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Egan Bernal (Ineos Grenadiers) is still working out his 2021 plans, and there’s a chance that this season will see him make start a Grand Tour other than the Tour de France for the first time in his career. According to La Gazzetta dello Sport, the 2019 Tour de France champion is mulling the possibility of racing this year’s Giro d’Italia.
“Recently, in an interview I did in Colombia, it came across that I was preparing for the Tour,” Bernal said, referencing an interview with Noticias Caracol in which he pointed to the Tour as his main objective for 2021. “But the Giro comes first in the calendar, and in my head, option number one is to be at the start. It would be special.”
Bernal is still working his way back to form from the back issues that derailed his 2020 campaign. He has not raced since he pulled out of last year’s Tour de France, and his early-season plans are still up in the air.
While a planned Tour start would not be a surprise after he had already signaled his interest in going back, he has spoken of his interest in racing the Giro before. Bernal spent much of his first two years racing on Italian roads, having turned pro with Italian Pro Continental team Androni Giocattoli and spending 2016 and 2017 with the team before joining Sky for 2018.
Whether that means he will make his debut at the Italian Grand Tour remains to be seen, and even if he does, it’s not clear what his ambitions would be, particularly riding for a team that counts both of the last to Giro champions on its roster in Richard Carapaz (the 2019 winner) and Tao Geoghegan Hart (the 2020 winner).
“I don’t know if I would have the condition to go there as team leader, or whether it would be to help teammates, to help a captain who was going better than me,” Bernal said. “But that doesn’t mean that it’s been decided. We have to define things with the team and see how my recovery goes.”