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Bernal wins Gran Piemonte

Egan Bernal claimed the first one-day race victory of his career at Gran Piemonte on Thursday, triumphing atop Oropa to cap a devastating Team Ineos performance in a revamped edition of the Italian Classic.

Previously a moderately hilly affair, won last year by Sonny Colbrelli, the Gran Piemonte became a true climber's race in 2019, with the Nelva climb preceding the summit finish at the Oropa Sanctuary – scene of a memorable Marco Pantani comeback at the 1999 Giro d'Italia.

Bernal pointed to the Team Ineos logo on his jersey as he crossed the line alone on the cobbles in front of the Sanctuary, and he had every reason to. Having controlled the peloton for much of the day, the British team performed what was effectively a five-man lead-out all the way up the 11.8-kilometre final climb.

Their dominance was underscored by the fact that Ivan Sosa, the last rider in that train, took second place, sprinting clear of a four-man chase group several seconds behind his fellow Colombian. Sosa had previously reduced the lead group to just seven riders and his final turn was such that he and Bernal suddenly found themselves alone at the head of the race with just under 2km to go. At that point, Bernal opened the taps and never looked back.

Nans Peters (AG2R La Mondiale) claimed the final spot on the podium ahead of the two other members of the chase group, Emanuel Buchmann (Bora-Hansgrohe) and Dan Martin (UAE Team Emirates).

"I'm really happy because it's my first victory in Italy. I've done a lot of races here and Piemonte is the region I lived in for two years, so it's really special to win here," Bernal said.

"I was feeling really good during the race and asked the guys to do a good tempo on the climb. Sosa did a really good job. I won, but Sosa was almost stronger than me. In the end, when I saw we were away as two, I tried to go full gas to the finish, because you never know, sometimes people can come back. Sosa did a really really good job and showed he's one of the strongest climbers in the peloton."

How it unfolded

The Gran Piemonte underwent something of a makeover for its 2019 edition, leaning away from the finisseurs and sprinters and towards the climbers. The first 150km of the 183km route were flat, but there were two major climbs in the finale. First up was the climb at Nelva, a 13km climb whose average gradient of at 3.2 per cent is mitigated by a 2km descent just over half-way up. A 10km descent then led to the foot of Oropa, an 11.8km climb with an average gradient of 6.2 per cent. Best known for Pantani's victory in 1999, it was more recently used in the 2017, when Tom Dumoulin claimed victory en route to the overall title.

The race started out with an early breakaway, containing: Stephane Rossetto (Cofidis), Carlos Barbero (Movistar), Elie Gesbert (Arkéa-Samsic), Francesco Romano (Bardiani-CSF), Mattia Bais (Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec) and Enrico Battaglin (Katusha-Alpecin).

They built a lead of five minutes in the first hour but that steadily dropped as the race made its way north west. Well before the climbing, a number of big names were out of the race, Richard Carapaz (Movistar), Warren Barguil (Arkéa-Samsic), Davide Formolo and Rafał Majka (both Bora-Hansgrohe), all taking advantage of the feed zone at KM100 to climb off and rest up for Saturday's Il Lombardia.

Ineos, with some help from UAE, set the pace in the peloton as they approached the finale, and they were less than a minute behind the break as they hit the Nelva climb. As soon as the road went uphill, the break shattered, leaving Rossetto and Bais out front. Rossetto soon went it alone, but was caught by the Ineos-led bunch on the top section of the climb.

From there, almost no one apart from Ineos spent any time at the front. After the descent, Jonathan Castroviejo led the way onto the final climb at the head of a line of six riders. The opening five kilometres were gentle, averaging little over 4 per cent, and the time trial specialist strung out the bunch. When the gradient ramped up on a much steeper middle section, Salvatore Puccio took over. The only blemish on the Ineos report card was the fact Gianni Moscon was dropped at this point and was unable to offer up a turn.

Mathias Frank (AG2R La Mondiale) threw in an attack with 4.5km to go. Puccio couldn't chase it so he moved aside for Diego Rosa, who dragged Frank back with 4km to go, at which point 25 riders remained in contention. After a big out-of-the-saddle turn, Rosa moved aside with 3.5km to go, leaving Sosa in front of Bernal. He did immediate damage, although the formation of a seven-rider selection was partly due to an Astana rider losing the wheel in front of him. Sosa went about riding those that remained off the wheel, Davide Villella (Astana) being the first to lose contact, followed by Frank, and then Martin. With 1,800m to go, Buchmann fell away, and Peters lost the wheel, too, leaving the Ineos duo alone out front. Seeing this, Bernal quickly decided to take advantage and accelerate away. He opened up a lead of 16 seconds as Sosa settled into a chase group with Peters, Buchmann and, eventually, Martin.

As Bernal sat up and celebrated in the shadow of the Oropa Sanctuary, Sosa sprinted to second place to cap one of the most one-sided races in recent memory.


Full Results
Pos.Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Egan Arley Bernal Gomez (Col) Team Ineos 4:24:16
2Ivan Ramiro Sosa Cuervo (Col) Team Ineos 0:00:06
3Nans Peters (Fra) Ag2R La Mondiale 0:00:08
4Emanuel Buchmann (Ger) Bora - Hansgrohe 0:00:10
5Daniel Martin (Irl) Uae Team Emirates 0:00:11
6Mathias Frank (Swi) Ag2R La Mondiale 0:00:40
7Davide Villella (Ita) Astana Pro Team 0:00:46
8Giovanni Visconti (Ita) Neri Sottoli Selle Italia Ktm 0:00:47
9Clement Champoussin (Fra) Ag2R La Mondiale
10Carlos Verona Quintanilla (Spa) Movistar Team 0:00:49
11Louis Meintjes (RSA) Team Dimension Data 0:00:52
12Nicolas Edet (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits 0:01:00
13Gorka Izagirre Insausti (Spa) Astana Pro Team 0:01:06
14Hugh John Carthy (GBr) Ef Education First 0:01:08
15Nikolai Cherkasov (Rus) Gazprom - Rusvelo 0:01:12
16Nathan Earle (Aus) Israel Cycling Academy
17Amanuel Gebreigzabhier (Eri) Team Dimension Data
18Andrea Garosio (Ita) Bahrain - Merida 0:01:17
19Jose Herrada (Spa) Cofidis, Solutions Credits 0:01:20
20Andrey Zeits (Kaz) Astana Pro Team
21Jan Polanc (Slo) Uae Team Emirates 0:01:50
22Aleksandr Vlasov (Rus) Gazprom - Rusvelo 0:01:55
23Gino Mader (Swi) Team Dimension Data 0:02:03
24Ruben Fernandez (Spa) Movistar Team 0:02:17
25Fausto Masnada (Ita) Androni Giocattoli - Sidermec 0:02:19
26Diego Rosa (Ita) Team Ineos
27Clement Chevrier (Fra) Ag2R La Mondiale
28Patrick Konrad (Aut) Bora - Hansgrohe 0:02:23
29Simone Ravanelli (Ita) Biesse Carrera 0:02:28
30Kevin Rivera Serrano (CRc) Androni Giocattoli - Sidermec
31Hubert Dupont (Fra) Ag2R La Mondiale 0:02:33
32Andrea Vendrame (Ita) Androni Giocattoli - Sidermec 0:02:45
33Pierre Rolland (Fra) Vital Concept - B&B Hotels 0:03:06
34Jonas Gregaard Wilsly (Den) Astana Pro Team 0:03:08
35Francesco Manuel Bongiorno (Ita) Neri Sottoli Selle Italia Ktm 0:03:14
36Hermann Pernsteiner (Aut) Bahrain - Merida 0:03:17
37Cyril Gautier (Fra) Vital Concept - B&B Hotels 0:03:22
38Miguel Eduardo Florez Lopez (Col) Androni Giocattoli - Sidermec 0:03:53
39Jesper Hansen (Den) Cofidis, Solutions Credits 0:03:56
40Manuele Boaro (Ita) Astana Pro Team 0:04:31
41Kristian Sbaragli (Ita) Israel Cycling Academy
42Luis Angel Mate Mardones (Spa) Cofidis, Solutions Credits
43Eduard Prades Reverter (Spa) Movistar Team 0:04:41
44Sebastian Schönberger (Aut) Neri Sottoli Selle Italia Ktm
45Lorenzo Rota (Ita) Bardiani Csf 0:04:42
46Jeremy Maison (Fra) Team Arkea - Samsic 0:04:45
47Aleksei Rybalkin (Rus) Gazprom - Rusvelo
48Nathan Brown (USA) Ef Education First 0:04:52
49Sergei Shilov (Rus) Gazprom - Rusvelo
50Salvatore Puccio (Ita) Team Ineos 0:05:02
51Jaakko Hanninen (Fin) Ag2R La Mondiale 0:07:21
52Cesare Benedetti (Ita) Bora - Hansgrohe 0:07:29
53Davide Gabburo (Ita) Neri Sottoli Selle Italia Ktm
54Steff Cras (Bel) Team Katusha Alpecin 0:07:37
55Hideto Nakane (Jpn) Nippo - Vini Fantini - Faizane' 0:08:57
56Omer Goldstein (Isr) Israel Cycling Academy 0:10:29
57Stephane Rossetto (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits 0:10:35
58Edwin Alcibiades Avila Vanegas (Col) Israel Cycling Academy 0:10:42
59Aurelien Doleatto (Fra) Team Arkea - Samsic
60Awet Andemeskel (Eri) Israel Cycling Academy
61Mattia Bais (Ita) Cycling Team Friuli Asd 0:11:00
62Natnael Berhane (Eri) Cofidis, Solutions Credits
63Daniel Muñoz Giraldo (Col) Androni Giocattoli - Sidermec
64Daniel Navarro Garcia (Spa) Team Katusha Alpecin
65Quentin Pacher (Fra) Vital Concept - B&B Hotels 0:11:07
66Luca Covili (Ita) Bardiani Csf 0:11:22
67Davide Ballerini (Ita) Astana Pro Team 0:11:49
68Carlos Barbero (Spa) Movistar Team 0:12:14
69Anthony Perez (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits
70Nicolas Jonathan Castroviejo (Spa) Team Ineos
71Maxime Chevalier (Fra) Vital Concept - B&B Hotels
72Gianni Moscon (Ita) Team Ineos 0:12:49
73Mitchell Docker (Aus) Ef Education First 0:13:10
74Rory Sutherland (Aus) Uae Team Emirates
75Zhandos Bizhigitov (Kaz) Astana Pro Team
76Jasha Sutterlin (Ger) Movistar Team 0:14:36
77Giovanni Carboni (Ita) Bardiani Csf 0:16:18
78Patrick Muller (Swi) Vital Concept - B&B Hotels 0:17:02
79Arnaud Courteille (Fra) Vital Concept - B&B Hotels
80Sean Bennett (USA) Ef Education First 0:18:11
81Lachlan Morton (Aus) Ef Education First
82Francesco Romano (Ita) Bardiani Csf
83Ilnur Zakarin (Rus) Team Katusha Alpecin 0:19:04
84Artem Nych (Rus) Gazprom - Rusvelo
85Vladislav Kulikov (Rus) Gazprom - Rusvelo
OTLJaco Venter (RSA) Team Dimension Data 0:21:26
OTLGrega Bole (Slo) Bahrain - Merida
OTLLuka Pibernik (Slo) Bahrain - Merida 0:23:48
OTLSonny Colbrelli (Ita) Bahrain - Merida
OTLEnrico Battaglin (Ita) Team Katusha Alpecin
OTLMarco Canola (Ita) Nippo - Vini Fantini - Faizane'
OTLAleksandr Riabushenko (Blr) Uae Team Emirates
OTLRoberto Gonzalez (Pan) Neri Sottoli Selle Italia Ktm
OTLMark Padun (Ukr) Bahrain - Merida
OTLJoan Bou Company (Spa) Nippo - Vini Fantini - Faizane'
OTLMatteo Fabbro (Ita) Team Katusha Alpecin
OTLUmberto Orsini (Ita) Bardiani Csf
OTLFilippo Ganna (Ita) Team Ineos 0:26:50
OTLOliviero Troia (Ita) Uae Team Emirates
OTLDaniel Savini (Ita) Bardiani Csf
OTLFilippo Zaccanti (Ita) Nippo - Vini Fantini - Faizane'
OTLPavel Kochetkov (Rus) Team Katusha Alpecin
OTLIvo Oliveira (Por) Uae Team Emirates
OTLMatthew Walls (GBr) Ef Education First
OTLUmberto Marengo (Ita) Neri Sottoli Selle Italia Ktm
OTLEvgeny Kobernyak (Rus) Gazprom - Rusvelo 0:27:06
OTLMaxime Cam (Fra) Vital Concept - B&B Hotels 0:29:53
OTLRuben Dario Acosta Ospina (Col) Nippo - Vini Fantini - Faizane' 0:32:08
DNSEnrico Barbin (Ita) Bardiani Csf
DNSEdoardo Zardini (Ita) Neri Sottoli Selle Italia Ktm
DNSJuri Hollmann (Ger) Heizomat Rad - Net.De
DNFFrancois Bidard (Fra) Ag2R La Mondiale
DNFRafal Majka (Pol) Bora - Hansgrohe
DNFDavide Formolo (Ita) Bora - Hansgrohe
DNFSacha Modolo (Ita) Ef Education First
DNFRichard Carapaz (Ecu) Movistar Team
DNFNicola Bagioli (Ita) Nippo - Vini Fantini - Faizane'
DNFWarren Barguil (Fra) Team Arkea - Samsic
DNFEnrico Gasparotto (Swi) Team Dimension Data
DNFGregor Mühlberger (Aut) Bora - Hansgrohe
DNFAlejandro Osorio Carvajal (Col) Nippo - Vini Fantini - Faizane'
DNFJuraj Sagan (Svk) Bora - Hansgrohe
DNFRuben Plaza (Spa) Israel Cycling Academy
DNFMikel Landa Meana (Spa) Movistar Team
DNFElie Gesbert (Fra) Team Arkea - Samsic
DNFRomain Hardy (Fra) Team Arkea - Samsic
DNFRomain Le Roux (Fra) Team Arkea - Samsic
DNFAmael Moinard (Fra) Team Arkea - Samsic
DNFDanilo Wyss (Swi) Team Dimension Data
DNFNicolas Dalla Valle (Ita) Tirol Ktm Cycling Team

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