01 April 2020

Tour de France winner Egan Bernal stops training amid confusion about race schedule

Colombian Egan Bernal has stopped training less than three months out from the Tour de France as question marks remain about whether the world's biggest bike race will go ahead this summer.

The 23 year-old became the youngest winner of the three-week stage for 110 years when he rode to victory last year, finishing one minute and 11 seconds ahead of teammate and 2018 champion Geraint Thomas.

But while Bernal was gearing up for another tilt at the crown this year, the uncertainty around whether the Tour will go ahead due to coronavirus has meant the youngster has taken a break from riding for the time being.

As a result of the cycling season being halted due to the COVID-19 pandemic, he has returned home to Colombia where there are still 15 days left of their scheduled lockdown.

And Spanish website Ciclo21 are reporting that Bernal has told the Colombian Cycling Federation he would rather the Tour be postponed.

He said: "This enforced stop is affecting all of us, even for the Tour de France if it happens in July because one or another contender may not be up to it for then as their build-ups will be different. It could be better if it was delayed.

"For the good of cycling, for the sponsors who invest a lot of money and who are taking a hit with the lockdown, I hope they (the Grand Tours) happen.

"If they don't take place, it would be very serious, but we have to see how this all evolves. What's clear is that the world has to go on and this [Covid-19] has to end at some point."

The other major Grand Tours of the year are the Giro d'Italia and the Vuelta a Espana.

A decision is yet to be made on the Vuelta as that starts in the August, but the Giro, which was set for May, has already been postponed.

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