Egan Bernal returns to competition in France

2019 Tour de France winner to debut at Etoile de Bessèges this week.

Egan Bernal will race this week in France for the first time since abandoning the Tour de France in September.

That’s according to L’Equipe, which reported Sunday the 2019 Tour champion will resume competition at the five-day race in southern France starting Wednesday.

All eyes will be on the 24-year-old, who unexpectedly flamed out of the Tour last year. The Ineos Grenadiers captain appeared to be good position coming out of the Pyrénées, only to succumb to pressure from Jumbo-Visma and Wout van Aert on the Grand Colombier. Citing back pain, Bernal was gone less than 48 hours later.

Bernal has been training in Colombia, where he’s been putting in some long miles. Bernal said a pedaling imbalance created his back problems and sapped him of his power.

In an interview with Colombian media, Bernal hinted he might race the Giro d’Italia this year, but has put returning to the Tour at the center of his 2021 ambitions.

Bernal recently returned to Europe and will be joined by Ineos Grenadiers teammates Geraint Thomas and Michal Kwiatkowski in the French race.

Other top starters include Greg Van Avermaet (Ag2r-Citroën), Vincenzo Nibali (Trek-Segafredo) and Rigoberto Urán (EF Education-Nippo).