Bernal ‘ready for anything’ as bad weather looms on the queen stage of the Giro d’Italia

Giro d’Italia leader Egan Bernal (Ineos Grenadiers) said he was as prepared as possible for what promises to be a spectacularly tough mountain racing day on Monday when the peloton faces both conditions brutally difficult weather and the most difficult climbing of the race. step, all at once.

Bernal currently leads the Giro by 1:33 over his closest rival Simon Yates (Team Bike Exchange), and has been the strongest GC rider on all mountain stages to date.

However, Monday’s stage includes four categorized climbs: Crosetta, Fedaia, Pordoi and Giau – plus it’s the second longest stage of the race with 212 kilometers. In addition, there is a forecast for the most difficult weather conditions in the Giro to date. All in all, that would give food for thought, even to the most seasoned Grand Tour specialists.

And such is the likely importance of Stage 16 that even after a busy Sunday with rainy weather, technical climbs and a huge crash at the start, none of the questions Bernal asked in his post-stage press conference had no other objective than the imminent crossing. the Dolomites. It was such a detailed interrogation that he was even asked if he would wear gloves.

“It’s a very decisive step so you have to be prepared for sure, they say it’s going to be really cold,” Bernal told reporters. “I will definitely wear gloves, all the clothes I need. We need to be prepared, eat well, rest well and be ready.

Bernal dismissed the idea that since he had shown his superiority on the climbs, he should be more concerned with the technical, possibly rain-soaked, descents of Monday’s climb. Echoing Ajax’s big team’s’ total football ‘approach in the 1970s, the Colombian said:’ You have to be mindful of everything.

“I didn’t come to this Giro thinking about climbs, the time trial or descents in particular. We are here to win the Giro and everything counts. “

Whether or not the sub-zero temperatures forecast for the upper reaches of the mountains actually materialize, Bernal argued he would “need a cool head on Monday.”

“Of course it’s a very difficult stage, and it will be important to have teammates with me. On such a long day, you don’t want to end up being isolated, ”he reflected.

Bernal admitted that having held the lead in the Giro for a week, including Tuesday’s rest day, his team used a lot of energy to keep the race under control.

“[Salvatore] Puccio was working really hard days like today so he’s more tired than usual and Pippo [Filippo Ganna] is also working a lot on these steps, ”he said.

“But we knew this jersey was important, we are here to win the Giro and we have the right mentality and a lot of confidence. So we’ll do our best.

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