Egan Bernal says he wanted to take "revenge" on himself with a long-range attack on the 17th stage of the Vuelta a España 2021 after a poor first two weeks.
Bernal (Ineos Grenadiers) went on the attack on the first major mountain stage of the final week of racing in Spain as he has found some solid form again on the queen stage of the race.
Speaking after the finish, Bernal said the stage in Asturias was the first he'd felt the strength to move against his rivals following an opening two weeks of hard-graft to stay in the overall contention.
"My idea today was to enjoy myself," Bernal said, "and I was enjoying every kilometre, even if it was hard. I don’t like to just stay on the wheels, you often have to, but this is real cycling.
"I’ve been suffering a lot during this Vuelta and finally I had good legs. This is a revenge against myself."
Bernal pushed on with Roglič with about 61km to go on the penultimate climb with the Slovenian working with Bernal on the valley bottom before the final climb.
The pace was high between the two to hold on ahead of the chasing group with Roglič kicking on and dropping Bernal on the climb before he went on to win by 1-35. Bernal faded and was eventually caught by the chasers in the final kilometre. He now sits in sixth place overall, 4-29 down on race leader Roglič.
"I’m happy to be part of this victory for Roglič because he was brave," Bernal added. "He was leading the race and he went with me, and he was taking turns on the flat. He was the strongest today and I’m happy for him.
"Tomorrow, we’ll see, because I went deep today. We’ll see how we recover and how Yates is, because I also think he’s strong. And if we have legs, why not go again"
Stage 18 is another major mountain stage with the final climb being a monstrous ascent of the Altu d'El Gamoniteiru with multiple climbs on the menu for the riders as the brutal final week gets going.
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