The Giro d’Italia is an unpredictable cycling race in essence and tradition. The Giro thus likes to escape at the last moment from a suitor who is too sure of his strengths and his lead. Ask the Dutch instead Steven Kruijswijk, gone in the sun to hit a wall of snow in the descent of the Col d’Agnel and this 48 hours from an announced coronation, in 2016.
On Wednesday June 26, Egan Bernal stayed on his bike and kept his pink jersey at the end of the 17e step. But, four days before the epilogue, Sunday, in Milan, the Colombian experienced his first fear. And this was less anecdotal than his impromptu meeting on Monday with two spectators equipped with a running chainsaw, on the climb to Cortina d’Ampezzo.
🤪 Bernal’s secreto de la subida es que le ha “animado” un tío con una motosierra. #Giro https://t.co/aIT6PUAbtc
Four kilometers from the Sega di Ala summit, the Ineos rider suffered a broken leg and let the unpredictable Englishman Simon Yates (Team BikeExchange) go. Fortunately for Bernal, his team has the means to provide their leaders with luxury team members. Laureate of the last Critérium du Dauphiné, Daniel Felipe Martinez was the guardian angel of his compatriot, whom he towed as much as he shook with gesture and voice. “I owe him a big thank you. He encouraged me and told me again that I was going to win the Giro ”, greeted Bernal when he regained his breath.
The winner of the Tour de France 2019 deplores “only” the loss of 57 seconds on an invigorated Yates but kept a reasonable distance in the general classification (3e more than 3 minutes): “I only left a little time and my goal will be to keep some on him before the stopwatch in Milan”, Sunday. But, before that, the final climb of the Alpa di Mera on Friday, with its 9.4 km at more than 9%, can still titillate a Yates still inspired by high percentages.
“At certain points in the stages, it hurts”
Despite this threat, Bernal displays a newfound serenity. At 24, the Zipaquira climber had his back recently. Literally. Since retiring from the Tour nine months earlier, Bernal had worried that he would be able to pedal again without a pain that comes and goes, more insidiously at times, since his early years as a mountain biker.
Winner of two stages on this Giro, the climber found new sensations. “At certain points in the stages, it hurts, However, he confessed on the evening of his victory at Cortina d’Ampezzo, Monday, June 24. Apart from the daily physiotherapy care there is not much I can do about it. I don’t think the pain will be too much before the end of the Giro. ” It does not prevent him from reconnecting with his original nature, that of a runner not the type to count his seconds in advance like his marbles.
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