“I’m very happy to sign a new contract with Team Sky,” Bernal said in a statement released on Friday. “It feels like a new stage in my life. I know five years is a long time and that it’s not too common in cycling, but the team has been great for me. They offer me everything I could want and I’m excited about the future.”
Still only 21, Bernal signed for Team Sky at the end of last season after two successful years with Androni Giocattoli and overall victory at the 2017 Tour de l’Avenir while riding for the Colombian national team. He made his debut in Team Sky colours at the Tour Down Under, where he finished sixth overall. In February, he won the Colombian national time trial title and the inaugural edition of the Colombia Oro y Paz stage race. He looked set to finish on the podium at the Volta a Catalunya a month later, but crashed out in the final kilometres of the last stage.
Since then, Bernal has gone on to finish second at the Tour de Romandie, win the Tour of California and he made his Grand Tour debut at the Tour de France – where he took 16th overall as well as supporting team leaders Geraint Thomas and Chris Froome. He has not raced since suffering facial injuries in a crash at the Clasica San Sebastian but is due to return at the Giro dell'Emilia race in Italy on Saturday.
“I imagined my first year with the team would be different and I was nervous before I joined. But I found great people, a team that was ready to help me, and I enjoyed a good season. It was made easy for me,” Bernal said. “My ambition is to keep developing as a rider – to learn from and help the best and become a key member of the team for many years to come. For me there is no better place to do that than Team Sky. I’m really happy here because I have everything I could ask for. It’s a dream team and I don’t see myself anywhere else.”
Team Sky manager Dave Brailsford was happy to have secured the services of the young Colombian for years to come and pointed to him as a future Grand Tour leader for the British WorldTour team.
“This is an important moment in the development of the team. A five-year deal in cycling is exceptional, but Egan is an exceptional talent,” said Brailsford. “It is the clearest signal of our belief in Egan as a rider, with the potential to win the biggest races in the world in the coming years. Age is no barrier to ability.
“Egan is part of the next generation at Team Sky, our next big leader for Grand Tours in the years to come, as we continue to build for a bigger and better future. He is a top talent who has already shown his mental and physical strength in recent months. He will only keep on improving.”
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