Yates finds his legs while Evenepoel struggles on Giro stage 14

While Bernal continuing to steal seconds, Yates finds his legs are coming around while Evenepoel struggles to remain with the leaders.

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On the slopes of the mighty Zoncolan, the general classification of the Giro d’Italia saw minor but not insignificant movement. Egan Bernal continued to prove the strongest of the pink jersey contenders, while Simon Yates looked to find his legs. On the flipside, Remco Evenepoel showed signs of cracking in the final kilometres of the climb.

Simon Yates attacked on the steepest slopes of the Zoncolan with only Bernal for company. The efforts allowed Yates to jump ahead of Damiano Caruso and Aleksandr Vlasov in the general classification. With a week remaining in the Giro d’Italia Yates has to find 1’34” to be ahead of Bernal on time.

“Bernal again showed he’s the man to beat,” Yates said at the finish. “It’s going to be difficult to beat him but, hey, we’ll keep trying.”

A favourite ahead of the Giro, Yates lost most of his time in the first week of the race. On stage 6 when Bernal and Evenepoel moved into the top three overall Yates lost 17 seconds. When Bernal took the pink jersey on stage 9 Yates finished 55 seconds later.

As the Giro approaches its final week, it looks like the form might be coming around for the Brit. “I won’t go into detail but it wasn’t the best of the first weeks, and now I’m feeling much better so onwards and upwards,” Yates said.

Still, Bernal slipped away from Yates in the final couple hundred meters to claim another handful of seconds in the GC battle.

“I just tried to be calm because I think I am in a really good position now in the GC I don’t need to attack in every mountain stage I need to be calm, I need to be patient,” Bernal said of the stage. “I just followed Yates and then I tried to do an acceleration in the final and I think I did a good race.”

Despite over a minute advantage with a week left, Bernal isn’t about to start celebrating. “It’s a good gap but I need to be focused because [anything can] happen in the Giro, so it looks like one 30 is enough time but you never know.” said Bernal.

Another of the pre-race favourites, Evenepoel struggled on the slopes of the Zoncolan. The young talent lost two and a half minutes to Bernal on the stage, finishing 19th just behind his teammate João Almeida. Ahead of stage 14, Evenepoel sits eighth in the general classification. He dropped only one place from when the stage started, but while Yates was finding his legs, Evenepoel was losing contact with his competitors.

An exciting week awaits in the Giro d’Italia. Stages 16, 17, 19, and 20 feature more mountains, and more opportunities for Yates to make moves on Bernal. With his head squarely on his shoulders, Bernal looks unbeatable, but he said it himself, there’s no telling what can happen at the Giro d’Italia.

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