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Brailsford says Bernal will fulfil his contract with Ineos

Egan Bernal was second in the young rider classification and sixth overall at the 2021 Vuelta a España
Egan Bernal was second in the young rider classification and sixth overall at the 2021 Vuelta a España (Image credit: Bettini Photo)

After rumours that Egan Bernal was unhappy at Ineos were shot down by the rider's agent, team principal Dave Brailsford assured Colombian reporter Juan Charry that Bernal would remain with the team to the end of his current contract.

"He's still got two years on his contract. We're in the third year of a five-year contract with Egan, so for sure we have another two years before his contract expires," Brailsford said in a video interview from Belgium where Ineos Grenadiers were announcing a partnership with clothing manufacturer Bioracer.

"We've very proud of Egan, he's a brilliant rider. We've always had a great relationship with Colombian riders. He's won the Tour de France for us, and again he proved how fantastic he is the way he won the Giro this year. He's one of our absolute key riders in the team now and going forward."

Bernal endured a difficult 2020 season struggling with a back injury and was unable to defend his 2019 Tour de France title. After extensive rehab in the off-season, he landed on the podium of the Tour de la Provence in February and was fourth in Tirreno-Adriatico. In the Giro d'Italia, he took the race lead after winning stage 9 at Campo Felice and never relinquished the pink jersey.

A tilt at winning the Vuelta a España, however, did not pan out. Bernal shared leadership with Richard Carapaz and Adam Yates but ultimately came away without a podium result - Yates finished fourth and Bernal sixth.

Earlier this month rumours swirled about Bernal's relationship with the British WorldTour squad and linked him to a possible move to Israel Start-Up Nation.

"There's nothing true about this story," Bernal's agent Giuseppe Acquadro told Cyclingnews.

"Egan has a two-year deal with Ineos Grenadiers and he's happy at the team. He is already focusing on the Tour de France next year and I don't know where this story is from.

"In two years, I don't know because it's a long time and I can't tell the future but he is very happy at the team," he added. "He's happy with his team and his teammates. He already has a very good rapport with Adam Yates at the Vuelta. He's been there three or four years already and he's settled. He's happy."