Egan Bernal will look to minimise time losses to Primož Roglič and other GC rivals until the third week of the Tour de France, where he will launch his assault on the yellow jersey to defend his title.
“It was a really fast climb, really short and pointy in the final. It was also a good climb to see how the GC riders are, I’m really happy to arrive with them because it was really hard,” said Bernal after finishing seventh on stage four at the same time as stage winner Primož Roglič (Jumbo-Visma). The Slovenian took 10 bonus seconds after crossing the line first and moved up to third in GC.
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“It’s not good when another GC rider takes some seconds but I think we need to be really patient,” Bernal added.
The Colombian lacked the fast finish of Roglič, so couldn’t immediately follow the wheels of the Slovenian champion as well as Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates) and Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck – Quick-Step) who set off in pursuit.
His Ineos team-mate Richard Carapaz lost 28 seconds, the Ecuadorian a surprise late addition to the British team’s roster after it was decided the off-form Geraint Thomas would ride the Giro d’Italia instead of the defending champion.
For Bernal, he says he will try and limit his losses as best as possible over the opening two weeks, currently 10 seconds behind Roglič, and then will strike in the third on the long climbs that will suit him better than the shorter ascents.
“We know that our best scenario is to ride to the third week without losing too much time and then take a bit of time in the long climbs,” Bernal explained. “For us, we will try and minimise the time losses in these stages and arrive as fresh as we can in the last week.”