Giro will be Bernal’s big chance to lead Sky

Team Sky clears the way for young Egan Bernal to try his hand at leading the world's most formidable cycling team in the Giro d'Italia.

Egan Bernal (Sky) lines up this week to race on home roads in the Colombia 2.1 race, but he’s already thinking about what lies ahead in May.

Bernal, 22, will get his first opportunity to lead at a grand tour when he headlines Team Sky’s effort at the Giro d’Italia.

“It will be a good experience to be the leader in a grand tour for the first time with the team,” Bernal said of the Giro. “I want to do a good race.”

With both Geraint Thomas and defending Giro champ Chris Froome targeting the Tour de France, the team will rally around the promising young legs of Bernal for the Italian grand tour. Following his sparkling Tour debut last summer, Sky brass is giving the 22-year-old phenom a chance to ride for his own results.

“I don’t mind if I win, come fifth, tenth, whatever — I just want to go there and at the finish of the Giro say I did my best and have that experience,” he said.

Following his season debut alongside Froome at Colombia 2.1 — he won last year’s edition called Colombia Oro y Paz — he’s slated to race Paris-Nice, the Volta a Catalunya and the Tour of the Alps before the Giro in May.

Froome, speaking to Colombian journalists, said Bernal is up to the challenge.

“Egan has a big future,” Froome said. “He’s very young, but he’s improving very fast. He’s very mature and he knows what he has to do. Now he will have his chance to try to win the Giro this year.”

Bernal said he’s ready to handle the hype that will surround his grand tour debut as a team captain. He wants to push himself for a strong result but also knows the race is a way to build for the future.

“It’s for the future, but I want to do a good result,” he said. “I will have a good team behind me and it will be nice to go there as the leader. I’m excited about it.”

For Bernal, the future is now, and he won’t let any opportunity slip past. A Giro with Bernal riding free will only make the race that much more interesting.