Sign up for our newsletter


Bernal believes the road will decide who leads Team Ineos at the Tour de France

Joe Robinson
6 Feb 2020

The Colombian is not concerned about Team Ineos's trio of leaders at the Tour de France

Egan Bernal is convinced that the road will decide who leads Team Ineos at the Tour de France this summer. Team manager Dave Brailsford announced last month that he would be taking defending champion Bernal and 2018 champion Geraint Thomas as joint team leaders at the Tour.

The door has also been left open for four-time champion Chris Froome to make it a trio of leaders if he can return to full fitness before the Grand Depart in Nice this June.

That leaves Team Ineos with the possibility of taking three former yellow jersey wearers to the Tour all with the same goal of adding another Tour to their palmares.

The uncertainty surrounding a team with three leaders should sow a seed of doubt into the mind but for Bernal - who recently spoke to Spanish newspaper AS - it has no effect on how the team will race the Tour.

'The last two years, we have had two leaders and this time there will be three. It has always been the strongest who has won. In 2018 the first option was Froome and Thomas beat [him] and last year it was Thomas and I [won],' Bernal said ahead of the Tour of Colombia.

'The important thing will be for the team to support us in the flat stages and then the race will put everyone in their place. Personally, right now, I don't care much. I can only focus on mine and that is one hundred per cent.'

Before Team Ineos announced their trio of Tour leaders, rumours spread that one of the three riders would have to relinquish their ambitions and target another Grand Tour.

Some suggested that Bernal would skip his Tour defence in order to target the Giro d'Italia, a race he has openly shown admiration for, and this would have been the case if it was not for the Tokyo Olympics this August.

'For the respect of the race, and as defending champion it was very difficult to consider not going but at one point I thought about racing the Giro d'Italia as well as the Tour,' admitted Bernal.

'But this year, with it being an Olympic year, it was difficult to join the two races because there is a week less recovery so I had to focus on the Tour out of respect.'

Bernal started his 2020 season at the Colombian championships last week.

The young rider came third in the time trial behind Education First's Daniel Martinez before taking second in the road race, behind Sergio Higuita, despite a high-speed crash earlier in the race.

Bernal will now open his Team Ineos account at the Tour of Colombia on 17th February.

As the first Colombian to win the Tour last year, Bernal will start his home race as the country's newest national hero and the rider all the fans want to see.

Since his success of last year, his life has understandably changed drastically at home but Bernal is adamant he can remain grounded while appreciating the benefits of being a champion bike racer.

'It was the first Tour victory for my country so my life has changed me a lot,' said Bernal. 'I try to lead a very quiet life. The victories are beautiful, they fill me with pride and I enjoy them in case I don't win the Tour. But my profession is to ride a bike, and I try not to forget that my job is to pedal a bike.'