Egan Bernal is set to return to racing at the end of March and could even feature at the 2023 Tour de France, his team the INEOS Grenadiers have said.
Now, however, though no specific races have been stipulated, it looks like the Colombian is not far off remounting the bike competitively.
“He’s obviously been a bit frustrated but we’re supporting him. It’s been reported that he’s had a knee niggle, which has nothing to do with the crash or the accident from last year.
“Egan’s eager to race but often with these guys, you’ve got to hold him back.”
Ellingworth also revealed that Bernal is in his thoughts for this summer’s Tour de France.
“At the end of the day, we’ve got 30 bike riders and any of them could ride the Tour,” Ellingworth said. “You’ve got to put the best eight on the line, haven’t you?
“What we know about Egan and what you could see last year, is that he’s still prepared to put in the hard work for the team if he’s the leader or not a leader.
“He’s a bit like Geraint Thomas in that sense. They’re great role models for the younger guys.
Filippo Ganna of Italy and Egan Arley Bernal Gomez of Colombia and INEOS Grenadiers prior to the 39th Vuelta a San Juan International 2023, Stage 6 a 144.9km stage from Velódromo Vicente Chancay to Velódromo Vicente Chancay / #VueltaSJ2023 / on January 28
Image credit: Getty Images
“If Egan was fit enough, why would you not take him to the Tour for his experience and for the help he can give the team?
“The door’s completely wide open and the Tour is still four months away.”
Meanwhile, Tom Pidcock, victorious on Alpe D’Huez last year, says he is eyeing a Tour de France win – but perhaps not this year.
“But it wasn’t the best. I know very well I won that stage from the breakaway. I didn’t beat the best riders in the race one-on-one.
“The next step is winning stages against the best guys. But I believe I can.
“I believe one day I can win the Tour.
“For now, I want to win stages outright. Obviously, after last year, I’ll have less and less freedom to be able to go in breaks and win like I did last year.
“I think I know myself quite well. I know what my limits are. Whether it’s mountain biking or the Olympics, or with cross, or where I can get to with the classics.
“I feel like when I believe it’s realistic to win something, so far I haven’t been wrong about it.”
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