Egan Bernal was part of a generation where supertalents who can thrive on many terrains began to emerge. The antecessor to the likes of Tadej Pogacar, Primoz Roglic or Remco Evenepoel. The Colombian doesn't believe they have something special above the regular strong pro, and wants to reach that level once again.
"I know the original plan was for me to be competing against these guys in the Grand Tours. I think it was bad luck for us, both for me as a rider and, of course, for Ineos as a team," Bernal said in an interview with Cyclingnews at the Saitama Criterium, where he also discussed his injury and it's effects on his career.
Tadej Pogacar on Jonas Vingegaard: "We will meet in the other races as well and have a rivalry that will go in the history books"
Over the past few years he's watched the rise of the likes of Tadej Pogacar and Jonas Vingegaard, who became the new benchmarks when it comes to Grand Tour racing. He talks of them: "They are really competitive. They really want to win every race. They arrive in good form to win, and you need some strong, hard work to do that. Now it's something I really cannot do, but I’m trying to do my best to arrive in the best level possible."
"When I was going well in '19, I won Paris-Nice, Suisse - I was starting to win everything. I don't think they have something we don't have, or I have something they don't have. All champions have that strong mentality. It would be great to see how my level is compared with them in a normal situation," he adds. "I don't know if it will be possible after everything, but that's what I'm trying to do."
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The 26-year old is part of INEOS Grenadiers who has in recent years been strongly overtaken by both Jumbo-Visma and UAE Team Emirates when it comes to competitive level at the Grand Tours. He explains his motivation in 2017 to go on to join the British team: "Since I was a kid, Froomey was like a hero for me. What he did, winning four Tours de France, the Giro, the Vuelta - everything he did is just amazing. And actually, I chose Sky because of him. Because I wanted to be part of his team. Just to be in his team for me was a dream."
"And now with this accident, it is kind of similar (to Chris Froomes situation, ed.), I have talked with him, and it shows me that you have to do what you want to do for yourself, not for other people. I have a lot of respect for Froomey, for what’s he’s doing. It gives me a lot of morale to continue, to be honest." Both riders are on their way trying to recover a strong level after brutal injuries, and both run a path that is inspirational.