Egan Bernal wants to go back in time to 2019 on the Giro d’Italia.
Bernal has burst into the limelight with a historic 2019 Tour de France victory, but the Ineos Grenadiers rider has been a shadow of himself over the past 12 months.
Plagued with back problems, which ultimately forced him out of last year’s Tour, Bernal’s confidence is at an all-time low. The Giro d’Italia gives him the opportunity to look back on happier times, but he admits not knowing if he has the winning legs.
Also read: Giro d’Italia: Ineos Grenadiers and the riddle of Egan Bernal
“I don’t think I have the best condition in which I won the Tour, but I want to find it again, and I also want to regain the confidence that I had,” Bernal said Thursday.
“Last year was not very easy for me and I want to regain confidence in the Giro. I’m really motivated and I really hope I can do well.
The former Bernal seemed to be hiding in the shadows at the start of the season after podium places in March at the Trofeo Laigueglia and Strade Bianche, which could be useful when the Giro reaches the dirt roads in the second week. He confirmed it with the fourth place overall in Tirreno-Adriatico.
However, he is heading to the Giro d’Italia with two months without a race.
The Colombian was scheduled to compete in the Tour of the Alps last month, but has opted for altitude training at home. While some of his rivals have recorded the last days of racing in their legs, Bernal is convinced that he made the right choice.
“I ran enough at the start of the season. I decided to go back to Colombia after doing altitude training, ”said Bernal. “It was what I needed at the time. I’m sure we made the right choices and I hope I’ll be in good shape from the start of the Giro.
Also read: Egan Bernal says back pain “has always been there”
The lack of a race just before the Giro d’Italia means Bernal may miss part of the zip that his rivals will likely have in the early stages, but it could also pay off in the final week of when the GC contenders will be. faced a series of tests in the high mountains.
Bernal knows he can’t let his guard down.
“Maybe it’s better for me that the more difficult stages are at the end, but we have to be careful from the first stage,” he said. “The Giro is a very unique race because it is very easy to lose or gain seconds in all the stages. Anything can happen, especially in stages that seem easy from an elevation perspective. “
Ineos Grenadiers packing a Giro punch with the best team
Support Bernal at rose rush will be a strong team of Ineos Grenadiers which includes Pavel Sivakov, Filippo Ganna, Dani Martínez, Gianni Moscon, Jonathan Castroviejo, Salvatore Puccio and Jhonatan Narváez.
Russian-French rider Sivakov finished ninth in the 2019 Giro d’Italia, and is ready for Plan B if Bernal fails.
Sivakov is a proven talent in stage racing, and has just finished sixth in the recent Tour of the Alps. While he dreams of getting into the pink, he dismissed the suggestion that he could be the ultimate leader of the team.
“I dream of it, otherwise I wouldn’t be at the start. Why not?… I’m not the only leader here at the Giro so we’ll see how it goes, ”said Sivakov. “Egan wouldn’t be here if he wasn’t ready. We all know he’s here as one of the favorites. Of course, he will be number one. He won the Tour, and I still have a lot to prove to be among the GC favorites.
“I was ninth before and ninth and fighting for the win is a huge difference,” he said. “Then I’ll be there. I’ll try not to waste time and continue to be up there in GC. If the team needs my help, I’ll be there for the team. I guess the plan is not to waste time the first week and we’ll see what happens. “