It’s hard to believe that Egan Bernal had never won a Grand Tour stage before Sunday. With such an extensive palmarès – including the 2019 Tour de France – it feels like the Ineos Grenadiers rider ought to have a few tucked away already, surely.
When the moment finally came, atop the steep gravel ramps of Campo Felice on stage nine, a seven-second solo win that saw him sweep into the maglia rosa to boot, Bernal didn’t quite realise what had happened.
Viewers might have been puzzled to see the 24-year-old wheel cross the line like any other also-ran, slumped shoulders betraying the effort involved rather than arms raised in celebration. It wasn’t until an Ineos soigneur caught up with him 10 seconds later that Bernal learned the good news. His reaction was unsurprising – and unprintable – jubilation.
“I cannot believe what is happening,” he said afterwards. “I just won my first stage in a Grand Tour! I made a lot of sacrifices to be in this position after the Tour last year. I’m really happy.”
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