Egan Bernal has said he doesn't think he'll be able to win the Vuelta a España this year, but completing the set of Grand Tour victories is on his bucket list.
“I don’t know if I can be at the level you need to be at to win a Grand Tour but I’ll be there,” Bernal told Reuters in Colombia, having returned home after winning the Giro d'Italia.
“Right now my dream would be to one day win the Vuelta a Espana so I could win all of the big three."
Bernal says he had fun at the Giro, having rediscovered his mojo after a difficult 2020 following his Tour de France victory the year before. The Colombian has declared himself "back in the game" and is now relishing going up against the likes of Tadej Pogačar and Primož Roglič in the years to come.
The door had been left open by the rider and his Ineos team boss, Dave Brailsford, as to his potential inclusion in the Tour de France squad, but the British team will instead head to France with Geraint Thomas, Richard Carapaz and Richie Porte.
“I feel bad saying it because any cyclist knows how difficult that is. But I’d say, why not dream?" Bernal said of his ambition to win all three Grand Tours.
"I don’t think it will be this year, but I am 24 years old and maybe one day I can do the Vuelta a España and complete the Triple Crown. It would be a dream come true.”
Ineos' rumoured squad for the Vuelta is equally as frightening for rivals as their Tour one, with Bernal set to be accompanied by not only Adam Yates but also the young British star Tom Pidcock.
Only seven riders have won all three Grand Tours in the history of the sport: Jacques Anquetil, Felice Gimondi, Eddy Merckx, Bernard Hinault, Alberto Contador, Vincenzo Nibali and his former team-mate Chris Froome.
Before returning to Colombia, Bernal, a devout Catholic, met Pope Francis in Rome, gifting him a bicycle.
“This is more important than winning the Giro and the Tour,” Bernal said. “I think I’ve had many experiences in my life, but this is unique. It’s the most beautiful experience I have had in my life."
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Hi. I'm Cycling Weekly's Weekend Editor. I like writing offbeat features and eating too much bread when working out on the road at bike races.
Before joining Cycling Weekly I worked at The Tab and I've also written for Vice, Time Out, and worked freelance for The Telegraph (I know, but I needed the money at the time so let me live).
I also worked for ITV Cycling between 2011-2018 on their Tour de France and Vuelta a España coverage. Sometimes I'd be helping the producers make the programme and other times I'd be getting the lunches. Just in case you were wondering - Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwen had the same ham sandwich every day, it was great.
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