Bernal: "The goal is to get into shape in the last week"

The current Tour de France champion spoke to the media before the title defense begins this Saturday in Nice. "It's a nice challenge."


Colombian Egan Bernal will wear number 1 this Saturday when the Tour de France begins, in which he will defend the title achieved in the last edition, a "challenge" that he faces with confidence, knowing that the Jumbo-Visma team of the Slovenian Primoz Roglic will not make it easy for you.

"The goal is to get to the last week in top form," said the Ineos cyclist at a press conference in Nice, where the race will begin.

Bernal, the first Colombian who entered the Champs Elysées in Paris in yellow, knows that in this edition they have a shared responsibility with the formation led by Roglic.

"It is good for us to have another high-level team, that motivates us, we will be able to share the responsibilities, we will not have to do it all by ourselves. They will also have to face part of the weight of the race. nice challenge, "said the runner.

Positioned as the great leader of the team, who preferred to leave out his other two assets, the British Chris Froome and Geraint Thomas, Bernal faces the edition with some trace of the back injury that forced him to leave the last Dauphiné, but with the confidence of being fully recovered by the third week of the race.

His strategy will be less offensive than in the past, although he is aware that the Ineos team has not changed their mentality. "I have to try to gain time to have a cushion in the chrono of the penultimate day, where normally I will lose time," he says.For this, it has one of the most mountainous Tours in history, but knowing that the most important cycling race in the world is not won just by climbing.

"It is a route that can be good for us, but this is still the Tour, it is not only for climbers. It is a hard, complete route, with a bit of everything, not only mountains, there are also open stages", he warns .

Bernal believes that Ineos will have to change their attitude, because in the past their leader of the ranks was a time trialist, who counted on the minutes gained in that discipline, which allowed them a more defensive strategy in the mountains.

The one from Zapaquirá defends title in the strangest edition in history, delayed to September due to COVID-19, which has also forced the imposition of strict health safety regulations and limit the presence of the public.In addition, the threat weighs on the Tour that the advance of the pandemic, which in France has been having major outbreaks in recent weeks, will force the premature suspension of the race.

"I hope to get to Paris and for the race to continue, it would be good for sports in general, not just cycling, for everyone. It is a good opportunity for us to return to life as normal as possible at this time" , said the Colombian.

"The organization is taking the necessary precautions, they are doing well. We are doing the best we can," he added.

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