Ineos Grenadiers supremo Dave Brailsford said his team were reaping the rewards from a more aggressive philosophy.
Egan Bernal leads the way in the general classification at the Giro d’Italia, extending his advantage to 45 seconds after a brilliant team display on the white gravel roads in Tuscany on Stage 11.
Ineos have previously faced criticism for locking down Grand Tours once they get ahead, but they showcased a new attacking verve in 2020 as Tao Geoghegan Hart swooped to a shock win at the Giro in October.
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Barely half a season later and Ineos look set to repeat the trick, with Bernal profiting from some fine teamwork to gain more time on Wednesday’s run to Montalcino.
Filippo Ganna made a trademark burst as the race hit the ‘strade bianche’, the first of four dusty gravel sections, single-handedly blowing a 30-second hole between Bernal and a second group of GC contenders.
Although most of the main favourites re-joined, Ineos continued setting a fierce tempo which eventually led to Remco Evenepoel (Deceuninck–Quick-Step) – the closest rider to Bernal prior to the stage – dropping off the pace.
Bernal finished the job with a charge up the final climb to take 11th on the day, finishing ahead of all his main rivals as he reaffirmed his status as the favourite to wear the maglia rosa through the final time trial in Milan.

‘One for the ages’ – Bernal stars to strengthen grip on maglia rosa

And Brailsford said that the Ineos cast are enjoying themselves now the shackles have been taken off.
“We’ve changed our philosophy a little bit. Rather than ride defensively, we’re trying to ride off the front now,” he said.
“We’ve got the guys to do it. They enjoy it, they enjoy racing. When you give them a bit of freedom and a bit more opportunity, they’ve got this joy of racing and they get excitement from it.
“That’s what they want to do. They’re loving it, laughing and joking and having fun, but I do think we’ve changed.
“We’ve been more aggressive, we’re racing off the front, and it’s enjoyable and we’re having fun.
We’re racing much more openly now and we’re seeing the benefits of it.

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Bernal’s closest challenger in GC is Aleksandr Vlasov (Astana-Premier Tech), with Evenepoel now in seventh over two minutes off the pace.
“He’s showing why everyone was getting so excited about him a couple of years ago,” Brailsford said on the Colombian.
“Obviously [he] went on and won the Tour and he had a little bit of difficult time after that but he’s come back.
It just shows when you have that much class as a rider, you might have your ups and downs, but you never lose it and he’s shown once again just how good he is.
“But he’s worked really, really hard and he’s sacrificed a lot over the last 12 months in particular. Since the Tour last year, he has put the hard yards in. He deserves this.
“His performance as always is built on the team and the team has been fantastic, they really have.
“Right from the first section, the goal was Ganna goes into that first section and just puts the hammer down. And he did it beautifully.
“And then the rest of the guys built the performance on top of that… and then Egan finished it off capably.”

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