Egan Bernal says winning all three Grand Tours is the 'biggest goal in my career now'

The Colombian star comes into the Vuelta a España as one of the big favourites for the title

Egan Bernal at the Vuelta a España 2021 team presentation
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Egan Bernal has had an excellent season so far, with victory at the Giro d'Italia in May showing that the Colombian has overcome his back problems that saw him abandon the 2020 Tour de France.

Now he joins a super-strong Ineos Grenadiers team for the final Grand Tour of the year, the Vuelta a España, where he hopes to add the red jersey to his Giro and Tour victories to complete the set of Grand Tour wins.

In a pre-race press conference, Bernal said: "For me, to win the three big Tours would be like a dream. It is my biggest goal in my career now. But this is the first time I do two Grand Tours in one year so I don’t know how my body will react. 

>>> Vuelta a España 2021 start list: Egan Bernal, Primož Roglič and Adam Yates star in the 76th edition of the race

"I’m feeling good but I don’t want too much pressure on myself so I just want to do this race and what happens, happens. I just want to see how I race in two Grand Tours in one year and if there was the opportunity, I would like to win for sure."

Bernal won the Giro by 1-29 over surprise second-place Damiano Caruso (Bahrain Victorious) with a fading Simon Yates (BikeExchange) in third. Yates is not riding the Vuelta after riding both the Giro and the Tour but Caruso does return to a support role for his leader Mikel Landa, who won the recent Vuelta a Burgos.

Ineos have also got multiple leaders for this race including Bernal, along with Adam Yates and Olympic road race champion Richard Carapaz.

So far, this tactic has not worked for any team since 2019 when Ineos took first and second in the Tour de France with Bernal taking the win ahead of Geraint Thomas.

Bernal remained coy on how the team would perform at the Vuelta with multiple leaders: "I think any race is different. We can’t compare the Giro d’Italia or the Tour de France with the Vuelta. I don’t know, we need to see how we are. We have raced a lot this year and now we don’t know how, with this hot weather, we will react. We just need to be calm."

But the three potential leaders, if all are on top form, could be vital in beating the red hot favourite and defending champion, Primož Roglič (Jumbo-Visma), with wave after wave of attacking being a potential option in the mountains.

"I don’t know which tactic is the best," Bernal said. "First you need to have the legs to go on the attack, it’s not that easy. Say I go on the attack, then the other and the other, it’s not that easy. 

"We need to see, be calm and wait for our opportunity. Roglič is the Olympic champion in the time trial, the first stage we have a prologue and the last stage is another time trial, so people like me will lose a little bit of time there but we have to be patient and wait for our opportunity. It's a three week race and if you have the legs there will be an opportunity to do something.”

The Vuelta starts on Saturday, August 14 with a 7.1km prologue around the city of Burgos, starting inside the cathedral and finishing just outside after a hilly course.

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Tim Bonville-Ginn

Hi, I'm one of Cycling Weekly's content writers for the web team responsible for writing stories on racing, tech, updating evergreen pages as well as the weekly email newsletter. Proud Yorkshireman from the UK's answer to Flanders, Calderdale, go check out the cobbled climbs!

I started watching cycling back in 2010, before all the hype around London 2012 and Bradley Wiggins at the Tour de France. In fact, it was Alberto Contador and Andy Schleck's battle in the fog up the Tourmalet on stage 17 of the Tour de France.

It took me a few more years to get into the journalism side of things, but I had a good idea I wanted to get into cycling journalism by the end of year nine at school and started doing voluntary work soon after. This got me a chance to go to the London Six Days, Tour de Yorkshire and the Tour of Britain to name a few before eventually joining Eurosport's online team while I was at uni, where I studied journalism. Eurosport gave me the opportunity to work at the world championships in Harrogate back in the awful weather.

After various bar jobs, I managed to get my way into Cycling Weekly in late February of 2020 where I mostly write about racing and everything around that as it's what I specialise in but don't be surprised to see my name on other news stories.

When not writing stories for the site, I don't really switch off my cycling side as I watch every race that is televised as well as being a rider myself and a regular user of the game Pro Cycling Manager. Maybe too regular.

My bike is a well used Specialized Tarmac SL4 when out on my local roads back in West Yorkshire as well as in northern Hampshire with the hills and mountains being my preferred terrain.