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Egan Bernal dreaming of Tour de France revival in 2023

Less than one year after his career-threatening crash, Bernal debuts new season at Vuelta a San Juan.

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Egan Bernal continues his miracle comeback with his 2023 season debut at the Tour de San Juan in Argentina this weekend.

Twelve months ago, the 2019 Tour de France winner slammed into the back of a bus during a training ride, and was nearly killed and disabled.

Speaking to AS ahead of the San Juan tour, Bernal said he’s excited to race again to chase results, not just be on the start list.

“I am truly motivated to race, because training is one thing, but the races put everyone in their place,” Bernal told AS. “I’ve had a good winter, and the training’s gone well. Now I ready to measure myself against the others in the race.”

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Defying expectations, Bernal returned to racing last year for 12 race days, and continued his recovery across the winter.

Expectations are flying high that Bernal will be able to race a grand tour in 2023, perhaps even a return to the Tour.

“If someone had told me a year ago that after I had my accident that I would now be thinking about racing the Tour, I would not have believed it,” Bernal said. “There were months of quiet work behind the scenes, of picking myself up, and starting from zero. Including learning how to brush my own teeth, to eat.”

Bernal admitted he wasn’t sure if he’d ever race bikes again, and considered retiring.

“The Tour de France is the number 1 objective, and depending how that goes, maybe the Vuelta a España,” Bernal said. “Now we are looking at going back to the Tour, not just to start, but to do as well as I can.”

Bernal admits he’s still far from his winning form that made him Colombia’s first Tour de France winner in 2019.

Bernal returned to race in Europe last summer, races that he said were an important milestone in his recovery.

“Some people might not understand, but the races I did last year were very important,” he said. “A lot of people, ‘oh, he didn’t finish, he wasn’t back at his level,’ but everything was done for technical reasons, and I started to feel I was ready to be the same Egan as before.

“It might sound strange, but that accident was the best thing that could have happened to me,” Bernal said. “It brought me closer to my family, to God, to the things that really matter.”

The crash happened on January 24, 2022. Less than one year later, a reborn Bernal starts a new season Sunday at the Vuelta a San Juan.

Egan Bernal’s racing calendar in 2023

Vuelta a San Juan

Colombian nationals

Ruta del Sol

Paris-Nice

Itzulia País Vasco

Volta a Catalunya

Critérium du Dauphiné or Tour de Suisse

Tour de France

Vuelta a España