Egan Bernal promises to return to fight for Tour de France in years to come

GRAND COLOMBIER FRANCE SEPTEMBER 13 Arrival Egan Arley Bernal Gomez of Colombia and Team INEOS Grenadiers during the 107th Tour de France 2020 Stage 15 a 1745km stage from Lyon to Grand Colombier 1501m TDF2020 LeTour on September 13 2020 in Grand Colombier France Photo by Thibault Camus PoolGetty Images
Egan Bernal of Team INEOS Grenadiers lost seven minutes in GC standings on Stage 15 (Image credit: Getty Images)

Defending Tour de France champion Egan Bernal (Ineos Grenadiers) has promised that despite his stinging defeat on the Grand Colombier on Sunday he will both remain in the race and will return to fight another year.

Bernal is currently positioned 13th, more than eight minutes down on race leader Primož Roglič (Jumbo-Visma).

Speaking on the Tour's rest day, the 23-year-old Colombian promised that he had not written off his future options in the race and that he was certain to return in the years to come. He also insisted that he did not regard his year as a failure because, as he put it, "I tried my best and gave everything I had."

"I feel a bit better today, a bit more relaxed because I think I have no regrets about yesterday [stage 15], about my season," Bernal said about finishing 25th on stage 15, more than seven minutes behind Roglič.

"In every stage we did, we were fighting full gas for this race, for this dream that we've had since the last Tour," said Bernal.

Bernal said he felt proud to wear the number one dorsal as defending champion in this year's Tour, but did not feel pressure to perform, "just a kind of respect for the race because I know this is the most difficult race in the world, with the best riders.

"I've won one Tour. I was the first Colombian to do so, I'm really proud of that. And for sure I will try again," Bernal said. "I'm hungry to win races. But if I don't win again, no one [can] change that, I've won already."

His objectives from here to Paris were to recover as best he could and help the other riders, "take some bidons to them, try to do this kind of work that I've never done. And then I don't know, maybe try to go in some kind of breakaway, for sure without thinking about GC."

He said he would even be prepared to lose more time in order to have more freedom of manoeuvre on those stages.

"It all depends on how the feelings are and how my back is because it's still feeling a bit painful. But we will see."

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Alasdair Fotheringham

Alasdair Fotheringham has been reporting on cycling since 1991. He has covered every Tour de France since 1992 bar one, as well as numerous other bike races of all shapes and sizes, ranging from the Olympic Games in 2008 to the now sadly defunct Subida a Urkiola hill climb in Spain. As well as working for Cyclingnews, he has also written for The IndependentThe GuardianProCycling, The Express and Reuters.