Bernal impresses on Willunga

20 Jan 2018

Bernal impresses on Willunga

Related riders

Share this article

Egan Bernal strengthened his grip on the Young Rider classification at the Tour Down Under with an impressive ride to fifth atop Willunga Hill.

The Colombian moved up to sixth overall, 20 seconds back on new race leader Daryl Impey (Mitchelton-Scott), after giving it his all on the queen stage.

Richie Porte (BMC) won on the famous climb for the fifth time in his career, pushing clear of the pack with a kilometre to go, and Bernal tried to go with the Australian, but nobody could match Porte on home roads.

Impey came through to grab second and the race lead by less than a second from Porte, with Bernal rolling home fifth, 10 seconds back on the stage winner.

Although not as hot as previous days the conditions were far from ideal around Willunga, with strong winds threatening to cause havoc in the peloton late on.

The bunch split on the final run to the last climb but Owain Doull was on hand to marshal Bernal into position, keeping him up front, before the group behind rallied and regained contact as the road went upwards.

Egan Bernal

Egan Bernal

On the last climb I felt good, but the other guys… They also felt good!
Speaking after the stage an upbeat Bernal said: "It was so hairy in the wind! But the team did a good job and kept me up front.

"On the last climb I felt good, but the other guys… They also felt good! But I’m happy with fifth and it’s nice to take the young rider’s jersey."

Sport Director Brett Lancaster was full of praise for the 21 year old.

He told "It’s a good result. Maybe if Egan had waited and come with the next group he may have made the top two or three, but those guys caught him on the line. If not he might have put himself on the podium - but he’s only a young fella and he’s put in a great ride. 

"All the boys have been great today supporting him, putting him in a good position, and he’s definitely one of our stars of the future."

Lancaster was quick to praise Bernal and his teammates for being in the right place at the right time too: "EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale hit the front in the crosswinds and that was a good little move by them, but we had guys at the front. Egan made that first little split with help from the boys and that worked out pretty well.

"With five riders the guys did an excellent job - full credit to everyone, staff and riders. We haven’t come out empty handed - we’re positive and Egan should take the young rider’s jersey, which is a nice little bonus going into the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race. We can go there all guns blazing."

A seven-man break had disappeared up the road from the gun on the 151km stage five but the day played out as expected, with the peloton keeping the escapees in check.

In the end the break was whittled down to King of the Mountains Nicholas Dlamini (Dimension Data) and Thomas De Gendt (Lotto Soudal). The pair led the race over Willunga Hill before being swept up ahead of the second and final ascent of the climb.

Bernal remained right in the heart of the action, continually sat in the first five wheels, but when Porte made his move nobody could match the 'King of Willunga'.
Stage five result
1. Richie Porte (BMC) 3:42:22
2. Daryl Impey (Mitchelton-Scott) +8"
3. Tom-Jelte Slagter (Dimension Data) +10"
4. Dries Devenyns (Quick-Step Floors) s.t.
5. Egan Bernal (Team Sky) s.t.

General classification
1. Daryl Impey (Mitchelton-Scott)  18:02:15
2. Richie Porte (BMC) s.t.
3. Tom-Jelte Slagter (Dimension Data) +16"
4. Diego Ulissi (UAE Team Emirates) +20"
5. Dries Devenyns (Quick-Step Floors) s.t.
6. Egan Bernal (Team Sky) s.t.

Share this article