Egan Bernal (Team Sky) attacked on the final mountain stage of the 2018 Tour of California to wrestle the overall lead from Tejay van Garderen (BMC) with one stage to go.
The Colombian now leads the GC by 1-25 over the American, and simply needs to get through Sunday’s sprint stage in Sacramento to be confirmed winner of the race.
Having lost the leader’s jersey after the time trial on stage four, Team Sky remained in a strong position to put pressure on van Garderen, with both Bernal and Tao Geoghegan Hart remaining close enough to worry BMC if either were to attack.
And so it proved, as after a fairly content start that allowed nine riders get in the early break with five minutes, the race exploded into life on the final category one climb to Daggett Summit.
The 13km long climb topped out with just 8km to go on the stage, and it was Team Sky who made their move with just over 10km to go.
First, Geoghegan Hart attacked to force van Garderen to chase, but as he was caught Bernal made his move and there was nothing the race leader was able to prevent him from getting up the road.
From there, Bernal was able to navigate the long descent and had over a minute’s advantage on the van Garderen group as he climbed the final 1.7km ascent to the finish line.
Behind, Adam Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) made a late attack to try and distance Daniel Martinez (EF Education-Drapac), but wasn’t able to do enough to move up in the overall classification. Geoghegan Hart also made a late move, finishing in third behind second place Yates.
Van Garderen eventually crossed the line 1-38 down on Bernal, moving to a 1-25 deficit overall with just the final stage remaining.
Tour of California 2018, stage six: Folsom – South Lake Tahoe (196.5k)
1 Egan Bernal (Col) Team Sky, 5-30-58
2 Adam Yates (GBr) Mitchelton-Scott, at 1-28
3 Tao Geoghegan Hart (GBr) Team Sky, at 1-30
4 Brandon McNulty (USA) Rally Cycling, at 1-33
5 Jai Hindley (Aus) Team Sunweb, at 1-38
6 Mathias Frank (Sui) AG2R La Mondiale
7 Tejay van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing Team, all same time
8 Rafal Majka (Pol) Bora-Hansgrohe, at 1-45
9 Edward Ravasi (Ita) UAE Team Emirates, at 1-46
10 Daniel Martinez (Col) EF Education First-Drapac, at 1-50
Overall classification after stage six
1 Egan Bernal (Col) Team Sky, 22-26-40
2 Tejay van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing Team, at 1-25
3 Daniel Martinez (Col) EF Education First-Drapac, at 2-14
4 Adam Yates (GBr) Mitchelton-Scott, at 2-16
5 Tao Geoghegan Hart (GBr) Team Sky, at 2-28
6 Rafal Majka (Pol) Bora-Hansgrohe, at 3-01
7 Brandon McNulty (USA) Rally Cycling, at 3-28
8 Laurens De Plus (Bel) Quick-Step Floors, at 3-50
9 Kristijan Durasek (Cro) UAE Team Emirates, at 3-59
10 Mathias Frank (Sui) AG2R La Mondiale, at 4-01