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Bernal hints at run at Giro-Tour double, denies he’s feeling pressure

Colombia's first yellow jersey-winner is taking the heat off himself as he prepares for 2020 with big ambitions.

An ambitious yet relaxed Egan Bernal is already mapping out his 2020 racing season.

The 22-year-old Tour de France champion hinted that he might take on one of cycling’s most daunting challenges of winning both the Giro d’Italia and the Tour in the same season.

“I’d like to race the Giro and then after the Tour,” he told the Spanish daily AS. “I’m very excited about the possibility to race the Giro. To race both is complicated, but if we make the decision, we could do it well.”

No one’s managed to win both the Giro and the Tour in the same season since Marco Pantani last did it in 1998. Only seven riders in cycling history have won the Giro and Tour in the same calendar year.

The Giro-Tour double is one of the few historical markers that have so far eluded the Sky/Ineos franchise. It’s won all three grand tours, as well as a host of other important races, but Chris Froome’s double attempt in 2018 fell short despite winning the Giro and finishing third in the Tour.

Bernal was penciled in to race this year’s Giro, but crashed in training a week before, and went to the Tour instead. The rest is history.

Bernal said the final decisions about the 2020 racing calendar remain up in the air, but he said the team bosses do a good job of listening to what riders want to do. He also told AS it’s important to weigh the ambitions of his teammates, such as Froome, Geraint Thomas, and Richard Carapaz, all grand tour winners themselves.

“We have to make some decisions between us,” he said. “We’ll come up with programs that everyone can live with.”

Despite being the youngest Tour winner in the modern era, Bernal is trying to take it all in stride.

“You can look at [the pressure] in two ways,” he said. “First, you can say he’s already won at 22, so how many more can he win? Or, in the way I look at it, I’m 22 and I’ve already won a Tour. I did what I had to do, and I am the first Colombian to win the Tour. And I know I am good at what I do.

“Obviously, I will try to win another Tour, a Giro, and a Vuelta, but whatever happens, I’ve already won a Tour, and no one can take that away from me,” he said. “It’s not that I am too relaxed, it’s just that I realize I’ve already done something special, and now I shouldn’t feel any pressure.”