Egan Bernal survived a battle of nerves on Saturday to emerge from a tricky, 19.2km penultimate day time-trial around Goms with a firm grip on the Tour de Suisse yellow jersey.
The 22-year-old is well placed to win in Switzerland where the final stage on Sunday is over his favoured mountain terrain.
“We still have the jersey, tomorrow’s the last day and we’ll fight all the way,” Bernal promised at the finish line.
The stage was won by Yves Lampaert (Deceuninck-Quick-Step) team.
Not only did Bernal come out on top in his shoot out with world champion time-triallist Rohan Dennis for the yellow jersey, he also survived a nasty scare when his back wheel slipped on a sharp coner.
“It was frightening, yes,” smiled the Colombian, whose Ineos teammates Chris Froome and Geraint Thomas have suffered bad falls in the past two weeks.
The Colombian goes into the 144km, mountainous final day with a 22 second cushion as leader of the Ineos team and appears to have the world at his feet.
Bernal showed no fear in the time trial and handled his bike brilliantly in the high-tension skid where others might have fallen.
Rohan Dennis had limited his own losses on the summit finish on Friday and started in second place this morning, but he stayed there.
“I can’t be unhappy I’m still second,” said Dennis. “We have two big hills tomorrow so if Egan (Bernal) has an off day…. I don’t think he will bet you never know,”
Sunday’s stage is also run around Goms and features the same hill on which Bernal took time out of Dennis on Friday.
Tour de Suisse 2019 – stage 8 results (Goms ITT):
|1||Yves Lampaert (Deceuninck-Quick-Step)|
|2||Kasper Asgreen (Deceuninck-Quick-Step)|
|3||Søren Kragh Andersen (Team Sunweb)|
|4||Tom Scully (EF Education First)|
|5||Patrick Bevin (CCC)|
|6||Rohan Dennis (Bahrain-Merida)|
|7||Stefan Küng (Groupama-FDJ)|
|8||Benjamin Thomas (Groupama-FDJ)|
|9||Nikias Arndt (Team Sunweb)|
|10||Matteo Trentin (Mitchelton-Scott)|
Tour de Suisse 2019 – general classification after stage 8:
|1||Egan Bernal (Team INEOS)|
|2||Rohan Dennis (Bahrain-Merida)|
|3||Patrick Konrad (Bora-hansgrohe)|
|4||Tiesj Benoot (Lotto Soudal)|
|5||Jan Hirt (Astana)|
|6||Enric Mas (Deceuninck-Quick-Step)|
|7||Simon Spilak (Katusha-Alpecin)|
|8||Domenico Pozzovivo (Bahrain-Merida)|
|9||Carlos Betancur (Movistar)|
|10||Nicolas Roche (Team Sunweb)|