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However, on the penultimate stage eight time trial Bernal’s hopes of victory were nearly dashed, as the Colombian went into a corner to hot and nearly lost control of his bike, his back wheel kicking out as Bernal just about managed to stay upright.
At the start of the day, Bernal had led world time trial champion Rohan Dennis by 41 seconds in the overall classification, with the Australian looking to take as much time as possible before tomorrow’s final mountain stage.
At the first checkpoint, Dennis trailed eventual stage winner Yves Lampaert by 12 seconds. More surprisingly, Bernal was only 31 seconds down on Lampaert and therefore only 19 seconds slower than Dennis.
By the time the finish line came into view for Dennis, he had lost a further seven seconds to Lampaert, the Australian eventually finishing in sixth place.
A few moments later the Colombian followed, Bernal finished in eleventh place and 38 seconds down on the Belgian’s now-confirmed best time of the day.
Importantly, Bernal was only 19 seconds slower than Dennis, meaning he takes a 22-second buffer into tomorrow’s final stage where the race once again heads uphill, more comfortable territory for the Ineos rider.
Bernal is at the Tour de Suisse looking to build form ahead of the Tour de France, which sets off from Brussels on July 6. His impressive performances in Switzerland will provide much needed encouragement to an Ineos team that has suffered major setbacks over the past couple of weeks.
This was followed by Geraint Thomas crashing out of the Tour de Suisse on stage four. The Welshman thankfully seems to be okay, resuming training this week.
Thomas and Bernal are now the two favourites to be in the yellow jersey when the peloton hits the cobbles of the Champs-Élysées come the end of July. Today’s near-miss for the Colombian may prove significant when that time comes.