Egan Bernal laid down an early indicator of his form heading into the revamped 2020 season with victory on stage three of La Route d’Occitanie 2020.
The Colombian finished 10 seconds ahead of Ineos team-mate Pavel Sivakov, having tackled both the Port de Balès and Col de Peyresourde before a summit finish on the Col de Beyrède.
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Astana’s Aleksandr Vlasov then finished third, 17 seconds back, while Groupama FDJ’s Thibaut Pinot came fourth, 31 seconds down.
Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo) rounded out the top five, finishing a minute back, just ahead of French champion Warren Barguil (Arkéa-Samsic). Then came Mollema’s team-mate Richie Porte, followed by Romain Bardet in eighth place.
Chris Froome finished in 34th, more than five minutes down on Bernal’s time in what is only his eighth race back since the 2019 Critérium du Dauphiné.
Bernal takes a 14-second GC lead over Sivakov into the final stage four, with Vlasov 23 seconds back and Pinot 41 seconds down.
La Route d’Occitanie, stage three: Saint-Gaudens to Col de Beyrède (163.5km)
1. Egan Bernal (Col) Ineos, in 4-36-44
2. Pavel Sivakov (Rus) Ineos, at 10 seconds
3. Aleksandr Vlasov (Rus) Astana, at 17s
4. Thibaut Pinot (Fra) Groupama-FDJ, at 31s
5. Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek-Segafredo, at 1-05
6. Warren Barguil (Fra) Arkéa-Samsic, at 1-09
7. Richie Porte (Aus) Trek-Segafredo, at 1-11
8. Romain Bardet (Fra) Ag2r La Mondiale, at 1-18
9. Rafael Valls (Esp) Bahrain-McLaren, at 1-39
10. Sébastien Reichenbach (Sui) Groupama-FDJ, at same time
32. Chris Froome (GBr) Ineos, at 5-05