Bernal conquers Gibraltar Road
May 15 2018 06:43 am CET

Bernal conquers Gibraltar Road
Bernal conquers Gibraltar Road
Photo of Egan Bernal

Egan Arley Bernal has won the second stage of the Tour of California after attacking in the final 2 kilometres on the mountain finish on Gibraltar Road. The Team Sky rider also took over the leader’s jersey from Fernando Gaviria, who won the first stage yesterday. Rafal Majka (Bora-Hansgrohe) finished second, with Adam Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) completing the podium.

Stage 2 in the Tour of California presented the riders with the first GC test. With the first summit finish the climbers and GC candidates got a first chance to test their legs and their competitors. The 155 km long stage starting in Ventura promised fireworks with the line drawn on top of the 12 km long climb of Gibraltar road, averaging at a little over 8%. With a total of 2485 altitude metres, this stage is one for the climbers.

Early on in the race three riders escaped from the peloton to form the breakaway of the day. Ruben Companioni (Holowesko-Citadel), Adam De Vos (Rally Cycling) and Jonny Clarke (UnitedHealthcare) gathered some tv coverage for their American ProContinental teams and soon gathered a four minute advantage on the group.

After Companioni took the first KOM, De Vos was allowed to take the intermediate sprint in Santa Paula. Companioni then also took the second KOM and expanded his lead in the mountain classification. In the peloton, Team Sky, Bora-Hansgrohe and BMC took over the pace-making from Quick-Step. The gap then quickly dropped down on the third climb of the day, where Companioni again took the points.

Adam De Vos then took the second intermediate sprint. The peloton kept the gap around forty seconds, while Sky was joined at the front by Hagens Berman Axeon and Mitchelton-Scott. Companioni again beat De Vos and Clarke on the penultimate KOM on the day, thereby gathering all the possible mountain points (12) before the ascent of Gibraltar Road. This strong effort did not bring him anything, as the winner of the stage would take 15 points and take the mountain jersey simultaneously.

The three brave men were caught just before the ascent of the final climb, as BMC tried to deliver their leaders Tejay Van Garderen and Brent Bookwalter to the foot of the climb in a good position. Race leader Gaviria got dropped even before the final climb officially started. When more and more riders got dropped on the slopes of Gibraltar Road, Neilson Powless (LottoNL-Jumbo) was the first of the favourites to lose contact with the front group. Lachlan Morton (Dimension Data) soon followed. About 20 riders were left as they entered the final 5 kilometres. Also Rob Britton (Rally Cycling), Ian Boswell (Katusha) and Bookwalter were seen in trouble.

Tao Geoghegan Hart (Team Sky) pulled hard for his leader and big favourite Egan Bernal. With 1.7 km to go Bernal took over and Van Garderen tried to respond. The BMC rider couldn’t follow and was countered by Antwan Tolhoek (LottoNL-Jumbo) who chased solo. Behind Majka joined Van Garderen and they chased the two youngsters up front. The 21-year old Colombian only pulled away though and he confirmed his status as main favourite for this race. The Sky rider also took the leader’s jersey. In the background Tolhoek was caught and left behind by Majka and Yates.




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