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Egan Bernal dismisses rumours of discontent at Ineos Grenadiers

RINCON DE LA VICTORIA SPAIN AUGUST 24 Egan Arley Bernal Gomez of Colombia and Team INEOS Grenadiers White Best Young Rider Jersey during the 76th Tour of Spain 2021 Stage 10 a 189km stage from Roquetas de Mar to Rincn de la Victoria lavuelta LaVuelta21 on August 24 2021 in Rincon De La Victoria Spain Photo by Tim de WaeleGetty Images
Bernal (centre) at the recent Vuelta a España (Image credit: Tim de Waele/Getty Images)

Egan Bernal has dismissed rumours that he had grown unhappy at Ineos Grenadiers and that he was ever entertaining the idea of moving teams this winter. 

A report in the Italian media in September was picked up by Colombian newspapers, leading to speculation over the future of the former Tour de France winner and current Giro d'Italia champion. 

Ineos Grenadiers boss Dave Brailsford pointed out that Bernal has another two years left on his current contract, but the Colombian had declined to comment publicly on the matter, until now. 

The 24-year-old was in Dubai this weekend for the Giro d'Italia Criterium, where he told Cyclingnews about his plans to return to the Tour de France next year, and where he was also asked by Marca about the speculation, specifically links to Israel Start-Up Nation.

"I never spoke with Israel," Bernal stated. 

"Clearly many things get talked about, it's in the news, but I didn't want to get into that game of saying 'I'm not going anywhere', or whatever. Nothing ever happened."

Bernal also addressed the supposed basis for the speculation, namely that he was frustrated with team tactics during the Vuelta a España, where he shared leadership with Adam Yates. 

The pair lagged behind Primož Roglič and were sitting fifth and sixth respectively until the penultimate stage, where a tactical split in the favourites' group saw Yates ride up into fourth place while Bernal had to hold back and slip to sixth. 

"No. No, no, no. Just no, honestly," Bernal said when asked if he had any problems with the team or with Yates during the Vuelta. 

"I got on with Yates super well. He's a really calm guy, a rider with a lot of class. It really did go super well. It was the first race I did with him and it was all good. There is no problem, honestly."

Bernal is set to lead the line for Ineos Grenadiers at next year's Tour de France, telling Cyclingnews that, despite being the defending champion at the Giro, "it's time to be back at the Tour".

Bernal won the Tour as a 22-year-old in 2019 but struggled with a back injury the following year and abandoned early, before looking for a fresh approach this year with the Giro, which he won on his debut. As well as Yates, Ineos Grenadiers have Geraint Thomas, Richard Carapaz, Tao Geoghegan Hart, and Pavel Sivakov to factor into their Grand Tour leadership equation.

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