Egan Bernal says he doesn't need to attack on every mountain stage at the 2021 Giro d'Italia, which is true, as the Colombian simply followed Simon Yates' attack up the Monte Zoncolan on stage 14 to double his lead in the general classification and further cement his hold on the maglia rosa.
The 2019 Tour de France winner eventually left Yates behind, picking off remnants of the breakaway up to the summit, finishing fourth as Lorenzo Fortunato won the stage.
Bernal now correctly believes himself to be in a very strong position on GC and is ready for his rivals to see what they can muster and bring the race to him.
"I just tried to be calm because I think I’m in a really good position in GC and I don’t need to attack on every mountain stage," Bernal said after the finish. "I need to be calm, I need to be patient."
Simon Yates' effort saw him move up to second on GC, a minute and a half behind Bernal, but the necessary evil of moving himself up the rankings was that he was inevitably also helping Bernal strengthen his lead.
After leading the 24-year-old up the punishing gradient, Bernal attacked close to the line, dropping the Brit and taking 11 seconds.
"I tried to follow Yates and then tried to accelerate in the final, I think I did a good race," Bernal estimated.
Astana had looked ominous throughout the stage, driving the peloton up to the Zoncolan, but Aleksandr Vlasov suffered on the final climb, and fell down the GC, having started the day as Bernal's closest rival.
"They were pulling really hard during the stage," Bernal said of the Kazakh team. "I was thinking Vlasov would be good, normally it would be a good climb for him. I was surprised they were pulling hard."
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