South Lake Tahoe, CA – 18 May 2018 – With Katie Hall (UnitedHealthCare Pro Cycling) placing her stamp on the Amgen Tour of California Women’s Race Empowered With SRAM an hour earlier, Egan Bernal, Team Sky’s 21-year-old Colombian rider, made a similar statement, leaving many to wonder if they were witnessing the opening crescendo to an eventual Grand Tour champion.
Though Bernal would cede the King of the Mountains lead to Toms Skujins (Trek-Segafredo) on today’s mountainous stage, the Colombian regained the overall Amgen Tour of California race lead with a daring solo uphill finish that pulled him +1.25” ahead of Tejay van Garderen (BMC Racing Team), who now sits second overall going into tomorrow’s Sacramento race finale, and countryman Daniel Martinez (Team EF Education First-Drapac presented by Cannondale).
Presented by Visit California, Stage 6 was a 122.1-mile trek from Folsom to South Lake Tahoe with seven categorized climbs that began in short order after the riders departed. Bernal, who won Monday’s mountainous Stage 2 atop Gibraltar Road, attacked on today’s penultimate Daggett Summit climb and continued to put time on overall race leader van Garderen, who had ousted Bernal at Wednesday’s time trial.
“Today was a long day, but I felt so good, and the last long climb the team did a really good job,” said Bernal. “They made a really hard pace….After this climb we were like 10km to ride, so I just kept pushing hard, but I’m happy with the result and I’m happy for the team.”
Bernal had nurtured his solo lead to 1.5 minutes on the chase group with 1km to go to the uphill finish line at Heavenly Mountain Resort. Most of the top-10 GC riders were off the front of the main group on the descent before the final climb, including ’s Adam Yates (GMichelton-SCOTT), Tao Geoghegan Hart (Team Sky) and Brandon McNulty (Rally Cycling), who took second, third and fourth for the stage respectively, as well as Daniel Martinez (Team EF Education First-Drapac presented by Cannondale), who successfully retained third place in the overall standings. van Garderen placed seventh for the stage.
Bernal also won the TAG Heuer Best Young Rider Jersey for the fifth day. The Breakaway from Cancer® Most Courageous Rider Jersey went to ’s Lawson Craddock (Team EF Education First-Drapac presented by Cannondale).
Results – Stage 6 – Folsom to South Lake Tahoe (122.1-mile)
1. Egan Bernal (Team Sky) 5h30’58”
2. Adam Yates (Mitchelton-SCOTT) +1’28”
3. Tao Geoghegan Hart (Team Sky) +1’30”
Jersey Leaders After Stage 6
Amgen Race Leader Jersey – Egan Bernal (Team Sky)
Lexus King of the Mountain (KOM) Jersey – Toms Skujins (Trek-Segafredo)
Visit California Sprint Jersey – Egan Bernal (Team Sky)
TAG Heuer Best Young Rider Jersey – Egan Bernal (Team Sky)
Breakaway from Cancer® Most Courageous Rider Jersey – Lawson Craddock (Team EF Education First-Drapac presented by Cannondale)
Photos: Leonard Basobas/LB Photos