Team Ineos rider Egan Bernal is keen to focus on his Giro d’Italia debut rather than the Tour de France.
The Colombian spoke to Cyclingnews to confirm his commitment to Dave Brailsford’s plan for the season.
Ineos have announced that Bernal will be the team’s leader for the Giro, with Geraint Thomas, Richard Carapaz and Tao Geoghegan Hart attacking the Tour de France.
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“I think it’s the best decision,” said Bernal.
“I’ve wanted to race the Giro since I turned professional in 2016. Even in the year when I won the Tour de France in 2019, I was supposed to be racing the Giro but events beforehand meant that it didn’t work out.
“It seems whenever I think about racing the Giro something happens. But I’m not going to let that play on my mind. I want to enjoy the race, it’s a race that I really love and I’m very happy to be focusing on it, very motivated by the prospect of racing it at last.”
After a 2020 blighted by the coronavirus pandemic and back problems for the 24-year-old Colombian, Bernal is looking to rediscover his best form.
“Last year was a very difficult one for me due to the problems I had with my back,” he explained.
“But we’ve analysed the situation and I think we all agree that it was best for me to focus on races that I really enjoy, that I will get real pleasure from participating in. The Giro is certainly one that I’ve long looked forward to riding and psychologically that’s given me a boost.”
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Bernal continues to recover from his persistent back problems, and detailed his efforts to stay fit are a constant process.
“I keep working on it every morning, even here at the race, when we’ve got quite a bit of time before the stages start, doing the exercises to keep improving it,” he said.
“It’s not 100 percent healed yet and the exercises do make the racing a little harder, but I feel that I’m on the right track.”