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.
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."
Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1
*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription
Try your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1
Alasdair Fotheringham has been reporting on cycling since 1991. He has covered every Tour de France since 1992 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. Apart from working for Cyclingnews.com, he is also the cycling correspondent for The Independent and The Independent on Sunday.
Thank you for signing up to Cycling News. You will receive a verification email shortly.
There was a problem. Please refresh the page and try again.