Michal Kwiatkowski was pleased to extend his overall lead at Paris-Nice after the riders endured tough conditions from the start on stage six.
This was important after Luis Leon Sanchez's (Astana) had won an earlier sprint to close the gap by three seconds on Kwiatkowski and Bernal in difficult conditions.
A tricky final led to some nervous moves in the bunch and Tao Geoghegan Hart was caught in a crash with four kilometres to go, but was ok to finish and escaped with cuts and bruises.
Afterwards Kwiatkowski was pragmatic about the stage and revealed how tough it was saying: “I was hoping for a pretty straightforward day out there, but it was anything but! We had some crosswinds straight from the start, the wind was strong.
“The guys were trying to split the bunch from 5km which I thought was strange. It created a lot of stress, everyone was on edge. That’s why there were so many crashes.
“It was a really testing day, but thankfully I was always out of trouble and to stay in front after such a hectic day was really good. Today wasn’t an easy stage, but we’ve come through it and we’re in a positive position."
“My head and my mind is already focused on tomorrow - it will be another tough stage," he added.
“It’s a pretty steady climb - I’ve done it a few times before. I did it a few weeks ago - it’s nothing crazy - and I’m looking forward to it."