It was a tough day for Team Ineos in the road race at the Colombian National Championships in Tunja on Sunday, as their star riders Egan Bernal and Ivan Sosa crashed out of contention for the victory.
EF Pro Cycling's Sergio Higuita took a solo win in Tunja and was crowned the new Colombian national road race champion.
"A gutsy ride from [Egan Bernal] sees him finish second in the road race at #Nacionales2020. He leads home the chasing pack following his earlier crash. Higuita (EF1) takes the win," Team Ineos confirmed on Twitter.
The elite men raced 217km on a course that started and finished in Tunja. The Team Ineos roster included Bernal and Sosa, along with Sebastian Henao and Brandon Rivera.
Bernal, the 2019 Tour de France champion, was the first of Team Ineos to go down after he slid out on a descent during the last 45km of the race.
He sustained visible wounds to his right hip and arm, but he managed to get back on his bike and re-join the chase group to finish second behind solo winner Higuita. EF Pro Cycling's Daniel Martinez finished on the podium in third, just days after he won the time trial title.
Sosa was involved in the winning breakaway with Higuita with 20km to go, and the pair had roughly 30 seconds on a chase group. However, Team Ineos confirmed that Sosa had crashed through a right-hand corner which ended his chances of contesting the final for the national champion's jersey.
After Sosa crashed, Higuita continued a solo effort through the final kilometres and crossed the finish line alone with the win in Tunja.
Bernal rebounded from his earlier crash and was the first from the chase group to cross the line in second, while Martinez took third and Quintana fourth.
The Colombian National Championships is where Bernal chose to start his season. He will next line up at the Tour Colombia, held from February 11-16, with teammates Sosa, Rivera, Henao, and Richard Carapaz and Jhonatan Narvaez. His primary target this season will be defending his title at the Tour de France in July.
.@Eganbernal 's crash at the Colombian Nats, courtesy of @Don_Fabiancho . Very nasty. #Nacionales2020 https://t.co/pmjbY1YiqpFebruary 2, 2020