Egan and his story: Zipaquirá a favorite of the Tour

At 22, the British Ineos runner aspires to become the first Colombian to succeed in conquering the Grande Boucle.


Not many years ago, Egan Bernal began his path in mountain biking guided by technician Fabio Rodríguez in Zipaquirá, a Colombian municipality 42 km from Bogotá. Rodriguez met him when he was nine years old. "He arrived as a child, he had nothing to make me think he was going to be a reference, he did a process, he did not even make podiums for the first two years" , he counted.

The cyclist who will start the fight for the Tour of France this Saturday, July 6, hid in his face and his child's legs an unimagined potential that soon came to light. "He grew up on a daily basis." One day I discovered that I could be very good at the national level but another day I realized that he was also good at the international level when he won the Pan-American mountain bike or when he made a podium in the World Cup. Then I only saw in him things of giftedness ".

The evolution of Bernal did not stop. He met Pablo Mazuera, owner of the 'Fundación Mezuena', a mountain bike team that Bernal was part of. "Egan appeared, he was a child that was recommended to me, he had been competing for three years and showing his talent, I was with him from 2010 to 2016 when he went to Androni Giocatolli." For his age and journey, for Mazuera it was easier to see the superstar, but he admits that he went through difficult moments.

Overcoming

"He had all kinds of faults, whenever he changed category, he was tough but then he got attached and he got it" , says Mazuera. When he succeeded, there was no one to match him: "He started to win with four or five minutes of difference compared to the others, if I start counting the podiums and medals he won, I could not" , remember.

As much for Rodriguez as for Mazuera, Egan is a treasure that they boast of having discovered. "I've known him since I was little and to see that he's now the favorite of the Tour seems crazy to me," Mazuera said. "People know about Egan a short time ago but those of us who know him have always known that his evolution has been impressive and that has everything to be the best, "said Rodriguez.

The two saw how Ineos jewel lived what it takes to be at its current level. Suffering, sacrifices, discipline and that's why they believe that although they can win the Tour, it's better to go calmly. "I think you should learn more, it's a good thing you do not have all the burdens on your team and this kind of races are difficult because Everything counts, even luck, I do not believe in triumphalism, I just want to wait and time will tell, "Rodriguez said.

Egan does not forget those who raised him. His first cycling school, his coaches and the children who come after him. That's why he has given financial aid so that they can continue promoting young people who want to be like him.

The Colombian hope will be in the Tour de France with his compatriots Nairo Quintana, Rigoberto Urán and Sergio Luis Henao. Arrives after being one of the sensations of the year after winning the Paris-Nice and the Tour of Switzerland and, in principle, must exercise as gregarious of Geraint Thomas, the current champion of the French race. The rest, the road will tell.



Photos from as.com

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