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Bernal ends his season as Froome and Carapaz lead Ineos at Vuelta a Espana

VILLARDDELANS FRANCE SEPTEMBER 15 Start Egan Arley Bernal Gomez of Colombia and Team INEOS Grenadiers during the 107th Tour de France 2020 Stage 16 a 164km stage from La TourDuPin to VillardDeLans 1152m Auberge de la Cte 2000 TDF2020 LeTour on September 15 2020 in VillardDeLans France Photo by Marco Bertorello PoolGetty Images
(Image credit: Getty Images Sport)

Ineos Grenadiers' Egan Bernal will not race again this season as the former Tour de France winner uses the remainder of 2020 to recover and rebuild for next year. 

The decision, which is yet to be formally announced, but which Cyclingnews has had confirmed via several sources, means that the Colombian will not take part in the Vuelta a España (October 20 to November 8). There had been speculation of Bernal riding the Vuelta after he abandoned the Tour de France ahead of stage 17.

Bernal's decision to miss the Vuelta confirms that leadership in the third Grand Tour of this season will fall to Chris Froome and Richard Carapaz

Cyclingnews understands that Andrey Amador, Sebastian Henao, and Ivan Sosa are all in contention for places in the Vuelta squad, while Christian Knees is also a possibility. There are other riders in contention for places, with the full team is set to be announced in the coming days.

The news of Bernal's omission means that his final race of 2020 was the Tour de France. 

The 23-year-old came into the race as the defending champion, but struggled to match some of the best climbers before abandoning due to a back injury that emerged in the build-up to the race. 

After time off the bike, Bernal has focused on his recuperation rather than rushing back for a second Grand Tour in the space of couple of months. He has recently been to Germany for a specialist bike-fit session and is also working in the gym. 

Despite Bernal's absence, Ineos will still head to the Vuelta with hopes of finally putting together a consistent Grand Tour challenge this year.

Chris Froome, who won the Vuelta a España in 2011 and 2017, heads into his final Grand Tour on the team before leaving for a new challenge at Israel Start-Up Nation. 

He decided to move teams before this year's Tour de France and was left out of the Tour team because he hadn't found his best form since his career-threatening crash at last year's Critérium du Dauphiné. He heads into the Vuelta with a huge amount of experience and the chance to leave Ineos on a high but with questions about his form for three weeks of racing. 

Froome will be joined by Richard Carapaz, who will be making his third appearance at the Vuelta a España.

Carapaz was originally meant to defend his Giro d'Italia bid, but was later switched to the Tour de France because Ineos were concerned with the depth of their Tour de France roster and believed that after removing Froome and Thomas from their squad, they needed back-up for Bernal in the mountains in order to realistically challenge Jumbo-Visma.

Geraint Thomas, who was below his best leading into the Tour, was moved to the Giro d'Italia and given the chance to lead the team but crashed on stage 3 and left the race the next morning following confirmation of a fractured pelvis.

Carapaz lost time in the first half of the Tour de France but he bounced back later in the race to finish second on two occasions in the mountains, and finish as the runner-up in the mountains classification behind eventual race winner Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates).

Amador, who, like Carapaz, joined Ineos from Movistar, is also set for a Vuelta start. 

The 34-year-old completed the Tour and is seen as a valuable domestique for the Vuelta mountains. Ivan Sosa will be making his Vuelta a España debut for the team and racing the second Grand Tour of his young career, having competed in the 2019 Giro d'Italia. Henao is another dependable climber and will be fresh after not racing the Tour.