GIRO D’ITALIA STAGE 9 HIGHLIGHTS

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Colombia’s Egan Bernal soared into the Giro d’Italia overall lead on Sunday when he accelerated away from his key rivals to win stage nine’s mountaintop showdown. The Ineos leader and winner of the 2019 Tour de France pulled away from a select group on a gravel ski slope above the clouds with the other overall contenders only able to watch as he skipped away.

 

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Giulio Ciccone was second at 7 seconds back and Alexandr Vlasov was third at the same time as Remco Evenepoel and Dan Martin ended 10 seconds back and Romain Bardet at 12. Britain’s Simon Yates again lost a handful of seconds but there are 12 tough stages remaining.

The 24-year-old Bernal had been suffering back problems that forced him out of last year’s Tour and limited his competition time since.

“I sacrificed so much to be here,” an emotional Bernal said at the line.

“I can’t tell you just how happy I am to be here talking to you now.”

Italy’s Gianni Moscon guided Bernal up the final steep slope beyond the treeline to its highest altitude so far with 9 percent average gradient with sections at 12 percent.

“I hadn’t been planning to win the stage, but my teammates were encouraging me to go for it,” said Bernal, who produced his exhilarating attack 600 meters from home as the finale was contested ‘off piste’, on a gravel track used as a ski slope in winter.

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RBA/AFP Photo: Bettini

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