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'Egan Bernal is mentally strong and will come back from this' says his agent Giuseppe Acquadro

VILLARDDELANS FRANCE SEPTEMBER 15 Start Egan Arley Bernal Gomez of Colombia and Team INEOS Grenadiers during the 107th Tour de France 2020 Stage 16 a 164km stage from La TourDuPin to VillardDeLans 1152m Auberge de la Cte 2000 TDF2020 LeTour on September 15 2020 in VillardDeLans France Photo by Marco Bertorello PoolGetty Images
Egan Bernal at the 2021 Vuelta a España (Image credit: Getty Images Sport)

Egan Bernal faces a long spell of recovery and rehabilitation due to the multiple fractures he suffered after hitting a bus while training in Colombia, but his agent Giuseppe Acquadro is hoping that the Ineos Grenadiers rider can eventually return to racing and continue his successful Grand Tour career. 

Bernal was born on January 13, the same day as Marco Pantani. The Italian suffered an exposed tibia and fibula fractured in his lower left leg after being hit by a car in 1995 but recovered and went on to win the Giro d’Italia and Tour de France in 1998. 

Bernal’s injuries are perhaps more complex, but he can benefit from more modern medical techniques to aid his rehabilitation. He underwent emergency neurological spinal surgery on several vertebrae overnight, with the procedure described as a 'success' by doctors

He also fractured his right femur and needed osteosynthesis surgery. He had a similar operation on an open fracture of the kneecap, as well as treatment for a collapsed lung.

"Egan and Marco Pantani were born on the same day and have suffered similar bad luck in accidents. Let’s hope that Egan recovers just as well as Marco did and goes on to have the same success," Acquadro told Cyclingnews, trying to be optimistic after spending the night in contact with people in Colombia to understand the outcome of Bernal’s surgery.

Acquadro intends to travel to Colombia to see Bernal, perhaps when he can leave the hospital. 

"I understand everything went well and now Egan is in intensive care. He’s in good hands, the hospital in Bogota is very good. People from the team are with him and so are his family. That’s important."

Acquadro has worked with and advised Bernal for much of his career. Few people know him better. He expects Bernal will use the same determination he used to win races when he begins to recover from his injuries. 

"It’s a huge blow because he was really looking forward to the new season and targeting the Tour de France but, knowing him, he’ll soon be motivated to fight back and recover. We’ll be there to help him all the way," Acquadro said.   

"Egan is mentally strong and will come back from this. When he focuses on a goal, he’s incredible. He was looking forward to duelling with Tadej Pogačar and Primož Roglič but that now won’t happen for a while. 

"He’d got over his back problems and had been working hard for six months. This is another setback but we can only hope he makes a full recovery."

Acquadro is an agent for a number of other riders, including Nairo Quintana, who was hit by a car while training in Colombia in the summer of 2020. A huge number of riders and people across the sport showed their support for Bernal on social media.  

"Egan is a good guy and people see that," Acquadro said. 

"He does a lot to help other people, even behind the scenes. He respects his rivals and they respect him. Every cyclist knows the dangers of training on the roads and so share the pain when accidents like this happen. I’m sure the support will help Egan."

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Stephen is the most experienced member of the Cyclingnews team, having reported on professional cycling since 1994. He has held the position of European editor since 2012 and previously worked for Reuters, Shift Active Media, and Cycling Weekly, among other publications.