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Bernal claims 1st Giro stage win to move into overall lead

Former Tour de France champion Egan Bernal showed just why he is one of the favorites to win the Giro d’Italia as he stormed to victory Sunday on the ninth stage to also claim the leader’s pink jersey.

Bernal, who rides for Ineos Grenadiers, attacked with about 500 meters remaining on the summit finish in the first top-categorized climb of this year’s race. Bernal passed the two previous leaders to claim his first Giro stage win in the first year he has participated in the Italian race.

The 2019 Tour winner finished seven seconds ahead of Giulio Ciccone and Aleksandr Vlasov at the end of the 158-kilometer (98-mile) route from Castel di Sangro to the ski resort of Campo Felice. The stage featured three other categorized climbs as well as the final, tough ascent on gravel roads.

Cyclists pedal during the ninth stage of the Giro d'Italia cycling race, from Castel di Sangro to Campo Felice, Italy, Sunday, May 16, 2021. (Fabio FerrariLaPresse via AP)

Bernal took over the race lead from Attila Valter. The 24-year-old Colombian has a 15-second lead over Remco Evenepoel and is 21 seconds ahead of Vlasov.

The Giro finishes on May 30 in Milan with an individual time trial.

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Cyclists pedal during the ninth stage of the Giro d'Italia cycling race, from Castel di Sangro to Campo Felice, Italy, Sunday, May 16, 2021. (Fabio FerrariLaPresse via AP)

Cyclists pedal during the ninth stage of the Giro d'Italia cycling race, from Castel di Sangro to Campo Felice, Italy, Sunday, May 16, 2021. (Fabio FerrariLaPresse via AP)

Cyclists pedal during the ninth stage of the Giro d'Italia cycling race, from Castel di Sangro to Campo Felice, Italy, Sunday, May 16, 2021. (Fabio FerrariLaPresse via AP)