Bernal poised for Giro triumph as Caruso takes stage 20

·2-min read

Egan Bernal retained a two-minute lead in the Giro d'Italia on Saturday when he followed stage 20 winner Damiano Caruso across the Alpe Motta summit finish line.

Caruso tightened his grip on second place in the overall standings but Ineos leader Bernal has a big enough lead to go into Sunday's last day 30.3km individual time-trial to Milan's Duomo cathedral confident of adding the 2021 Giro to his 2019 Tour de France triumph.

"I'm satisfied with the result. I think we managed the situation well. We have two minutes in advantage for tomorrow's time trial. So are in a good position," said Colombian Bernal, winner of two stages in this Giro.

After seeing his overall lead trimmed on consecutive stages Bernal was a study in cool Saturday as the stage 20 embarked from picturesque Verbania on the shores of Lake Maggiore heading towards Switzerland and 38km of climbing on three snow-capped mountains.

As the stage ascended its final climb towards the Alpe Motta, Frenchman Romain Bardet and Italian rider Caruso took a lead of less than a minute with five kilometres to go.

Bernal bided his time patiently behind his sherpa Daniel Martinez before unleashing a late burst on the final, steepest section of the slope to drop third-placed Simon Yates and overtake Bardet, who crept into the top ten with his performance.

Caruso crossed the summit to a rapturous reception as he won his first major tour stage, 24sec ahead of Bernal as Englishman Yates finished sixth on the day, 51sec behind.

"I'm not the champion, but I had my day," said Bahrain-Victorious rider Caruso, who had adopted ultra-conservative tactics until his attack Saturday.

Bernal heads to Milan with an overall lead of 1min 59sec on Caruso with Yates third at 3min 23sec.

"I’ll do the TT (time trial) flat out," Bernal promised. "I didn't think I'd start the TT with a two-minute lead so I'm hopeful. But I won't be sure of victory until I've won it."

Pater Sagan of Bora-Hansgrohe leads the points standings while Goeffrey Bouchard will win the mountain points title.

While the 24-year-old Bernal will also take the best young rider's title, it will be worn Sunday by Russia's Aleksandr Vlasov.

Ineos Grenadiers are aiming for a third Giro victory after Tao Geoghegan Hart won it in 2020 and Chris Froome in 2018.

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