Colombian sensation Egan Bernal (Sky) is waiting to see if he’ll need surgery following a gut-wrenching crash in Sunday’s finale at the Volta a Catalunya.
Bernal started the frenetic final stage in second place just 16 seconds behind eventual winner Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) but was taken out by a high-speed crash that led him to abandon the race. Doctors are waiting to determine if Bernal will require surgery on “clavicular and scapular fractures,” according to team doctors.
His DNF does not reflect the impressive performance that almost ended with his first WorldTour podium for the 21-year-old climber.
“I’m a little disappointed because it could have been my first WorldTour podium, and I’m sad because I felt really good and strong until the last day,” Bernal said on Sky’s website. “I don’t know exactly how long the recovery period will be but at the moment I’m focusing on resting and recovering well.”
Bernal has been a sensation since joining Sky as part of an impressive recruiting class for 2018 by the British outfit.
After an impressive WorldTour debut January at the Santos Tour Down Under with sixth overall, he won the debut Oro y Paz stage race ahead of Colombia’s top stars in February. In Spain, Bernal was the only rider who could stay close to Valverde as the Spaniard dashed to his third career Volta victory.
Everyone agrees Bernal’s future is looking bright.
“Everyone is a little bit gutted. All the boys worked so hard, committed and rode themselves into the ground all week for him,” said Sky sport director Brett Lancaster. “No one else could follow Valverde when he moved, so you can see Egan is at that real elite level. It’s really promising for the future.”
Bernal will recover and return to racing when doctors give him the green light. Officials have penciled in a likely grand tour start at the Vuelta a España later this season.