Egan Bernal has given an update on his progress following his career-threatening crash in January, stating that he's not yet thinking about his return to racing, though a return for July or August could be in the works.
The Colombian has been continuing his rehabilitation and recovery from the crash, which saw him hit a stationary bus while training on his time trial bike in Colombia. Last month, Bernal started riding outdoors again, following a long period on the indoor trainer.
He suffered fractures to his vertebrae, femur, patella, ribs in the crash, but is now reportedly set to make his comeback before the end of the 2022 season, even if Ineos Grenadiers deputy principal Rod Ellingworth said at the end of April that there were "no plans" on his racing return just yet.
Cyclingnews understands that Bernal could make a return to the peloton in July or August. Any specific dates or races are as-yet unknown, though. It's understood that he and Ineos are set to work out the details of his comeback in the coming weeks.
In an interview with La Gazzetta dello Sport at Thursday's 'Gran Gala del Ciclismo' event in Cuneo, Bernal wouldn't be drawn into naming any return date, however, instead insisting that he isn't thinking about racing just yet.
"In my thoughts [racing] is still far away," he said. "Winning or taking part in a race is not in my head. There is no sure date yet. It is difficult to know when I will be able to come back."
Bernal did, however, say that he would make a return to the Giro d'Italia, the race he won in 2021, next season.
"In 2023 I want to race all the races that I didn't manage to do this year, so I will also return to the Giro, for sure.
"I haven't watched the race that much, but I saw the stage with the finish on Blockhaus. Richard [Carapaz] didn't go wrong. He's one of the favourites and can win."
Bernal said that he's currently doing two hours a day on the bike along with other rehab exercises through the rest of his days.
"I'm doing two hours on the bike because I do gym work in the morning and physiotherapy in the evening. I work all day – I don't have time for anything else.
"When something like this happens to you, it changes your way of thinking. You are more aware of the little things you manage to do every day that you overestimated before – getting up, walking, talking... It's a blessing and now I'm more careful about it."
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Daniel Ostanek is production editor at Cyclingnews, having joined in 2017 as a freelance contributor and later being hired as staff writer. Before Cyclingnews, he was published in numerous publications around the cycling world, including Procycling, CyclingWeekly, CyclingTips, Cyclist, and Rouleur, among others. As well as reporting and writing news and features, Daniel runs the 'How to watch' content throughout the season.
Daniel has reported from the world's top races, including the Tour de France, and has interviewed a number of the sport's biggest stars, including Egan Bernal, Wout van Aert, Remco Evenepoel, Mark Cavendish, and Anna van der Breggen. Daniel rides a 2002 Landbouwkrediet Colnago C40 and his favourite races are Strade Bianche and the Vuelta a España.