Race: Tour of California stage 2 (WorldTour)
Date: May 14, 2018
Weather: Sunny and warm
Winner’s quote: “I’m so happy today because the team did a really good job,” Bernal said in the post-stage press conference. “They gave me confidence during this stage, and in the final part of the stage they were so strong. Tao [Geoghegan Hart] did a good job in the final part. He just attacked it and all the guys were full gas. I arrived alone but it was for the team.”
Critical point: BMC Racing set a fast pace at the bottom of the climb that shed most of the sprinters and domestiques. But it was the attack from Team Sky’s Geoghegan Hart that started dropping some of the pre-race favourites as the 23-year-old Briton whittled the lead group down to a handful. Bernal took over from there.
“Tao was really impressive,” Bernal said. “He’s my friend, and he’s so strong. You all saw what he did on the climb. All the guys at the front were having to go full gas because he was so strong. I’m happy because he did a good job, and also because he finished in 12th position. I think he can be one of the best riders in the future.”
Final kilometre: After a long pull at the front from teammate Geoghegan Hart, Bernal rode alone. He checked his power meter and had plenty of time to point to his jersey for a few seconds approaching the line. One kilometre earlier, the stage winner’s attack was sudden and convincing. Bernal’s 21-second margin meant the rest were racing was for second and third, with Majka finishing four seconds in front of Yates.
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