Egan Bernal tore the peloton apart on his way to victory in Gran Piemonte 2019, after an utterly dominant performance by Team Ineos which saw them claim first and second.
The British WorldTour team controlled the race for the entire final and set an unmatchable pace on the last climb, which set up Bernal for a rip-roaring attack 1.8km from the summit finish.
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After Bernal’s team-mate and fellow Colombian Ivan Sosa emptied himself in service of the Tour de France winner, Bernal rode away from a select group including Dan Martin (UAE Team Emirates) to take victory.
Sosa recovered after his efforts and pulled himself past rivals to take second, while Nans Peters (Ag2r La Mondiale) took third.
How it happened
After transitioning from a race for the Classics specialists into a sprinter’s race in recent years, the 2019 edition of Gran Piemonte underwent another transformation, with the route designed for the lightest climbers.
Covering 183km from Agliè to Santuario di Oropa in the north of Italy, not far from the Swiss border, the peloton faced a flat and fast opening 140k before the decisive final.
Riders first hit the twin peaks of the Banchette and Nelva climbs, before a 10km descent leading to the last climb, where the winner would be decided.
The final ascent was Santuario di Oropa, a 10.6km-long rise at an average of 6.6 per cent.
An early breakaway formed in the opening 20km, consisting of Enrico Battaglin (Katusha-Alpecin), Carlos Barbero (Movistar) Stéphane Rossetto (Cofidis), Elie Gesbert (Arkéa-Samsic), Francesco Romano (Bardiani-CSF) and Mattia Bais (Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec).
That group pulled out five-minute advantage before the peloton began to slowly reel them, the gap falling to 90 seconds with 50km to race.
On the Nelva climb, only Rossetto was left out front after an attack, but he was caught as the peloton descended the other side, with Ineos grasping a control of the race that they would not relinquish before the finish.
Heading onto the final climb, the red and black jerseys of Ineos made their presence felt, massing at the front and leading with a bruising pace that whittled the peloton down.
After monster efforts from Salvatore Puccio and Diego Rosa, it was Ivan Sosa who was left to lead the charge up the climb with Egan Bernal on his wheel.
Sosa’s indomitable performance reduced the contenders until only six riders were left, including Emanuel Buchmann (Bora-Hansgrohe), Dan Martin, and Nans Peters.
With 2km to race, Sosa jumped out of the saddle and fired up his legs for one last push, which left everyone except Bernal trailing.
Bernal then launched himself past Sosa, capitalising on the weakening of his rivals, riding well clear and pulling out a 20 seconds advantage.
Buchmann pursued but collapsed in the final metres as Sosa rode past him to take second and secure an Ineos one-two.
Peters also passed Buchmann to secure the final podium spot.
Gran Piemonte 2019, Agliè to Santuario di Oropa (183km)
1.Egan Bernal (Col) Team Ineos, in 4-24-16
2. Ivan Sosa (Col) Team Ineos, at 6s
3. Nans Peters (Fra) Ag2r La Mondiale, at 8s
4. Emanuel Buchmann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe, at 10s
5. Dan Martin (Irl) UAE Team Emirates, at 11s
6. Mathias Frank (Sui) Ag2r La Mondiale, at 40s
7. Davide Villela (Ita) Astana, at 46s
8. Giovanni Visconti (Ita) Neri Sottoli-Selle Italia-KTM, at 47s
9. Clément Champoussin (Fra) Ag2r La Mondiale, at same time
10. Carlos Verona (Esp) Movistar, at 49s