Egan Bernal: If I win the Giro d'Italia with one second or two minutes for me it would be the same

The pink jersey lost contact with Simon Yates and João Almeida on the steepest part of the final climb and lost about a minute

Dani Martínez tries to motivate Egan Bernal on stage 17 of the Giro d'Italia 2021
(Image credit: Luca Bettini/Getty Images)

Egan Bernal says he is happy that he didn't lose too much time to Simon Yates in the closing kilometres of stage 17 at the Giro d'Italia 2021 after showing his first signs of weakness.

Bernal (Ineos Grenadiers) has looked untouchable throughout this race in inclement weather with Yates (BikeExchange) looking in poor form when the weather was bad. But stage 17 saw bright sunshine all day.

Speaking after the race, Bernal said: “Today was a tough day for me for sure. The last kilometres were really steep, I tried to follow Yates but today he was stronger than me. Then I just tried to follow Caruso who is the closest in the GC. I don’t want to take any risk. Today Yates was impressive, but I just did my best.

>>> Egan Bernal shows first sign of weakness at Giro d'Italia 2021 as Dan Martin solos to stage 17 win

“I’m happy because I didn’t lose too much time with Yates on today's stage. Today was perfect for him and then with Caruso, I lost just a few metres so, just a bad day where I lost almost nothing to second on GC and I have some advantage with Yates. If I win the Giro with one second or two minutes for me it would be the same.”

Yates attacked to bridge up to João Almeida (Deceuninck - Quick-Step) who had already gone on the offensive. This dragged Bernal and main domestique Dani Martínez with him.

Yates and Bernal continued to share blows with Yates using the steepest gradient to really turn the screw dropping everyone. Almeida did make it back to the Brit on shallower slopes.

Before then, other riders in the top-10 battle had gone out of the back with Hugh Carthy (EF Education-Nippo), Romain Bardet (DSM), Giulio Ciccone (Trek-Segafredo), Aleksandr Vlasov (Astana-Premier Tech) and Tobias Foss (Jumbo-Visma) all losing touch.

Martínez was very keen to encourage his fellow Colombian Bernal to pick up the pace but the leader of the race seemed unable to do so. 

The Giro d'Italia is no stranger to drama in the final week of the race with almost all of the last editions seeing the lead of the race changed in the last few stages. Most dramatically so when Chris Froome (then Team Sky) distanced Yates and everyone else to win the stage and the race on stage 19 in 2018.

Yates will perhaps be looking for revenge against Sky, now Ineos Grenadiers, as he looks to come back from a similar distance.

But it will have to wait a day as stage 18 of the race looks to be one for the sprinters or a breakaway as the longest stage of the entire race, 231km from Rovereto to Stradella.

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Tim Bonville-Ginn

Hi, I'm one of Cycling Weekly's content writers for the web team responsible for writing stories on racing, tech, updating evergreen pages as well as the weekly email newsletter. Proud Yorkshireman from the UK's answer to Flanders, Calderdale, go check out the cobbled climbs!

I started watching cycling back in 2010, before all the hype around London 2012 and Bradley Wiggins at the Tour de France. In fact, it was Alberto Contador and Andy Schleck's battle in the fog up the Tourmalet on stage 17 of the Tour de France.

It took me a few more years to get into the journalism side of things, but I had a good idea I wanted to get into cycling journalism by the end of year nine at school and started doing voluntary work soon after. This got me a chance to go to the London Six Days, Tour de Yorkshire and the Tour of Britain to name a few before eventually joining Eurosport's online team while I was at uni, where I studied journalism. Eurosport gave me the opportunity to work at the world championships in Harrogate back in the awful weather.

After various bar jobs, I managed to get my way into Cycling Weekly in late February of 2020 where I mostly write about racing and everything around that as it's what I specialise in but don't be surprised to see my name on other news stories.

When not writing stories for the site, I don't really switch off my cycling side as I watch every race that is televised as well as being a rider myself and a regular user of the game Pro Cycling Manager. Maybe too regular.

My bike is a well used Specialized Tarmac SL4 when out on my local roads back in West Yorkshire as well as in northern Hampshire with the hills and mountains being my preferred terrain.