Giro d'Italia: Bernal wins stage 9 on the Campo Felice gravel

Egan Bernal (Ineos Grenadiers) won stage 9 of the Giro d’Italia with an explosive attack on the steep gravel track at Campo Felice.

The Colombian becomes the new pink jersey after Attila Valter (Groupama-FDJ) was dropped earlier on the climb.

Giulio Ciccone (Trek-Segafredo) and Aleksandr Vlasov (Astana-Premier Tech) were second and third respectively at seven seconds, while Remo Evenepoel (Deceuninck-QuickStep) came in a further three seconds later in fourth to retain his second-place position on GC.

Dan Martin (Israel Start-Up Nation) finished alongside Evenepoel, and a couple of seconds behind them came in another group featuring many of the GC contenders, including Simon Yates (Team BikeExchange), Hugh Carthy (EF Education-Nippo), Romain Bardet (Team DSM) and Damiano Caruso (Bahrain Victorious).

As the GC action only kicked off on the gravel roads towards the top of the final climb, the gaps between the GC riders were only minimal. But Bernal was clearly the strongest rider on those roads, and has confirmed himself as the race’s frontrunner.

For the Colombian, the victory comes after a long journey to return to his best in light of persistent back problems. 

“I can’t believe what’s happening,” said Bernal at the finish. “I just won my first stage in a Grand Tour. I think I did a lot of sacrifices to be in this position after the Tour last year [where back problems forced him to abandon]. I’m really happy.”

Ineos Grenadiers did a great job of setting up his attack, setting a fast enough pace to catch the final survivors of the day’s break, Geoffrey Bouchard (AG2R-Citroën) and Koen Bouwman (Jumbo-Visma), just 500 metres from the line.

“I was thinking of doing really well today, but I wasn’t sure if I’d go for the stage. But my teammates had a lot of confidence in me. I wasn’t sure, but they told me, ‘you can do it’...I think this victory is more for them, because they really believed in me.”

The team will now be tasked with defending the pink jersey, with Evenepoel lurking ominously behind in second at 15 seconds, and Vlasov, Ciccone, Valter, Carthy, Caruso, Martin and Yates all still within a minute of his time after performing solidly today. 

How it unfolded

Like yesterday’s stage, Sunday began with multiple attacks as rider after rider tried and failed to form the day’s break.

After the race all came back together following an uncategorised rise, a large group formed on the category two Passo Godi, and got a small gap of about 20 seconds.

However, the peloton, led by UAE Team Emirates, were still chasing hard, setting up Diego Ulissi to attack and join the leaders. A spanner was thrown in the works when Damiano Caruso (Bahrain Victorious) and Dani Martinez (Ineos Grenadiers), who were genuine GC threats at 39 seconds and 1:06, respectively, latched onto Ulissi’s wheel and joined the leading group.

Caruso’s Bahrain Victorious teammate Gino Mäder reached the top of the climb first ahead of Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo) and Geoffrey Bouchard (AG2R Citroën) to extend his lead in the mountains classification, and on the descent, along with teammate Matej Mohoric (who was also in the front group) set about setting a fierce pace. 

Given Mohoric’s notoriously quick descending skills, it was an exciting ploy from Bahrain Victorious to put the other GC teams under pressure. But they suffered a severe blow in a horrible moment on the downhill when Mohoric lost balance and somersaulted over his handlebars, snapping his fork. Although he was able to stand up again, the fact he’d landed on his head was cause for serious concern, and he exited the race via an ambulance on a stretcher. 

Bahrain Victorious pushed on nevertheless with Mäder, and pulled out a gap of 40 seconds over the peloton, now led by Team BikeExchange, who were the main GC team to miss the move. 

The peloton was committed to the chase, however, with UAE Team Emirates also joining BikeExchange, and the breakaway was caught. Luis León Sánchez (Astana-Premier Tech), Nicholas Edet (Cofidis), Bouchard and a few others from that group stubbornly accelerated to stay out for a little while longer, but eventually were also caught.

The race was therefore all together again towards the bottom of the descent, prompting a new set of about a dozen riders to try and form a break. The likes of UAE Team Emirates and Bahrain Victorious weren’t happy with that group, and worked to once again bring it back.

Simon Carr (EF Education-Nippo) was next to try on an uncategorised climb that immediately followed the descent, and was joined by six more riders: Sanchez, Edet, Bouchard, Mollema, Filippo Zana (Bardiani-CSF-Faizane) and Matteo Fabbro (Bora-Hansgrohe).

Eight more riders joined them at the front: Tony Gallopin (AG2R Citroën), Ruben Guerreiro (EF Education-Nippo), George Bennett, Koen Bouwman (Jumbo-Visma), Tanel Kangert (BikeExchange), Michael Storer (Team DSM), Einer Rubio (Movistar) and Ulissi. 

This time the peloton was happy with the make-up of the break, and sat up. There was still time for Giovanni Visconti (Bardiani-CSF-Faizane) and, after a long chase, Eduardo Sepulveda (Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec), and once they did, the final 16-man break had formed. 

The race finally set into a steady pattern, with the breakaway extending their lead to over three minutes, and the peloton being led at a steady pace by Groupama-FDJ.

The only action for a while came at the top of the category three Forca Caruso, where Bouchard won the sprint for the King of the Mountains points ahead of Mollema and Visconti.

Throughout this time the gap hovered at around three minutes, but began to come down at the start of the category two climb to Ovindoli when Ineos Grenadiers upped the pace in the peloton.

Seemingly in response, the riders in the break started to attack each other, with Carr and Bouchard, going clear from the rest. That pair reached the top of the category two climb with a lead of a handful of seconds over the rest, while Bouchard gained maximum points to become the virtual leader in the King of the Mountains classification.

Once the gradient tilted upwards as they reached the final climb of the day, Bouchard attacked and dropped Carr, who drifted back to a chasing group consisting of Mollema, Bouwman and Storer.

Meanwhile the peloton led into the final climb at a searing pace as the GC teams all tried to keep their leaders at the front, but lone leader Bouchard retained a lead of about two minutes, with the chasing quartet about 20 seconds behind him.

On the climb, Valter began to struggle inside the final 5km, drifting to the back of the peloton that was thinning out as Ineos Grenadiers set a severe pace. Their pace also put Bouchard and the rest of the break’s chances in peril, and Bouchard’s gap dipped to below a minute 3km from the finish.

Bouwman attacked the other chasers, and caught Bouchard shortly after beginning the gravel section, 1km from the finish. But both were caught by a charging Bernal, who had countered an attack from Vlasov at 500 metres from the line, after Moscon had further thinned the peloton, dropping Valter.

The difference in pace between the charging Bernal and the struggling Bouchard and Bouwman was remarkable, and underlined just how fast Bernal was riding.

It was a superb attack, and seemingly proof that Bernal is at long last back to his very best. 

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Full results
1Egan Bernal Gomez (Col) Ineos Grenadiers4:08:23
2Giulio Ciccone (Ita) Trek-Segafredo0:0:07
3Aleksandr Vlasov (Rus) Astana-Premier TechRow 2 - Cell 2
4Remco Evenepoel (Bel) Deceuninck-QuickStep0:0:10
5Daniel Martin (Irl) Israel Start-up NationRow 4 - Cell 2
6Damiano Caruso (Ita) Bahrain Victorious0:0:12
7Romain Bardet (Fra) Team DSMRow 6 - Cell 2
8Marc Soler (Spa) Movistar TeamRow 7 - Cell 2
9Daniel Martinez Poveda (Col) Ineos GrenadiersRow 8 - Cell 2
10João Almeida (Por) Deceuninck-QuickStepRow 9 - Cell 2
11Davide Formolo (Ita) UAE Team EmiratesRow 10 - Cell 2
12Hugh Carthy (GBr) EF Education-NippoRow 11 - Cell 2
13Emanuel Buchmann (Ger) Bora-HansgroheRow 12 - Cell 2
14Simon Yates (GBr) Team BikeExchangeRow 13 - Cell 2
15Koen Bouwman (Ned) Jumbo-Visma0:0:31
16Gianni Moscon (Ita) Ineos GrenadiersRow 15 - Cell 2
17Rein Taaramäe (Est) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert MatériauxRow 16 - Cell 2
18Tobias Foss (Nor) Jumbo-Visma0:0:35
19Nicholas Schultz (Aus) Team BikeExchangeRow 18 - Cell 2
20Alberto Bettiol (Ita) EF Education-NippoRow 19 - Cell 2
21Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Trek-SegafredoRow 20 - Cell 2
22Geoffrey Bouchard (Fra) AG2R Citroën Team0:0:38
23Lorenzo Fortunato (Ita) Eolo-Kometa Cycling Team0:0:49
24Louis Vervaeke (Bel) Alpecin-FenixRow 23 - Cell 2
25Attila Valter (Hun) Groupama-FDJRow 24 - Cell 2
26Sébastien Reichenbach (Swi) Groupama-FDJRow 25 - Cell 2
27Jai Hindley (Aus) Team DSM0:0:53
28Edward Ravasi (Ita) Eolo-Kometa Cycling Team0:01:00
29Pello Bilbao Lopez De Armentia (Spa) Bahrain Victorious0:01:01
30Matteo Badilatti (Swi) Groupama-FDJRow 29 - Cell 2
31Mikel Nieve Iturralde (Spa) Team BikeExchange0:01:07
32Ruben Guerreiro (Por) EF Education-Nippo0:01:13
33Felix Grossschartner (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe0:01:16
34Jan Hirt (Cze) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux0:01:18
35Nicolas Edet (Fra) Cofidis0:01:34
36George Bennett (NZl) Jumbo-Visma0:01:44
37Antonio Pedrero (Spa) Movistar Team0:01:47
38Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek-Segafredo0:01:49
39Tanel Kangert (Est) Team BikeExchange0:01:50
40Tony Gallopin (Fra) AG2R Citroën TeamRow 39 - Cell 2
41Matteo Fabbro (Ita) Bora-Hansgrohe0:02:13
42Larry Warbasse (USA) AG2R Citroën Team0:02:21
43Quinten Hermans (Bel) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux0:02:25
44Michael Storer (Aus) Team DSM0:02:27
45Harold Tejada Canacue (Col) Astana-Premier TechRow 44 - Cell 2
46Amanuel Gebreigzabhier (Eri) Trek-Segafredo0:02:34
47Rémy Rochas (Fra) Cofidis0:02:45
48Jonathan Castroviejo Nicolas (Spa) Ineos Grenadiers0:02:51
49Einer Rubio Reyes (Col) Movistar TeamRow 48 - Cell 2
50Simon Carr (GBr) EF Education-Nippo0:02:57
51Fausto Masnada (Ita) Deceuninck-QuickStepRow 50 - Cell 2
52Vadim Pronskiy (Kaz) Astana-Premier Tech0:03:13
53Jimmy Janssens (Bel) Alpecin-Fenix0:03:14
54Christopher Hamilton (Aus) Team DSM0:03:21
55Kilian Frankiny (Swi) Team Qhubeka Assos0:04:02
56Simone Petilli (Ita) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux0:04:08
57Lars van den Berg (Ned) Groupama-FDJ0:04:28
58Gianluca Brambilla (Ita) Trek-Segafredo0:05:14
59Jacopo Mosca (Ita) Trek-SegafredoRow 58 - Cell 2
60Yukiya Arashiro (Jpn) Bahrain VictoriousRow 59 - Cell 2
61Jhonatan Narvaez Prado (Ecu) Ineos Grenadiers0:05:25
62Giovanni Carboni (Ita) Bardiani CSF Faizane'0:05:28
63Gorka Izagirre Insausti (Spa) Astana-Premier Tech0:06:42
64Luis Leon Sanchez (Spa) Astana-Premier TechRow 63 - Cell 2
65Davide Villella (Ita) Movistar Team0:06:49
66Jens Keukeleire (Bel) EF Education-Nippo0:07:09
67Guy Niv (Isr) Israel Start-up Nation0:07:24
68Harm Vanhoucke (Bel) Lotto Soudal0:07:31
69Nicolas Roche (Irl) Team DSMRow 68 - Cell 2
70Diego Ulissi (Ita) UAE Team Emirates0:07:44
71Dario Cataldo (Ita) Movistar TeamRow 70 - Cell 2
72Jonathan Caicedo (Ecu) EF Education-NippoRow 71 - Cell 2
73Pieter Serry (Bel) Deceuninck-QuickStep0:07:46
74Filippo Zana (Ita) Bardiani CSF Faizane'0:07:56
75Giovanni Aleotti (Ita) Bora-Hansgrohe0:07:58
76Alessandro De Marchi (Ita) Israel Start-up NationRow 75 - Cell 2
77Nelson Oliveira (Por) Movistar Team0:08:42
78Simon Pellaud (Swi) Androni Giocattoli-SidermecRow 77 - Cell 2
79Oscar Riesebeek (Ned) Alpecin-Fenix0:08:44
80Jos van Emden (Ned) Jumbo-Visma0:08:45
81Giovanni Visconti (Ita) Bardiani CSF Faizane'Row 80 - Cell 2
82Rudy Molard (Fra) Groupama-FDJRow 81 - Cell 2
83Alessandro Covi (Ita) UAE Team Emirates0:08:49
84Tejay van Garderen (USA) EF Education-NippoRow 83 - Cell 2
85Andrea Vendrame (Ita) AG2R Citroën Team0:08:55
86Simon Guglielmi (Fra) Groupama-FDJ0:09:02
87Rafael Valls Ferri (Spa) Bahrain Victorious0:09:08
88Callum Scotson (Aus) Team BikeExchangeRow 87 - Cell 2
89Jan Tratnik (Slo) Bahrain Victorious0:09:16
90Eduardo Sepulveda (Arg) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec0:09:33
91Fabio Felline (Ita) Astana-Premier Tech0:10:44
92Salvatore Puccio (Ita) Ineos Grenadiers0:14:54
93Gino Mäder (Swi) Bahrain VictoriousRow 92 - Cell 2
94Matteo Sobrero (Ita) Astana-Premier TechRow 93 - Cell 2
95Rémi Cavagna (Fra) Deceuninck-QuickStep0:14:56
96Christopher Juul-Jensen (Den) Team BikeExchange0:15:11
97Thomas De Gendt (Bel) Lotto Soudal0:16:44
98Francesco Gavazzi (Ita) Eolo-Kometa Cycling Team0:16:54
99Patrick Bevin (NZl) Israel Start-up NationRow 98 - Cell 2
100Natnael Berhane (Eri) CofidisRow 99 - Cell 2
101Matteo Jorgenson (USA) Movistar TeamRow 100 - Cell 2
102Valerio Conti (Ita) UAE Team Emirates0:17:01
103Iljo Keisse (Bel) Deceuninck-QuickStep0:17:42
104Andrea Pasqualon (Ita) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert MatériauxRow 103 - Cell 2
105Dries De Bondt (Bel) Alpecin-FenixRow 104 - Cell 2
106Mauro Schmid (Swi) Team Qhubeka AssosRow 105 - Cell 2
107Nico Denz (Ger) Team DSM0:17:46
108Senne Leysen (Bel) Alpecin-Fenix0:17:52
109Romain Seigle (Fra) Groupama-FDJ0:18:17
110Paul Martens (Ger) Jumbo-Visma0:18:23
111James Knox (GBr) Deceuninck-QuickStepRow 110 - Cell 2
112Samuele Battistella (Ita) Astana-Premier TechRow 111 - Cell 2
113Samuele Zoccarato (Ita) Bardiani CSF Faizane'Row 112 - Cell 2
114Enrico Battaglin (Ita) Bardiani CSF Faizane'Row 113 - Cell 2
115Filippo Fiorelli (Ita) Bardiani CSF Faizane'Row 114 - Cell 2
116Cesare Benedetti (Ita) Bora-Hansgrohe0:18:28
117Edoardo Affini (Ita) Jumbo-Visma0:18:59
118Victor Lafay (Fra) Cofidis0:22:22
119Márton Dina (Hun) Eolo-Kometa Cycling TeamRow 118 - Cell 2
120Antoine Duchesne (Can) Groupama-FDJRow 119 - Cell 2
121Kobe Goossens (Bel) Lotto SoudalRow 120 - Cell 2
122Julius van den Berg (Ned) EF Education-Nippo0:22:24
123Michael Hepburn (Aus) Team BikeExchangeRow 122 - Cell 2
124Max Kanter (Ger) Team DSMRow 123 - Cell 2
125Mark Christian (GBr) Eolo-Kometa Cycling TeamRow 124 - Cell 2
126Natnael Tesfazion (Eri) Androni Giocattoli-SidermecRow 125 - Cell 2
127Simone Ravanelli (Ita) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec0:22:30
128Stefano Oldani (Ita) Lotto SoudalRow 127 - Cell 2
129Gianni Vermeersch (Bel) Alpecin-FenixRow 128 - Cell 2
130Daniel Oss (Ita) Bora-HansgroheRow 129 - Cell 2
131Alexis Gougeard (Fra) AG2R Citroën TeamRow 130 - Cell 2
132Davide Cimolai (Ita) Israel Start-up NationRow 131 - Cell 2
133Vincenzo Albanese (Ita) Eolo-Kometa Cycling TeamRow 132 - Cell 2
134Albert Torres Barcelo (Spa) Movistar TeamRow 133 - Cell 2
135Taco van der Hoorn (Ned) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux0:22:34
136Cameron Meyer (Aus) Team BikeExchangeRow 135 - Cell 2
137Peter Sagan (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe0:22:52
138Maciej Bodnar (Pol) Bora-HansgroheRow 137 - Cell 2
139Nikias Arndt (Ger) Team DSM0:24:51
140Roger Kluge (Ger) Lotto SoudalRow 139 - Cell 2
141Koen de Kort (Ned) Trek-Segafredo0:25:10
142Mikkel Honoré (Den) Deceuninck-QuickStep0:25:12
143Davide Gabburo (Ita) Bardiani CSF Faizane'Row 142 - Cell 2
144Alex Dowsett (GBr) Israel Start-up Nation0:25:14
145Umberto Marengo (Ita) Bardiani CSF Faizane'Row 144 - Cell 2
146Matthias Brändle (Aut) Israel Start-up NationRow 145 - Cell 2
147Andrii Ponomar (Ukr) Androni Giocattoli-SidermecRow 146 - Cell 2
148Lawrence Naesen (Bel) AG2R Citroën TeamRow 147 - Cell 2
149Fabio Sabatini (Ita) CofidisRow 148 - Cell 2
150Nicola Venchiarutti (Ita) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec0:25:23
151Bert-Jan Lindeman (Ned) Team Qhubeka AssosRow 150 - Cell 2
152Lukasz Wisniowski (Pol) Team Qhubeka AssosRow 151 - Cell 2
153Wesley Kreder (Ned) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert MatériauxRow 152 - Cell 2
154David Dekker (Ned) Jumbo-Visma0:25:26
155Attilio Viviani (Ita) Cofidis0:25:37
156Filippo Ganna (Ita) Ineos Grenadiers0:25:53
157Maximilian Walscheid (Ger) Team Qhubeka Assos0:25:55
158Jefferson Cepeda (Ecu) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec0:25:57
159Filippo Tagliani (Ita) Androni Giocattoli-SidermecRow 158 - Cell 2
160Juan Sebastian Molano Benavides (Col) UAE Team EmiratesRow 159 - Cell 2
161Riccardo Minali (Ita) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert MatériauxRow 160 - Cell 2
162Tim Merlier (Bel) Alpecin-FenixRow 161 - Cell 2
163Alexander Krieger (Ger) Alpecin-FenixRow 162 - Cell 2
164Matteo Moschetti (Ita) Trek-Segafredo0:26:02
165Elia Viviani (Ita) Cofidis0:26:03
166Simone Consonni (Ita) CofidisRow 165 - Cell 2
167Fernando Gaviria Rendon (Col) UAE Team EmiratesRow 166 - Cell 2
168Victor Campenaerts (Bel) Team Qhubeka AssosRow 167 - Cell 2
169Samuele Rivi (Ita) Eolo-Kometa Cycling TeamRow 168 - Cell 2
170Maximiliano Richeze (Arg) UAE Team Emirates0:26:08
171Dylan Groenewegen (Ned) Jumbo-Visma0:26:11
172Giacomo Nizzolo (Ita) Team Qhubeka Assos0:26:30
DNFClément Champoussin (Fra) AG2R Citroën TeamRow 172 - Cell 2
DNFMatej Mohoric (Slo) Bahrain VictoriousRow 173 - Cell 2
DNFJasper De Buyst (Bel) Lotto SoudalRow 174 - Cell 2
DNSTomasz Marczynski (Pol) Lotto SoudalRow 175 - Cell 2
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Sprint 1 - Celano km. 121.9
1Tony Gallopin (Fra) AG2R Citroën Team12
2Michael Storer (Aus) Team DSM8
3Nicolas Edet (Fra) Cofidis6
4Koen Bouwman (Ned) Jumbo-Visma5
5Diego Ulissi (Ita) UAE Team Emirates4
6Eduardo Sepulveda (Arg) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec3
7Luis Leon Sanchez (Spa) Astana-Premier Tech2
8Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek-Segafredo1
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Sprint 2 - Campo Felice km. 158
1Egan Bernal Gomez (Col) Ineos Grenadiers15
2Giulio Ciccone (Ita) Trek-Segafredo12
3Aleksandr Vlasov (Rus) Astana-Premier Tech9
4Remco Evenepoel (Bel) Deceuninck-QuickStep7
5Daniel Martin (Irl) Israel Start-up Nation6
6Damiano Caruso (Ita) Bahrain Victorious5
7Romain Bardet (Fra) Team DSM4
8Marc Soler (Spa) Movistar Team3
9Daniel Martinez Poveda (Col) Ineos Grenadiers2
10João Almeida (Por) Deceuninck-QuickStep1
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Bonus Sprint 1 - Rocca di Cambio km. 150.1
1Geoffrey Bouchard (Fra) AG2R Citroën Team0:0:3
2Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek-Segafredo0:0:2
3Michael Storer (Aus) Team DSM0:0:1
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Mountain 1 - Passo Godi km. 35.6
1Gino Mäder (Swi) Bahrain Victorious18
2Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek-Segafredo8
3Geoffrey Bouchard (Fra) AG2R Citroën Team6
4Nicolas Edet (Fra) Cofidis4
5Simon Carr (GBr) EF Education-Nippo2
6Michael Storer (Aus) Team DSM1
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Mountain 2 - Forca Caruso km. 102.1
1Geoffrey Bouchard (Fra) AG2R Citroën Team9
2Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek-Segafredo4
3Giovanni Visconti (Ita) Bardiani CSF Faizane'2
4Tony Gallopin (Fra) AG2R Citroën Team1
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Mountain 3 - Ovindoli km. 135
1Geoffrey Bouchard (Fra) AG2R Citroën Team18
2Simon Carr (GBr) EF Education-Nippo8
3Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek-Segafredo6
4Michael Storer (Aus) Team DSM4
5Nicolas Edet (Fra) Cofidis2
6George Bennett (NZl) Jumbo-Visma1
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Mountain 4 - Campo Felice km. 158
1Egan Bernal Gomez (Col) Ineos Grenadiers40
2Giulio Ciccone (Ita) Trek-Segafredo18
3Aleksandr Vlasov (Rus) Astana-Premier Tech12
4Remco Evenepoel (Bel) Deceuninck-QuickStep9
5Daniel Martin (Irl) Israel Start-up Nation6
6Damiano Caruso (Ita) Bahrain Victorious4