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Egan Bernal extends with Ineos Grenadiers through 2026

Colombian Egan Bernal of Team Ineos wearing the yellow jersey pictured ahead of the final stage of the 106th edition of the Tour de France cycling race from Rambouillet to Paris ChampsElysees 128km France Sunday 28 July 2019 This years Tour de France starts in Brussels and takes place from July 6th to July 28thBELGA PHOTO YORICK JANSENS Photo credit should read YORICK JANSENSAFP via Getty Images
Bernal won the Tour de France in 2019 (Image credit: Getty Images)

Egan Bernal will race for Ineos Grenadiers for a further five years, renewing his contract through to the 2026 season, the British team announced on Monday.

The Colombian, who is the reigning Giro d'Italia champion, has spent four seasons with the team since moving from Androni Giocattoli in 2018. He won the Tour de France in 2019 and can also count Paris-Nice and the Tour de Suisse among a glittering palmarès.

Bernal, who turns 25 this week, had another two years remaining on his previous contract, taking him to the end of 2023, but he and the team have now agreed on what they have called a 'new five-year deal'.

"It's really important, signing this new contract," Bernal said. "I am really happy in this team. I am really proud of the team, the staff, and I'm signing now for my most important years. It will be my best years and I want to spend this time with this team.

"I am really proud to be a Grenadier. You arrive at the races and you feel that you have the support and structure behind you. The thing about this team that I noticed right from the beginning is that everyone is working towards one goal. You can see and feel that everyone loves the sport, they are all really devoted and have an all-in mentality."

Bernal confirmed that he will target the Tour de France this season, returning to the race after a troubled attempt to defend his title in 2020 saw him leave the race late on with a persistent back injury.

"I really want to go back to the Tour," he said. "I skipped last year because of the Giro, but it feels like it's been a long time since I was at the Tour. So, I am really excited about this year. I want to go back having prepared really well, taking a good team, and being there to really enjoy the race."

Speculation in the Colombian and Italian media had speculated that Bernal was unhappy at Ineos and was looking to engineer a move away, but he has committed his future with a deal that will take him through his 29th birthday. He becomes the first rider at the squad to commit to staying past the middle of the decade, with neo-pros Luke Plapp, Magnus Sheffield and Ben Tulett, along with returning sprinter Elia Viviani, all signed through 2024.

Deputy team principal Rod Ellingworth praised Bernal's courage and fighting spirit, which saw him hold onto the Giro lead after coming under pressure from Simon Yates and Damiano Caruso during the final week. September saw him make his Vuelta a España debut, finishing in sixth place as teammate Adam Yates took fourth.

"We have seen Egan really grow over the last four years with the team," Ellingworth said. "He's demonstrated time and again that he is a phenomenal talent. He has also shown that, in the challenging moments, he has a huge amount of courage to pick himself up, lay himself on the line and go again.

"As a Grenadier and as a teammate, you can't ask for much more than that. This season is going to be hugely competitive. Egan and the whole team are motivated to go all in and come out fighting."

Bernal's full 2022 racing schedule has yet to be confirmed, though the Tour will be his major goal of the season. Back in November, he confirmed that his long-term back injury was now a thing of the past, a positive sign ahead of the upcoming season.

"I think I have fully recovered, but nevertheless we have been monitoring the evolution through physiotherapy sessions, strengthening in the gym, and I'm hoping to start the cycling year and continue without anything that could affect my performance on the bike," he said.

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Daniel Ostanek

Daniel Ostanek has been a staff writer at Cyclingnews since August 2019, having joined in 2017 as a freelance contributor and later part-time production editor. 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.