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Vuelta a Espana

Vuelta a España: Egan Bernal wants to ’empty the tank’ on final mountain stages

Egan Bernal wants to go big in the final mountain stages of the Vuelta a España, but he says that taking a big amount of time on Primož Roglič will be difficult.

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Egan Bernal is ready to lay it all on the road in the Vuelta a España’s final two mountain stages.

Bernal goes into the two tough Asturian tests some 4:21 behind the race leader Odd Eiking and 2:45 behind the pre-race favorite Primož Roglič after a slightly disappointing Vuelta so far.

The Ineos Grenadiers rider has a lot to gain and little to lose, and he’d love to light things up with a big attack as the race nears its conclusion. It all depends on how he feels when the peloton rides into the mountains Wednesday and Thursday.

Also read: Egan Bernal on looming showdown with Tadej Pogačar: ‘It will be something special’

“I would like to move from far,” he told reporters after stage 16. “That should be something nice to do and it would be nice to go there and empty the tank. It is what I would like to do but to do that is easy to say now but when you are in the climb and they are riding full gas then maybe it’s not so easy.

“I came out of the rest day feeling good, and today was a good day to open up the legs ahead of tomorrow. We’ll see how we can do on the climb up to the Lagos. It’s going to be an aggressive climb. Everyone’s talking about Roglič, but anyone who wants to be on the podium needs to move, so I think it’s going to be interesting. We’ll see what we can do as a team.

“I think for the team it will be important to have two guys in the top 10. I think anything can happen, with one good day you can do something interesting.”

The Vuelta’s final mountain journey will begin with a ride to the iconic Lagos de Covadonga. The especial climb comes after three other classified ascents, including two first-category. Bernal is expecting fireworks and he believes that those chasing in the GC will need to use all the road they have remaining to overhaul the differences.

“I think it could change a lot actually,” Bernal said of the Lagos de Covadonga stage. “It all depends on how you do the climbs because we can see that there are three big climbs but then if you wait and wait, then it is some kilometers of climbing less. If you want to do something tomorrow is the day. It should be something crazy.”

Also read: Egan Bernal on Vuelta a España time losses: ‘That’s cycling; attacking and then exploding’

Ineos Grenadiers also has Adam Yates sitting in the top 10 just 13 seconds behind his teammate Bernal. However, the team has been depleted in recent days with Richard Carapaz and Jonathan Narváez both pulling out of the race over the weekend.

Bernal says he and Yates won’t be going into the mountain stages with the mindset of taking a chunk of time on Roglič, but they will utilize their strength in numbers.

“I’m not planning that, it would be really difficult to take three minutes on Roglič. I just want to enjoy it. If I have the legs I will try to move, just to enjoy the race. But first I need to have the legs. We will see tomorrow how the legs are, how the feelings are, and how Adam is feeling, and then we need to see if we move or not.

“It depends on how the situation is but if there are some big movements in the climbs then maybe it can be something good [to have two GC riders]. I’m not saying we will go and take three minutes but if we are there with two then we can play the two cards.”