Egan Bernal still holding out hope of Tour de France return: ‘It’s a big motivation’

Tom Pidcock, Pauline Ferrand Prevot outline spring mountain bike schedule.

Photo: Getty Images

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Egan Bernal is still holding out hope to return the Tour de France as he continues his comeback this week at the Tour de Romandie.

The 2019 Tour winner said the allure of returning to cycling’s marquee race continues to fuel his drive during his ongoing rehabilitation and recovery from his devastating crash in early 2022.

“It’s been a long process, with a lot of ups and downs,” Bernal said Tuesday of his Tour de France comeback aspirations. “It’s a big motivation, to tell the truth. It really motivates me to get back there.”

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The 26-year-old Ineos Grenadiers star spoke to Tour de Romandie officials in a video posted on YouTube before Tuesday’s opening prologue, where he finished safely in the bunch in 69th.

The Colombian star continues on his ever steady return to competition this week in Switzerland.

After a few races late last season, Bernal opened 2023 with outside hopes of being able to race the Tour in July.

A knee injury during the Vuelta a San Juan in January set him back, and he later abandoned the Volta a Catalunya in March in his European season debut.

Bernal rode through Itzulia Basque Country in early April in what’s considered the hardest one-week stage race in Europe, and hopes to make more strides this week in Switzerland.

Bernal said he hopes his comeback serves as an inspiration to others.

“It’s even more than winning or losing, or whatever the result might be, it’s more about demonstrating to anyone going through something like this that it’s possible, that you can overcome the obstacles that life throws in your way,” Bernal said. “That’s even more important than winning a bike race.”

Whether or not Bernal races the Tour this year remains to be seen. Trainers, coaches, and sport directors are monitoring his progress closely.

There are no other official races on his calendar after Romandie.

Bernal hasn’t raced a grand tour since finishing sixth in the 2021 Vuelta a España and winning the Giro d’Italia in May that year. If the Tour is deemed too soon, a start at the Vuelta in late August might be in the cards.

Bernal vows to keep chasing the Tour dream this week in Switzerland.

“I’ve raced here two times in Switzerland, once at Romandie and another at the Tour de Suisse, and it’s a special race and a special country,” Bernal said. “I am very motivated and I hope things go as well as possible.”

Pidcock, Ferrand-Prévot target early mountain bike races

Ferrand-Prévot is slated for a return to mountain biking. (Photo: Luc Claessen/Getty Images)

No rest for the weary.

After a busy spring racing season on the road and cyclocross, Tom Pidcock and Pauline Ferrand-Prévot are pivoting to off-road racing.

Both of the Ineos Grenadiers stars will ride some upcoming mountain bike races.

On the schedule are a French Cup on April 28-30, a Bike Revolution event in early May in Switzerland, and the World Cup stop at Nove Mesto on May 12-14.

The pair pivots to mountain biking with one eye on the 2024 Olympic Games, where Pidcock will return as Olympic cross-country champion, while the Olympic title is one of the few major milestones that’s eluded Ferrand-Prevot in her otherwise prolific career.

An American in France

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