Bernal secures victory in California

19 May 2018

Bernal secures victory in California

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Egan Bernal finished safely on stage seven in Sacramento to put the finishing touches to a superb winning performance at the Tour of California.

The young Colombian star was well protected by his Team Sky team-mates across the 143-kilometre test and crossed the line to make sure of victory.
 
The foundations for Bernal’s one minute and 25 second victory were laid by two superb mountain stage victories on days two and six respectively. By default Bernal also picked up the jersey for best young rider in his first WorldTour stage race success.
 
Tao Geoghegan Hart added to a strong team outing with fifth place overall, 2:28 back on Bernal after playing such an instrumental part in his victory.
 
Team Sky put together an incredible team ride to win the race overall for a second time. Sebastian Henao and Pavel Sivakov rode hard on the climbs, as did Ian Stannard and Luke Rowe, who also utilised their experience and power on the flat. Lukasz Wisniowski was also key across the race before a crash on Thursday forced him out of the event.
 
The final day saw a sprint finish with Fernando Gaviria (Quick-Step Floors) edged out a narrow victory. Team Sky rode hard to string out the bunch and make sure Bernal finished safely, making it to the three-kilometre mark and ultimately the finish to become the youngest ever winner of the race.
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After the race Sport Director Oli Cookson was full of praise for the team and the unity shown across the week.

He told TeamSky.com: "Firstly congratulations to Egan. The way he's ridden here was calm and collected, with a wise head on young shoulders - fair play to him. But then if you look at the way we did it, from the tactics, the work behind the scenes with all the staff and extra feeds, and then some really key rides from a young British rider who has really developed in Tao. That's really important for us and we've all looked at what he's done over the last couple of days. Of course he lost that time that would have put him most likely on the podium. So that was impressive. Another guy is Luke Rowe yesterday, not just to single those two guys out, but Luke up at altitude, pulling that climb half way through the stage and down the long descent, 45km, and then into the valley.

"The way we rode as a team was impressive with the way the guys stuck to the goals and plans. But also they showed that flexibility out on the road and the ability to think on their feet, or on the pedals so to speak. Credit to everyone and their professionalism."

With such a young core to the team making the win all the more impressive, Cookson added: "The future's bright. That's one thing we've always looked at since day one is actually bringing talent on. We've obviously seen Egan for the last few years and it's a pleasure to see him get this big result in his first year with the team. We've also seen other riders who we've helped develop over the years perform and be part of the victory."

Overall standings:

1. Egan Bernal (Team Sky) 25:34:19
2. Tejay Van Garderen (BMC Racing) +1:25"
3. Daniel Martinez (EF Education First-Drapac) +2:14"
4. Adam Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) +2:16"
5. Tao Geoghegan Hart (Team Sky) +2:28"

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