Bernal survives Jumbo-Visma onslaught at Tour de l’Ain as Froome and Thomas lose ground

SAINTVULBAS FRANCE AUGUST 08 Egan Arley Bernal Gomez of Colombia and Team INEOS Breakaway during the 32nd Tour de LAin 2020 Stage 2 a 141km stage from Lagnieu to Llex MontsJura 896m tourdelain TOURDELAIN TDA on August 08 2020 in SaintVulbas France Photo by Justin SetterfieldGetty Images
(Image credit: Getty Images Sport)

Egan Bernal (Team Ineos) was outnumbered and outgunned on stage 2 of the Tour de l’Ain but the Tour de France contender held firm in the face of a dominant ride from Jumbo Visma to remain in contention ahead of Sunday’s final and most difficult stage.

Jumbo-Visma put the hammer down with 35km to go on stage 2 and dropped all but a handful of their riders on the Col des Menthières with Robert Gesink and Tom Dumoulin ensuring that Bernal lost Geraint Thomas and Chris Froome.

When George Bennett, Primoz Roglic, and Steven Kruiswijk lifted the pace only Bernal, Nairo Quintana (Arkea-Samsic), and Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo) remained and although Bernal was isolated he hung on to take second on the stage behind Roglic. With the final stage on Sunday Roglic leads Bernal by 10 seconds with surprise package Valerio Conti (UAE Team Emirates) in third.

“It was a really good stage for us,” Bernal said after the finish. “It was really warm and hot and looking ahead to the Tour de France it’s good to have these sorts of days, for us. In the final, we were at the front and we followed the moves.

“We followed the plan that we had from the morning, which was to just to try and not lose time on the GC.”

When the leaders approached the final climb of the day towards the finish and Kruiswijk attacked it looked as though Bernal would be forced to chase with Roglič and Bennett glued to his wheel but the Colombian was saved by Jonathan Castroviejo, who dragged himself back into contention on the descent before the final climb.

“Castro was up there with me and it was really good training for the Tour. He was really strong and a really good rider. There were just five or six riders left and he was there. I’m happy for him and I’m happy to have him at the Tour,” Bernal said.

The Tour de France is still several weeks away but Jumbo Visma appear to be growing in strength and confidence. They took the fight to Team Ineos on stage 2 and put significant time into both Thomas and Froome.

The Critérium du Dauphiné starts next week but Bernal didn’t appear overly concerned at this point. He fought for the stage win but Roglic’s sprint was simply too good for him. The race climbs the Grand Colombier on stage 3 and the GC could and should dramatically change once again.

“I’m here to train. For me, it’s difficult to beat Roglic in a sprint but you never know and you need to try. Finally I was second anyway, and I took six seconds in bonuses. For sure, they’ll be really important as I look to the stage tomorrow.”

Thank you for reading 5 articles in the past 30 days*

Join now for unlimited access

Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

*Read any 5 articles for free in each 30-day period, this automatically resets

After your trial you will be billed £4.99 $7.99 €5.99 per month, cancel anytime. Or sign up for one year for just £49 $79 €59

Join now for unlimited access

Try your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

Daniel Benson

Daniel Benson was the Editor in Chief at between 2008 and 2022. Based in the UK, he joined the Cyclingnews team in 2008 as the site's first UK-based Managing Editor. In that time, he reported on over a dozen editions of the Tour de France, several World Championships, the Tour Down Under, Spring Classics, and the London 2012 Olympic Games. With the help of the excellent editorial team, he ran the coverage on Cyclingnews and has interviewed leading figures in the sport including UCI Presidents and Tour de France winners.