Egan Bernal has decided to sit out Colombia’s lockdown rather than continue training indoors.
The defending Tour de France champion is taking the opportunity to rest through the restrictions preventing training outside as he waits for the shape of the 2020 racing calendar to become clearer.
Bernal said in an Instagram live session that he is training “neither mentally nor physically” at his Colombian home.
The 23-year-old had a promising start to the season, scooping podium slots in the national time trial and road race before placing fourth at Tour Colombia. Bernal had been scheduled to start Paris-Nice, however, when his Ineos Team joined the wave of others choosing to pull out of the race over fears of the then-escalating coronavirus pandemic, he opted to return home rather than get caught in Europe.
“I had a good build-up for Paris-Nice, then I went on the rollers when I got back to Colombia,” Bernal said. “But afterwards, I decided with the coach that it would be for the best to rest up right now.”
“We still have a few more days until April 13 [when the Colombian lockdown is due to be lifted]. I’d prefer to get training [at home] for five or six days, then start riding. You don’t lose what you did since December taking a break, doing one or two hours on rollers and then going out on the roads.”
Bernal is currently scheduled to defend his title at the Tour de France this summer, leading Team Ineos alongside Geraint Thomas. However, with riders currently facing differing conditions across the globe, with some training outside on the roads and others stuck inside on trainers, Bernal would prefer the race to be postponed.
“It could be better if it was delayed,” he said. “This enforced stop is affecting all of us. Even for the Tour de France — if it happens in July because one or another contender may not be up to it, for then, as their build-ups — will be different.”
While believing that the Tour should be postponed from its scheduled start, June 27, Bernal hopes above all that the three grand Tours go ahead at some point this year. The Giro d’Italia has already been postponed, leaving organizers RCS looking for a slot later in the season, and the fate of the Tour is hanging by a thread as ASO looks to salvage the race with a ‘behind closed doors‘ format.
“For the good of cycling, for the sponsors who invest a lot of money and who are taking a hit with the lockdown, I hope they happen,” Bernal said. “If they don’t take place, it would be very serious, but we have to see how this all evolves. What’s clear is that the world has to go on and this [health crisis] has to end at some point.”