Bernal takes overall lead in California

Bernal takes overall lead in California
Team Sky (USA) – Egan Bernal rounded off a superb team performance to win stage two of Tour of California and take the overall race lead.

Bernal was expertly-delivered to an ideal position with two kilometres remaining on the Gibraltar Road summit finish by Tao Geoghegan Hart and the Colombian timed his move to perfection, attacking as the gradient kicked up to leave his rivals with little time to respond.

The 21 year old leads the race by 21 seconds from Rafal Majka (Bora-Hansgrohe) and is 25 seconds ahead of Mitchelton-Scott’s Adam Yates, with Geoghegan Hart only 1’10” behind despite his selfless work on the front of the lead group in the closing kilometres.

Before that, Sebastian Henao had taken turns in pushing the pace with the Londoner and Pavel Sivakov had led an elite group of general classification contenders on the early section of the hors catégorie ascent.

Ian Stanard had kicked off Team Sky’s control of the race on the penultimate climb, coming to the front of the peloton to push the pace and almost single-handedly reel in a breakaway, containing Adam De Vos (Rally Cycling), Ruben Companioni (Hincapie Sportswear Development Team) and Jonny Clarke (United Healthcare) before the final ascent.

After nearly 25 kilometres pushing the pace, he relented and allowed Lukasz Wisniowski and Luke Rowe to take to the front, before the team’s climbers took over to ensure Bernal sealed victory.

The result now means Bernal holds all four jerseys, the overall, sprint, mountain and best young rider’s jersey after two stages.

Ian Stannard kick-started the long-range move that won the stage.

Speaking to TeamSky's Website after the stage, Bernal revealed that the aim was always to attack late on, and dedicated the win to his teammates who executed the plan to perfection.

He said: “The break of three went early and Quick-Step took control, which worked for us.

“With only three in the break the race wasn’t too hard and we wanted to make it harder for the end, so coming into the final kilometres to the climb, Stannard took control and that’s when the race really started properly as you could notice the change in pace then."

He added: “Lukasz took over on the run in to the climb, as we came to the base of the climb, Luke dropped me off in a good position before BMC Racing started to put a hard pace on which worked for us too.

“Coming up next was Pavel, Sebastian and tao and the plan was to make the race so hard up that climb and attack with 2km to go.

“One hundred per cent this victory is for the whole team as we all worked together to do this.”

Stage two result:
  1. Egan Bernal (Team Sky) 4:14:00
  2. Rafal Majka (Bora-Hansgrohe) +21”
  3. Adam Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) +25”
  4. Antwan Tolhoek (LottoNL-Jumbo) +30”
  5. Daniel Martinez s.t.(Team EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale) s.t.

Overall standings:
  1. Egan Bernal (Team Sky) 7:16:13
  2. Rafal Majka (Bora-Hansgrohe) +25”
  3. Adam Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) +31”
  4. Antwan Tolhoek (LottoNL-Jumbo) +40”
  5. Daniel Martinez s.t.(Team EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale) s.t.

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