Caruso, 33, has been the most successful of his career. In the last mountain test of the year, Giroud won after a lone finish, losing his road buddies and overtaking Bernal by 24 seconds and another Colombian from Team Ineos, Daniel Felipe Martinez by 35 seconds.

Italy consolidated into second place overall, reducing the loss to Bernal to 1.59. The third biker, Britain’s Simon Yates (BikeExchange), was behind the leader by 3.23.

Caruso joined the breakaway at the exit from San Bernardino 50 km to the finish line. The runners’ advantage over the race’s favorites group was about 40 seconds and with that margin the melt leaders started climbing seven kilometers to the finish line. French driver Romain Bardet rode the longest with the Italian. He remained 2 km behind before the finish line, and Caruso covered the last stage in the line of fans who were crazy with joy.

Throughout his 14-year career, Caruso mostly served as a midfielder for his group leaders. On Saturday, he took only his third victory, after two wins in smaller events in 2013 and 2020.

The victorious Bahrain team rider made Bernal frightened. The Colombian made no secret that it was not a comfortable situation to chase after the second contender in the general classification.

– I was afraid of failure. The conflicting feelings pulled at me. I felt I had good legs and mates to help but Caruso was ahead. When his advantage was 30-40 seconds, I was worried I might struggle. Bernal commented that it was easy to lose a minute and a half, and there was still a time trial on Sunday.

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The race will end on Sunday with a single test on a flat road from Sinago to Milan (30.3 km).

Results of the 20th stage Verbania – Alp Mota (164 km):

1. Damiano Caruso (Italy / Victor Bahrain) – 4: 27.53

2. Egan Bernal (Kolombia / Ineos Grenadiers) Layers 24 sec

3 – Daniel Felipe Martinez (Colombia / Ineos Grenadiers) 35

4. Romain Bardet (France / DSM) same time

5. Joao Almeida (Portuguese / Deconinc-Quick Step) 41

6. Simon Yates (Great Britain/BikeExchange) 51

7. Alexander Vlasov (Russia / Astana Premier Tech) 1.13

8. Hugh Carthy (UK/EF Education-Nippo) 1.29

9. Lorenzo Fortunato (Italy / EOLO-Kometa) 2.07

10. Antonio Pedrero (Hiszpania / Movistar) 2.23

126- Lukas Wijnowski (Poland / Qhubeka Assos) 37.47

Macej Bodnar (Polska / Pura – Hansgrohe) 38.21

General classification:

1. Egan Bernal (Kolombia / Ineos Grenadiers) – 85: 41.47

2. Damiano Caruso (Italy / Bahrain victor) 1.59

3. Simon Yates (Great Britain/BikeExchange) 3.23

4. Alexander Vlasov (Russia / Astana Premier Tech) 7.07

5. Romain Bardet (France / DSM) 7.48

6. Daniel Felipe Martinez (Kolombia / Ineos Grenadiers) 7.56

7. Hugh Carthy (Great Britain / EF Education-Nebo) 8.22

8. João Almeida (Portuguese / Deconinc-Quick Step) 8.50

9- Tobias Voss (Norway/Jumbo-Visma)

10. Daniel Martin (Ireland / Emerging State of Israel) 16.48

133- Okasz Wijnowski (Poland / Kubica Asos) 5: 07.52

136- Maciej Bodnar (Polska / Bora – Hansgrohe) 5:15:41

af / krys /