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“It’s really important, signing this new contract. I am really happy in this team. I am really proud of the team, the staff, and I’m signing now for my most important years. It will be my best years, and I want to spend this time with this team,” Bernal said.
“The thing about this team that I noticed right from the beginning is that everyone is working towards one goal. You can see and feel that everyone loves the sport, they are all really devoted and have an all-in mentality.”
This is the second five-year deal that the winner of the 2019 Tour de France 2021 Giro d’Italia has made with the British squad.
Bernal signed a five-year contract when he moved to the team in 2018 from Androni Giocatolli. That deal was due to run out at the end of 2023, but this new contract supersedes it and sees him spending at least three more years with the squad.
“We have seen Egan really grow over the last four years with the team. He’s demonstrated time and again that he is a phenomenal talent. He has also shown that, in the challenging moments, he has a huge amount of courage to pick himself up, lay himself on the line, and go again. As a Grenadier and as a teammate, you can’t ask for much more than that. This season is going to be hugely competitive. Egan and the whole team are motivated to go all in and come out fighting,” deputy team principal Rod Ellingworth said.
Bernal went on to win the GC at the Tour of California in 2018. The following year, he won the Tour de France — and became the youngest rider ever at the time to do so — as well as the Tour de Suisse, and Paris-Nice.
In 2020, the young Colombian won the Route d’Occitanie just prior to the start of the Tour de France. At the Tour, Bernal appeared to be riding well during the opening two weeks but, following the second rest day, he abandoned before the start of stage 18 due to a back injury that would keep him out of the rest of the season.
After winning the maglia rosa at the 2021 Giro d’Italia he did not start the 2021 Tour de France.
“I really want to go back to the Tour. I skipped last year because of the Giro, but it feels like it’s been a long time since I was at the Tour. So I am really excited about this year. I want to go back having prepared really well, taking a good team, and being there to really enjoy the race,” Bernal added. “I am really proud to be a Grenadier. You arrive at the races and you feel that you have the support and structure behind you.”
Early in the autumn of 2021, team boss Dave Brailsford answered questions about speculation Bernal’s departure, dispelling the unfounded reports. The French daily L’Equipe poured gas on the speculation fire, suggesting a possible exit to such teams as Movistar, Israel Start-Up Nation, and even Cofidis.
Speaking to ESPN, Brailsford said Bernal is a “key rider” on the team and said he has two years left on his five-year contract through 2023 with the UK-registered team.
“He’s one of our absolute key riders on the team, now and going forward,” Brailsford said. “Like always, we are looking to the future, and we’d like very much for him to be part of our future.”
At the time, Bernal was still in the midst of a contract that had him with the Ineos-Grenadiers through the end of the 2023 season.