Team Sky did what it does best in grinding the peloton into the ground before launching Colombian youngster Egan Bernal into the Amgen Tour of California lead.
Cycling Cental

15 May 2018 - 10:28 AM  UPDATED 15 May 2018 - 11:11 AM

Bernal exploded from a reduced field with two kilometres to go and rode solo to the finish 21 seconds ahead of Rafał Majka (BORA-hansgrohe) with Adam Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) third at 25 seconds.

“We wanted to do a really hard stage,” Bernal said. “I think in the last part it was the most important part of the race and we tried to do it as hard as possible. In the final part, Seb [Henao] and Tao [Geoghegan-Hart] did a really good job.”

The stage was animated early by a three-rider break which included Ruben Companioni (Hincapie Sportswear Development Team), Adam De Vos (Rally Cycling) and Australian Jonno Clarke (United Healthcare) who rode out to a five-minute advantage on the 157km from Ventura to the top of Gibraltar Road.

The trio soaked up all the key mountain classification points with Companioni winning the first four before they were caught with 15km to go.

At the base of the climb, Sky applied the pressure and the peloton began to string out with riders peeling off one by one as the kilometres ticked by and the remains of the bunch hit the harder sections which reached 14 per cent gradients.

Ian Stanard was the first to ramp up the pace, then Lukasz Wisniowski and Luke Rowe all took turns pushing the early pace before the true climbers took control for Bernal.

“The break of three went early and Quick-Step took control, which worked for us," Bernal said. “With only three in the break the race wasn’t too hard and we wanted to make it harder for the end, so coming into the final kilometres to the climb, Stannard took control and that’s when the race really started properly as you could notice the change in pace then."

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