MADESIMO, Italy – Italian Damiano Caruso took his first Grand Tour victory on Saturday in the 20th and penultimate stage of the Giro d’Italia, a 163-kilometer drive from Valle Spluga to Alpe Motta, when Egan Bernal closed. in on the overall title.
The last climb on Alpe Motta saw the Frenchman Roman Bardet and Caruso lose their home riders and go over by five kilometers, with the home favorite Caruso digging deep to pick up the shift victory comfortably.
The pink jersey holder Bernal, with his determined INEOS Grenadiers teammates around him, remained at the top of the peloton for much of the race, keeping the gap between him and the race leaders manageable, which was in the final stage.
British rider Simon Yates, who started the day third in the overall classification, two minutes and 49 seconds behind Bernal after winning Friday 19, kept pace with the Colombian while other riders dropped out during the final mountain stage.
Daniel Martinez kept Bernal’s match before the Colombian came second, meaning he will take a one-minute, 59-second lead in the final time trial on Sunday in Milan, where only a disaster gave him a first Giro. title will give.
“We knew today how to run the race,” Bernal said. ‘My teammates did a good job and got things done perfectly. I have to thank them.
“I was afraid of losing. I am full of different emotions. I had the legs and the team in place, but there was Caruso before who was a GC [general classification] rival.
‘When he was 30 or 40 seconds ahead, even though I was fine, I was worried I would suffer. It was easy to lose 1:30 and then have to fight in the last time track. ”
With Caruso’s victory he would have to reach a first podium finish on the Grand Tour, with Yates of Team BikeExchange, but he was assured of third place in the overall classification due to his striking advantage over Aleksandr Vlasov in fourth place.
By Peter Hall