Simon Yates (Team BikeExchange) is the man Ineos Grenadiers must watch out for if they are to help Egan Bernal keep the maglia rosa into Milan, says Eurosport expert Dan Lloyd.
Bernal showed the first signs of weakness on the final Cat. 1 climb on Stage 17 at the Giro d'Italia as teammate Daniel Martinez dropped back in support.
The Colombian arrived at the Giro with huge question marks over his fitness after being troubled by a back injury for over a season, but appeared to have put those doubts behind him with a brilliant run in Italy until Wednesday's run to Sega di Ala.
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Yates clawed back 53 seconds in the general classification battle to move within 3:23 of Bernal, with Damiano Caruso (Bahrain Victorious) sandwiched between them at 2:21.
And Lloyd believes that Ineos supremo Dave Brailsford, who had heaped praise on Bernal and his squad after their showing in the Dolomites on Monday, has a huge role to play.

'It’s difficult when you’re on great form and your teammate is suffering' - Lloyd

“We’ve heard Dave Brailsford talking about how good team morale is, how motivated everybody is. And that’s easy when you’re leading the race and not putting a foot wrong. This will be the big test,” said Lloyd.
“I think Dave could be quite key to that. He’s always good at rallying the troops. That’s a really important thing to do tonight because he’s still got a really big margin over his closest rival in the general classification.
“Caruso is there, but he’s the rider we keep saying will be quite happy to salvage second place, that would be easily the best result of his career.
Yates is the one they’ve got to watch out for. If Bernal has another day like that with the days that have multiple mountains that we’ve still got to come [the GC battle may not be over].
“Tomorrow is flat-ish until the end, but it’s still 230km. If it is an accumulation of fatigue over the course of three weeks, rather than just his back, that’s going to be another six hours in the saddle before the big mountains.”

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Lloyd added that Bernal was fortunate Martinez was on a good day, allowing him to limit his losses by hanging on his teammate’s wheel.
“It’s difficult when you’re on great form and your teammate is suffering. You obviously think ‘we can go faster than this’, but Bernal’s there thinking ‘I’m going as hard as I possibly can. Of course I don’t want to lose this much time', said Lloyd.
"So I think [it was] a good job between the two of them."

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