Can Egan Bernal go to Tour de France after superb Catalunya performance? "Everything is possible" INEOS says

In 2022 and 2023 Egan Bernal had a slow recovery and build-up towards the Tour de France which was nothing short of impressive, but ultimately did not yield results. Into 2024 the INEOS Grenadiers rider set off to target the Vuelta a España, however his plan may change after a strong performance at the Volta a Catalunya.

“This is a guy who has won the Tour and the Giro, and if you go back to the Egan of before, going for a podium in the Volta a Catalunya was a normal thing,” team DS Zak Dempster told CyclingWeekly. “But he had a serious accident. There was a lot of physio, rehab, and it’s complicated getting back to race at this level. To be producing a performance like this is encouraging. He’s getting better and better."

At this point it is safe to say Bernal is back, or close to his best level once again. Ever since 2021, the level in cycling has increased in the mountains and it's not expected that he'll match the likes of Tadej Pogacar and Jonas Vingegaard. However at the Volta a Catalunya, he rode onto the final podium specially after a superb ride on the queen stage.

The 27-year old will race the Tour de Romandie which will lack many of the world's best climbers, and it is feasible to think of a return to his winning ways in Switzerland. “In terms of putting a definitive goal on it, you hope everything is possible. I am quite sure he will get back to a very, very high level and be as competitive as he is today. He is getting better and we can start to become more ambitious I am sure.”

Because the Vuelta is the last Grand Tour of the season and the only one he hasn't won until today, Bernal has put his focus this year in the Spanish race. Carlos Rodríguez and Tom Pidcock in the meantime set sights on the Tour de France. But after this ride it's not excluded that Bernal may - like last year - change plans and be on the ground in France this year.

“We have to sit down and take stock, to decide as a performance team what exactly is the best plan for him. He is a critical guy for us so we need to have a good conversation about what is the best plan to have him competitive for us in the biggest races," Dempster adds. "So we’ll see after this race. Who knows. We’ll have to see. Everything is possible.”

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