Egan Bernal, the defending Tour de France champion, has not ruled out taking on the Giro d’Italia in 2020 but admitted that a return to France would be his primary target and that he is not worried about sharing leadership.
Speaking at the unveiling of the 2020 Tour de France route in Paris on Tuesday, the Colombian appeared impressed with ASO’s next three-week race route.
The 2020 Tour contains just 36km of time trialing, all of which is crammed into the penultimate stage and comes in the form of a mountain time trial. There is no place for a flat time trial or a team time trial, with ASO instead choosing to litter the entire race with summit finishes and medium mountain stages.
"It will be a good parcours for a good climber because there’s one time trial and the final part of the race will be really hard," Bernal told Cyclingnews and other members of the media after Christian Prudhomme unveiled next year’s route.
"There are really steep climbs, really hard climbs and I think that people will try and attack. That will be good and it will mean a good Tour to watch on TV."
Bernal and his Team Ineos squad are spoilt for choice when it comes to potential leaders for next year’s race. As well as the Colombian, the team have four-time Tour de France winner Chris Froome, 2018 winner Geraint Thomas, and new recruit Richard Carapaz, who won this year's Giro d'Italia.
The biggest challenge facing the squad’s management and team boss Dave Brailsford will be how to split their unrivaled resources next season. Thomas has made hints at returning to the Giro, while Froome has already claimed that Bernal would be willing to work for him next July.
Bernal remained as on the fence as possible in Paris, unwilling to call himself an undisputed Tour leader and also suggesting that the team would need to analyse the Tour de France route in full before deciding on their course of action.
"First we need to take the decision over whether I go to the Tour or not. We have really good riders who can win the Tour. We need to be calm, talk to the team and to Dave and then analyse the parcours," he said.
"I would like to come back to the Tour next year but I also have a lot of respect for the Giro and the Vuelta. We’ll see what the decision of the team is. For sure I want to come back as I’m the last winner. It would be nice to come back with number one on my back. It’s not just me in this team, though; there are other riders."
When asked if he was worried about not heading into the Tour de France as the sole leader of Team Ineos, Bernal responded: "No, I’m not worried about that. Last year I didn’t go in as the sole leader and I won it.
"But there are other races, as well. First we have to decide whether to do the Tour or the Giro. They’re both very beautiful races. I have a lot of respect for the Giro, and also for the Vuelta – the three Grand Tours. But, in truth, I won’t be making a decision based on fear of not being the leader, because, at the end of the day, it’s the road that puts everyone in their place."
Tour de France 2020 route video