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Giro d'Italia

Giro d’Italia stage 9: Egan Bernal moves into pink jersey with searing stage win

Bernal takes 15-second advantage over Remco Evenepoel as overnight race-leader Attila Valter cracks on final climb.

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Egan Bernal (Ineos Grenadiers) turned the Giro d’Italia on its head with a dominant stage win to surge into the pink jersey Sunday.

The former Tour de France champ kicked hard on the sandy slopes of the Campo Felice climb summit to blow the pack of GC favorites off his wheel, beating Giulio Ciccone (Trek-Segafredo) and Aleksandr Vlasov (Astana-Premier Tech) by seven seconds.

Remco Evenepoel (Deceuninck-Quick-Step) was next to the line in fourth-place.

Bernal now leads the GC by 15 seconds over Evenepoel, with Vlasov third at 21 seconds.

“I can’t believe what is happening, I just won my first stage in a grand tour,” Bernal said. “I made a lot of sacrifices to be in this position after last year’s Tour de France – so I’m really happy.”

Ineos Grenadiers took control of the race through the final climb, with Jonathan Castroviejo and then Gianni Moscon setting a blistering pace that positioned Bernal to move.

“I was thinking of going well today, but I wasn’t thinking of the stage,” Bernal said. “It was more my teammates I think, they had a lot of confidence in me. I was not sure but they told me I could do it, and they took the responsibility for me. And then what happened happened, so this victory is more for them, because they truly believed in me.”

Overnight race-leader Attila Valter (Groupama-FDJ) was dropped in the final kilometer under the pace of Ineos Grenadiers. The young Hungarian lost 49 seconds to Bernal, and now sits fifth on GC.


The stage stacked some 3,500m of climbing into just 158km, but it was the final ascent that made the difference, with the final 1.6km packing a gravel surface and steep gradient.

With final breakaway riders Koen Bouwman (Jumbo-Visma) and Geoffrey Bouchard (Ag2r-Citroen) still up the road, Ineos Grenadiers set the pace in the GC group leading into the 6km Campo Felice climb. Valter dangled toward the back of the 20-strong selection and eventually lost the wheels as the race hit the steepest gradients of the sandy slope.

Vlasov was first to move in the GC group, accelerating at around 1,200m to go.

Bernal countered with a blistering attack that only Ciccone could follow as the pair swept past escapees Bouwman and Bouchard. Ciccone wasn’t able to hold the wheel long, and Bernal wrestled his bike through the final 500m to scoop the stage and punch into the race lead.

Damiano Caruso, Daniel Martínez active before break goes clear

The race was red-hot from the start and took over two hours to settle down.

After an intense start over the opening climb, a break of around 20 riders went up the road on the Passo Godi with GC dangermen Damiano Caruso and Daniel Martinez dashing across soon after.


With Caruso and Martínez starting the day in top-12 on GC, and BikeExchange missing the break, the Aussie squad and then UAE-Emirates pulled back the threat.

Attacks kept flying off the front through the long descent and uncategorized climb that followed, and a talent-packed 17-man group finally went away with 80km to go.  Heading into the uphill-tilting final 50km, the break held around three minutes’ advantage as Ineos Grenadiers controlled the pace.

There was a flurry of attacks in the escape group through the long cat 2 Ovindoli climb before Simon Carr (EF-Nippo), and Geoffrey Bouchard (Ag2r-Citroen) finally got away together over the crest of the ascent. Koen Bouwman (Jumbo Visma), Michael Storer (DSM) and Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo) gave chase as the rest of the break blew apart.

Bouchard made his move at 9km to go, blowing Carr off his wheel. The four-man chase group initially struggled to coordinate its effort, and Bouwman punched away to bridge across to Bouchard on the final gravel climb.

The pair looked set to fight for stage honors only for Bernal and Co. to crash the party on the final ascent.

Matej Mohorič taken away in ambulance after nasty crash

Bahrain-Victorious rider Matej Mohorič crashed hard early in the race. The Slovenian was pushing the pace through a descent while in the breakaway, lost his rear wheel, clipped a low wall and cartwheeled onto his head.

Mohorič was seen standing up and then quickly sitting back down immediately after the incident and was then taken away in an ambulance for checks. His team doctor later confirmed that he had retained consciousness, but concussion was almost certain.

What’s to come

A short stage into Foligno rounds out the first block of racing Monday, with a rest day following on Tuesday. With the final climb of Monday’s stage cresting some 40km from the finish, it should offer the sprinters an opportunity to score. Caleb Ewan is out of the race, and the likes of Tim Merlier and Peter Sagan will be eyeing their opportunity.

Results will be available once stage has completed.

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