SEGA DI ALA, Italy (AP) — Irish cyclist Daniel Martin won the 17th stage of the Giro d’Italia on Wednesday to complete a set of Grand Tour victories, while Egan Bernal had three seconds shaved off his overall lead and saw one of his main rivals gain significant time after a disappointing day in the high mountains.
Martin, who rides for Israel Start-Up Nation, attacked from a breakaway at the start of a tough climb to the summit finish and rode solo to victory to add to his two stage wins in both the Tour de France and the Spanish Vuelta.
“That’s what I came here for and I knew that today was one of my last opportunities,” the 34-year-old Martin said. “With the extra time I lost the day before the rest day, I knew it was possible I go in the breakaway.”
João Almeida was second, 13 seconds behind Martin at the end of the 193-kilometer (120-mile) route from Canazei to Sega di Ala that also featured two other categorized climbs.
Simon Yates crossed the line in third, 30 seconds behind Martin, to move up from fifth into third place overall, 3 minutes, 23 seconds behind Bernal.
Bernal, who rides for Ineos Grenadiers, was dropped from the group of his main rivals shortly before the end of the climb and crossed in seventh.
The 2019 Tour champion saw his lead cut slightly to 2:21 ahead of Damiano Caruso.
“Today was not my best day but I didn’t lose much time, just a few seconds from Caruso,” Bernal said. “In the end, it’s another day out, now let’s think about tomorrow.”
Thursday’s 18th stage is the Giro’s longest leg. The 231-kilometer (144-mile) route from Rovereto to Stradella is mainly flat but there are a series of short climbs through the rolling Pavia winelands to the finish.
The Giro finishes on Sunday in Milan with an individual time trial.
“I have some advantage with Yates, so I need to … just to arrive with some time to Milan,” Bernal said. “And then if I win the Giro with one second or two minutes for me it will be the same.”
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