Egan Bernal's comeback progresses with out-of-the-saddle climbing

Egan Bernal and Ineos Grenadiers celebrate winning the 2021 Giro d'Italia
Egan Bernal and Ineos Grenadiers celebrate winning the 2021 Giro d'Italia (Image credit: Getty Images)

It has been 105 days since Egan Bernal suffered what he called a life-threatening crash while training in Colombia, and he made another step in his journey back to the peloton, posting on social media that he climbed out of the saddle for the first time.

The winner of the 2021 Giro d'Italia was training with his Ineos Grenadiers teammates on his time trial bike on January 24 when he rode into the back of a stopped municipal bus. 

The force of the impact left him with 20 different fractures, including one to his vertebra that he said "had a 95 per cent chance" of him becoming a paraplegic.

As the fractures healed, Bernal began returning first to a stationary trainer, then gradually back to riding on the road. In early April, he hosted a Zwift ride, before which he expressed his gratitude for the lessons the road to recovery brought.

"I actually received an important lesson from this accident, so absurdly I'm actually thankful for having lived through this experience," Bernal said. "Before, I was only focused on cycling and being the best rider in the world. But the real priority in life is to feel good and be able to be with those who love us."

Since then, Bernal returned to Europe to train with the team and while speculation about his return to competition heated up with that news, Ineos maintain they have not made plans for him to resume competition.

Deputy team manager Rod Ellingworth told Cyclingnews late last month that it is too soon to talk about Bernal's racing schedule.

“Egan's absolutely made a faster recovery than anybody could have predicted, and I would say a lot of that comes down to him and that burning desire to come back,” Ellingworth said.

“So he is coming back. But there's no expectation and there are absolutely no plans yet to get racing. It’s way too early to predict when he might come back. There’s just no point in even putting a date out there.”

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Laura Weislo
Managing Editor

Laura Weislo has been with Cyclingnews since 2006 after making a switch from a career in science. As Managing Editor, she coordinates coverage for North American events and global news. As former elite-level road racer who dabbled in cyclo-cross and track, Laura has a passion for all three disciplines. When not working she likes to go camping and explore lesser traveled roads, paths and gravel tracks. Laura's specialises in covering doping, anti-doping, UCI governance and performing data analysis.