Egan Bernal entered the 2021 Giro d’Italia as one of the top two favorites in the overall standings alongside Simon Yates, but the Colombian was unsure how long his back injury would last.
Bernal (Ineos Grenadiers) had some issues as the race approached with his back pain which saw him abandon the Tour de France in 2020, but that doesn’t seem to be a problem at the Giro after four stages.
The Colombian speaks after the exhausting fourth stage, the first with a significant climb: “I had no pain and there was no problem. I had the legs to follow when there was an attack. I could Also try it myself. I managed to maintain my focus until the end and I achieved my goal in this difficult stage. The team also worked well.
Ineos Grenadiers entered the race with Bernal in the lead, but the team said he would co-lead alongside Russian Pavel Sivakov.
Sivakov, however, lost time in the fourth stage against Sestola and is now around 30 seconds behind Bernal and 2-08 on the pink jersey of Alessandro De Marchi (Israel Start-Up Nation), alongside his teammate, Dan Martin. .
The pre-race favorites got into the race in the final climb on Tuesday with away favorite and former Sestola winner Giulio Ciccone (Trek-Segafredo) attacking first before being caught by a block from Mikel Landa (Bahrain Victorious).
Landa said TuttobiciWeb that after his demonstration in the climbs of the fourth stage, Bernal is currently the favorite of the race.
“It’s still early days to draw conclusions, but I think Bernal is the man to beat,” Landa said. “Many considered it their favorite and after this ride I can see why.”
âI don’t know if I’m one of the big favorites myself, but the feeling was more than good in this stage. This motivates me for the mountain stage at Ascoli Piceno. ”
“It continued all day. The bad weather also made the stage very difficult,” Landa said after stage four.
âIt rained all day and it was very cold. When I looked at my rivals I saw that some were in trouble, so I tried. After the stage, I can laugh, but I couldn’t do that for the last 20 kilometers. “
Aleksandr Vlasov (Astana-Premier Tech) and Hugh Carthy (EF-Nippo) also got involved in the attack with Vlasov saying everyone was at their absolute limit.
Vlasov said: “It was a very hard and very cold day. Everyone was at the limit. On the last climb I had to give my all. I am happy that I was able to stay with the group with the riders. stronger.”