The Briton Simon Yates (BikeExchange) took off alone the 19th stage of the cycling Tour of Italy on Friday, at the finish at the top of Alpe di Mera. Colombian Egan Bernal (Ineos), third on the stage, kept the leader’s pink jersey two days before the finish in Milan.
He is the best climber of the end of the Giro, and the one everyone is waiting for to try to destabilize the pink Egan Bernal jersey during the last stages of the Tour of Italy. This Friday, Simon Yates (BikeExchange) was 11 seconds ahead of the Portuguese Joao Almeida (Deceuninck-Quick Step) who won Bernal (Ineos) in the last kilometer.
The Colombian from Ineos retains his pink jersey as the leader of the general classification but now has 2 minutes and 29 seconds ahead of his runner-up, the Italian Damiano Caruso (Bahrain Victorious) and 2 minutes and 49 seconds over Simon Yates. The last mountain stage, which will take place tomorrow, could prove to be decisive.
Bernal limits the breakage
In Alpe di Mera, during the last moments of this 166 kilometer long stage, Bernal failed to follow Yates when the Briton attacked more than 6 kilometers from the summit. But the Colombian managed his effort and made the climb in less than thirty seconds to finally lose 28 seconds on the line and limit the damage.
The Colombian, far from being aerial as in the first passes of the Giro, still nibbled 4 seconds (and 4 seconds of bonus) to his dolphin Caruso. At 28, Yates won his fourth Giro victory. In 2018, he had dominated the race and won three stages before collapsing in the last three days. He then won the Vuelta.
The penultimate step to try to shake Bernal
At Sega di Ala, Wednesday during the 17th stage, Yates had already gained the upper hand over Bernal, who gave him 53 seconds. On Saturday, the 20th and penultimate stage between Verbania and Alpe Morra (164 km), makes a long foray into Switzerland and climbs the last passes, the endless San Bernardino (23.7 km) and the Spluga.
The route ends above Madesimo after an ascent of 7.3 kilometers at 7.6%. It will be the last chance for Yates to make Bernal falter for good, before the time trial of the last stage on Sunday.