Seven months after a crash that put him into the ICU, Egan Bernal will return to racing at the Tour of Denmark following a final assessment from Ineos Grenadiers medical staff who confirmed the Colombian was fit to compete again.
“After what happened to me in January this has been the moment I’ve been waiting for – to race with my teammates again,” Bernal said, his return to racing set for August 16. “I can’t emphasise enough how hard the last eight months have been for me, both physically and mentally. That day, and the journey that I have been on since will be a part of me forever, it’s something you never forget.”
This will be the latest box ticked in Bernal’s journey back to the top level of the sport, with deputy team principal Rod Ellingworth saying the 25-year-old has not been rushed back to competition but that the Tour of Denmark came at the right time for Bernal to take this next step.
“Egan’s long-term recovery has and continues to guide our medical and physical programme of support – our targets have always been performance-led not race-led,” Ellingworth explained, “and the entire Ineos Grenadiers family is proud and delighted for Egan that his determination and application will now see him return to the race environment he has craved for so long.”
In other news, Ellingworth confirmed in the announcement of the Ineos Grenadiers squad for the upcoming Vuelta a España that the Spanish Grand Tour would be Richard Carapaz’s final three-week stage race with the team.
The Ecuadorian was rumoured to be considering a move away from the British outfit with his contract expiring at the end of the year, EF Education EasyPost has been one team reported to be interesting in the 2019 Giro champion’s services while a return to Movistar after three years with Ineos has also been alleged.
Ineos will take four Grand Tour debutants in Luke Plapp, Ben Turner, Ethan Hayter and Carlos Rodriguez to the Vuelta, backed up by Pavel Sivakov, Dylan van Baarle and Tao Geoghegan Hart, all backing up the GC ambitions of Carapaz.
“To have four Grand Tour debutants in Carlos, Luke, Ethan and Ben reinforces the belief we have in the quality of our young riders and we know that they’ll provide fantastic support for Richie in his last Grand Tour with us,” Ellingworth said. “All four have impressed in 2022 and this will be the next big step in their development at the very highest level.”