Egan Bernal will be the team leader for Ineos Grenadiers this year at the Giro d’Italia and, in all likelihood, miss the Tour de France.
Ineos boss Sir Dave Brailsford announced the surprising selection decision on Wednesday when speaking to a group of journalists about his organisation’s plans for the 2021 racing season. As the franchise’s most recent winner of the Le Tour in 2019, it had seemed likely Bernal would return to France this year.
But Brailsford said: "Obviously things change, and racing might change, but ultimately, for the moment, Egan’s going to focus on the Giro this year with Pavel Sivakov, [Daniel] Martinez, and also Filippo Ganna."
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Later in the call, Brailsford also revealed that Adam Yates will be the team’s designated leader for La Vuelta, although he did discuss the possibility of Bernal being deployed in Spain too – dependent on how the season plays out.
“Egan may well, we wouldn’t rule out the fact...it depends how he comes out of the Giro, whether he goes to the Tour. Or he might go to the Vuelta, so we wouldn’t rule that out either.”

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Speaking of La Vuelta, Brailsford emphasised they would be going into the race with the intention of winning it with Yates.
“Quite often for us as a team we’ve got to July and you know, kind of ‘all in for July’ and then for the second half of the season sometimes we kind of lose a bit of steam, so to have somebody to focus on the Vuelta for us is brilliant. We’re pretty excited about that.”
Brailsford did not confirm any support riders he expected to ride in La Vuelta.

Ineos’ likely Giro and Vuelta riders

Il Giro
  • Egan Bernal
  • Filippo Ganna
  • Daniel Martinez
  • Pavel Sivakov
La Vuelta
  • Adam Yates

Our view

Bernal’s presence as leader for the Giro all but rules him out of the Tour. Sir Dave has left that door ever-so-slightly ajar, but given the Tour is even closer to the Giro than it usually would be, courtesy of the Olympics, you wouldn’t bet on Bernal being able to ride both. At least not at full-tilt as a leader.
Ganna was superb at last year’s Giro and Daniel Martinez is one of the most intriguing new signings Ineos has made ahead of the 2021 season. It should make for excellent, exciting racing as they look to replicate Tao Geoghegan Hart’s victory from last year. It’s a bit of a shame that the Londoner will not return to defend his crown, but bigger things are calling for him as he lines up at Le Tour alongside Geraint Thomas.
Any fears that Adam Yates might’ve been consigned to the lower rungs of the Ineos pecking order have been banished with the announcement he will lead the team at La Vuelta. In many respects, it’s the perfect three-week race for him to try and win, where his natural attacking instincts can thrive amid the chaos that usually unfolds in Spain – and there is precedent, given his brother bagged the maillot rojo in 2018.
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