Egan Bernal upbeat after battle with Jonas Vingegaard at Gran Camino: "It feels good to be back there"

Egan Bernal finished second to Jonas Vingegaard at Gran Camiño last afternoon and took great confidence from it. In a brutal rainy day, the Colombian was the closest contender to the Tour de France champion.

"To be honest, it was a bit strange to compete with the boys in the front group again. But it feels good to be back there, fighting for the stage victory," Bernal said in a post-race interview. "After all, we always aim for the highest possible result and in this case that was a stage victory. However, a second place is also very special. It will give me confidence for the future." After a fifth place at the Tour Colombia earlier this season, Bernal made the trip to Europe and led INEOS Grenadiers in the Spanish race alongside Carlos Rodríguez.

However he turned out to be the one with the best legs. In the final ascent he and Jefferson Alveiro Cepeda followed Jonas Vingegaard's first attack, but were then both dropped in a second acceleration. "I waited for him for a while on the climb so that we could ride to the finish together," Bernal said, with the duo limiting their losses to 24 seconds but gaining time on the competition. "He did a great job on the climb, so it was a good idea to work together in the last kilometers."

Hence it was a very promising result to kick off his European campaign for the year, and it gives expectations of finishing on the podium of the race. However he admits the weather got to him: "It was extreme. You try to stay warm and optimistic, but at a certain point it's enough. It wasn't funny anymore. But it's part of racing. It's part of the sport." Bernal did perform well however, and within the next two stages will have two more important tests before returning to World Tour racing.

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