Egan Bernal has shared shocking revelations from the severe crash he was involved in at the end of January, which left him requiring seven separate surgeries to treat the 20 broken bones and two collapsed lungs he suffered in the incident.
Speaking in his first interview since the crash, Bernal candidly discusses specific details from the crash in a 50-minute long video with Semana, posted to the Colombian news outlet's YouTube channel.
“I did an interval, ahead of my team-mates, I look ahead and there’s nothing,” he said.
“There’s a car behind me that’s escorting me. I keep doing my interval and I remember that I was going 58 kilometres per hour. That is like throwing down and the wind is in your favour. I was going 58. I start looking and it was 59, 60, 61, 62, and it was when I saw that speed that I crashed into the bus.
“I crashed into the bus at 62 kilometres per hour. The bus was still. At that moment, imagine the pain.”
In the last week on social media, Bernal has shared a video of himself walking unaided for 30 seconds while in a neck and back brace, before then sharing footage of himself riding a stationary bike, captioning it: "Never let anyone tell you that you can't do something."
During the video interview with Semana, the Colombian again acknowledges how grateful he is to be alive.
“I’m alive, it’s like a second chance. It’s like being born again and I enjoy every little thing that happens to me."
Bernal also clarifies no one is to blame for the accident, suggesting there is always an element of risk to cycling, but one that riders have to take in order to improve and prepare properly.
“Unfortunately we are not football and we cannot train in a stadium, in a coliseum, we have to be exposed to this kind of thing.
“My normal training can be 270 kilometres from Zipaquirá to Tunja, round trip, thousands of things can happen. One has to be aware. There are risks that could be avoided, but we couldn’t stop doing the training on the open road because otherwise I couldn’t win the Tour de France."
For the foreseeable future Bernal is continuing his recovery and rehabilitation at his home in Colombia, with the intention to one day compete at the sharp end for Grand Tours honours once again.
While he understands that is a tough ask, especially considering how difficult they are to win in normal circumstances, Bernal also wants to become the best version of himself. For Bernal, that means replicating his 2019 Tour de France and 2021 Giro d'Italia form.
“I don’t know if I’m going to be at that level of winning a Tour de France again, because it’s already difficult.
“If it is difficult when you are completely well, I don’t know what it will be like now.
"But I want to be the best version of Egan Bernal. What Egan Bernal can do right now, obviously I’m going to work to get to that level. I think that in fact I bring out my best version in these moments when I have an injury, I feel that I can be a little bit more focussed and that’s what I want, what I want to aim for.”
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