alexandr Vlasov (Astana-Premier Tech) "
4. Remco Evenepoel (Deceuninck-Quick Step) +10s
5. Daniel Martin (Israel Start-Up Nation) "

CLASSIFICATION STANDINGS

General Classification

1. Egan Bernal (INEOS Grenadiers) 35:19:22
2. Remco Evenepoel (Deceuninck-Quick Step) +0.15
3. Alexandr Vlasov (Astana-Premier Tech) +0.21

Points Classification

1. Tim Merlier (Alpecin-Fenix) 83
2. Giacomo Nizzolo (Team Qhubeka Assos) 76
3. Elia Viviani (Cofidis) 69

King of the Mountains
 
1. Geoffrey Bouchard (AG2R Citroen Team) 51
2. Egan Bernal (INEOS Grenadiers) 48
3. Gino Mader (Bahrain Victorious) 44

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