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“We made a couple of mistakes… We didn’t expect to lose so much time, it wasn’t a bad time-trial, what Education First did was a very good time-trial,” said 23-year-old Bernal.
EF Pro Cycling scorched around the 16.7km circuit at Tunja, 2,700m above sea level, in a time of 18:01 to put Ecuador’s Jonathan Caicedo in the leader’s jersey.
The UAE Emirates team with 2015 Vuelta a España winner Fabio Aru came in fifth, losing a minute to EF Pro Cycling.
The first day result puts the likes of Colombian pair Sergio Higuita and Daniel Martinez, in a strong position to challenge for the overall victory, Bernal said.
“It’s going to be difficult to take back so much time,” added Bernal, who won the inaugural Colombian tour, two years ago.
Team INEOS’s line-up also boasts 2019 Giro d’Italia winner Richard Carapaz, of Ecuador.
The entire six-day tour is raced at above 2,500m, with Sunday’s finale ending on the climb to the Puerto de El Verjon at 3,290m.
Wednesday’s third stage is a 152km trek from Paipa to Duitama, in the Boyaca region.