Egan Bernal (Ineos Grenadiers) has confirmed that “if all goes effectively,” he want to return to the Tour de France in 2023, the race he gained in 2019.
In a prolonged interview with Colombia’s Caracol Radio, Bernal stated that subsequent yr his excellent purpose is “to do it [the Tour] and do in addition to attainable, and to be in good type.”
He recognised that it was troublesome to be know if he would have the ability to beat Tadej Pogačar (UAE Group Emirates) or Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma), winners of the final three Excursions. However he would, he stated, be decided to offer it his all..
Bernal additionally had phrases of assist for fellow Colombian Nairo Quintana, at the moment within the throes of a courtroom battle over a optimistic take a look at for tramadol, saying he hoped issues may work out for the perfect for him.
Bernal, 25, offered a prolonged replace on his present situation saying it was going effectively.
“They did the final surgical procedure a month in the past on my knee,” Bernal, who suffered a life-threatening accident final January 24, advised Caracol Radio’s program El_vbar, “and since then I’ve been a bit on vacation, and doing a little coaching.”
“And I’d be able to get again into racing in January or February. I didn’t anticipate to get better so rapidly and at first, my first ideas after the crash have been simply to have a standard life, to not be a professional bike owner once more and even experience a motorcycle.”
“Then that second possibility grew to become attainable.”
Fairly than Ineos Grenadiers elevating expectations too rapidly as he made progress in his comeback, he stated, “It’s been me that’s put myself below stress.”
“They stated I may take it simple, however it was me that stated ‘no if I need to get again being at my prime degree, to attempt to win the Tour once more, I’ve to start out shifting once more. I reside for sport, I reside for biking and it’s me that’s put myself below stress.”
Having ridden a lot of races in the summertime and late autumn, Bernal stated that mentally this had helped him significantly to get again into the peloton and assist the workforce even when he wasn’t at the perfect degree.
“Greater than something I wished to see if I used to be nonetheless scared after the accident and within the first few kilometres I did get very nervous. It was like driving my first race once more. However then I received over that.”
Subsequent yr, he stated, “and at all times assuming all the things goes positive, and if I get better the energy I get again absolutely in my proper leg, which was essentially the most affected, I might begin 2023 as a standard rider. And I’d like to return to the Tour.”
“I’ve received eight or 9 months to attempt to try this, and mentally I really feel prepared for that. The truth is, I feel the break I needed to take this yr will assist me.”
“So one hundred pc I’d love to do a Grand Tour and hopefully that’ll be the Tour.”
Wanting again, wanting forward
Bernal has had an exceptionally robust yr, not simply along with his accident but additionally along with his mom need to battle in opposition to most cancers, from which she is fortunately within the technique of recovering. However his troublesome yr has, he stated, highlighted for him the large significance of his household in his life and with the ability to give them his assist and rely on their assist too. He additionally as soon as once more thanked his workforce for all their backing. Returning to the query of sport, he stated he was untroubled by stories that Ineos Grenadiers may be seeking to enhance their GC choices sooner or later alongside his personal.
“It’s regular. What workforce on the earth wouldn’t prefer to have the Tadej Pogacar of the day, or the Remco [Evenepoel], actually sturdy riders? All groups want to have actually sturdy riders.”
“[Teammates] Geraint Thomas completed third within the Tour de France this yr, we’ve received Carlitos [Carlos] Rodriguez who could possibly be up for profitable a Grand Tour subsequent yr for positive. We’ve received some nice riders as effectively.” He later namechecked fellow Colombian Dani Martínez as a rider with a future Grand Tour victory in his legs.
When it comes to a attainable race program, Bernal stated that the Vuelta a San Juan in January in Argentina was one possibility, the Tour Colombia in February one other, ought to the race lastly go forward. Past that, he is considering doing the Colombian Nationals, Paris-Good and Strade Bianche, maybe the Criterium du Dauphine. “However these are solely concepts and all the things may change,” he warned. “It’ll all depend upon how the season goes.”
Requested immediately if he may beat Evenepoel, Vingegaard and Pogacar within the Tour, Bernal advised Caracol Radio that he didn’t know, and that the early a part of the season would assist present what his underlying situation was like.
Weighing up his choices, he added, “It goes with out saying that they’re very sturdy, however I’ve religion and I’ve gained a Giro and a Tour myself. It might be a really attention-grabbing Tour, to go there, give it all the things after which – might the strongest rider win…that’s sport.”
Bernal additionally added that he was decided sooner or later to attempt to win the Vuelta a España, “the one one of many three Grand Excursions I’ve but to get. Personally profitable all three could be nice. After that I may retire completely happy. It is a very robust race to win, however I am 25 and I’ve received plenty of years forward of me.”