Tour of California: Bernal wins on steep slopes of Gibraltar Road

Colombian Egan Bernal (Team Sky) claimed a solo victory on stage 2 of the Tour of California with a definitive attack in the final two kilometres, and with it assumed the race lead. Rafal Majka (Bora-Hansgrohe) was second on the stage, with Adam Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) third.

Bernal, 21, emerged from the final group of 13 and powered to a 21-second margin over Majka, who was second overall in the race last year, and a 25-second cushion over Yates. With his stage win – the second straight win by a Colombian rider following Fernando Gaviria’s victory on Sunday’s opening stage – Bernal leads the week-long event by 25 seconds over Majka and 31 seconds over Yates.

“In the final two kilometres I attacked and I arrived alone,” said Bernal, who collected his fourth win this season and the seventh of his young career. “I’m so happy because the team did a really good job, and I’m so happy to be in this race.”

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Bernal, the current Colombian national time trial champion, whose early season wins include a stage of the Tour de Romandie, is in a unique position at the top of the field. In addition to the leader’s jersey, Bernal holds the best climber, best young rider and points jerseys.

“Before the stage, we talked about it,” said Bernal. “We wanted to make it a really hard stage. The last climb was the most important part of the race. Tao (Geoghegan Hart) did a really good job, so I knew I had to take control of the race.”

Team Sky often controlled the race, particularly on the final 12km climb and on the eight per cent average gradient to the Gibraltar Road finish. Geoghegan Hart, jersey unzipped, controlled much of the closing kilometres at the front at a high cadence, and pulled his team leader into an ideal position.

How it unfolded

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