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Egan Bernal shares harrowing detail of collision, hopes for return to racing

Bernal discusses hopes for future return in extensive video interview with Semana: 'I want to be the best version of Egan Bernal.'

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Egan Bernal shared harrowing details of his terrible collision with a bus and discussed his hopes for the future this weekend.

Bernal spoke in an extensive video with Colombian outlet Semana in his first full interview since the crash late January that left him a swathe of injuries to his chest, spine, and femur.

“I’m alive, it’s like a second chance. It’s like being born again and I enjoy every little thing that happens to me,” Bernal said at the start of the video with Semana.

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The Colombian recently shared videos of himself walking unassisted and pedaling on a stationary trainer, less than one month after his high-speed collision with a bus while training on a time trial bike.

Bernal lifted the lid on what he recalls happening while out training with a handful of Ineos Grenadiers teammates last month.

“I did an interval, ahead of my teammates, I look ahead and there’s nothing,” he said. “There’s a car behind me that’s escorting me. I keep doing my interval and I remember that I was going 58 kilometers per hour. That is like throwing down and the wind is in your favor. I was going 58. I start looking and it was 59, 60, 61, 62, and it was when I saw that speed that I crashed into the bus.”

“I crashed into the bus at 62 kilometers per hour. The bus was still. At that moment imagine the pain.”

Bernal said that he points no blame at anyone for how the incident happened.

The terrible collision has given rise to discussion of the safety of increasingly sophisticated trial bikes, with Tom Pidock and Chris Froome among those to weigh in. Bernal suggested the accident was one of the risks inherent to road racing and training.

Also read: Froome talks TT bikes

“Unfortunately we are not football and we cannot train in a stadium, in a coliseum, we have to be exposed to this kind of thing,” he said.

“My normal training can be 270 kilometers from Zipaquirá to Tunja, round trip, thousands of things can happen. One has to be aware. There are risks that could be avoided, but we couldn’t stop doing the training on the open road because otherwise I couldn’t win the Tour de France.”

‘I want to be the best version of Egan Bernal’

At present, there’s no timeline on Bernal’s recovery or a potential return to racing. However, Bernal said he’s not done with bikes just yet.

“I want to go back, it’s what I love most,” he said. “I’m a cyclist, I feel like if I wasn’t on a bike I wouldn’t know what to do. Sure, I would start doing something else, but right now I feel like a cyclist, I feel like an athlete and for me cycling is my lifestyle.”

Bernal had been tipped to return to the Tour de France this summer, an ambition that has been put on pause.

The 2019 maillot jaune and reigning Giro d’Italia champ said he’s come back from adversity before – surgeries to his face after a crash at the Clasica San Sebastian in 2018 and a broken collarbone just months before his Tour victory, for example – and hopes to do so again.

“I don’t know if I’m going to be at that level of winning a Tour de France again, because it’s already difficult,” he said.

“If it is difficult when you are completely well, I don’t know what it will be like now.“But I want to be the best version of Egan Bernal. What Egan Bernal can do right now, obviously I’m going to work to get to that level … I think that in fact I bring out my best version in these moments when I have an injury, I feel that I can be a little bit more focussed and that’s what I want, what I want to aim for.”

Here’s the full video.