Egan Bernal will not ride the Tour de France in 2021

The Colombian also says the Olympics is in doubt due to his back pain that forced him out of the Tour de France last year

Egan Bernal after stage 16 of the Giro d'Italia 2021
(Image credit: Marco Alpozzi/Getty Images)

Egan Bernal has confirmed that he will not be taking part in this year's Tour de France after the Giro d'Italia, due to the continued back pain that forced him out of the Tour last year.

Bernal (Ineos Grenadiers) has also put doubts on whether he will be on the plane to Tokyo for the Olympic Games later on in the summer.

The Colombian climber has put on a truly incredible show at the Giro so far, leading the race by 2-24 over his nearest rival, Damiano Caruso (Bahrain Victorious) thanks to his attacks in the mountains.

>>> 'The war is far from over' at the Giro d'Italia 2021, according to Romain Bardet

Speaking in his rest day press conference, Bernal said: "I think I won’t go to the Tour, I think guys who are now in the Tour team can do really well. 

"I prefer to just focus on the second part of the season, maybe ride La Vuelta [a España]. I’m not sure about the Olympics because I still have problems in my back.

"I’m not going to lie, it still hurts me sometimes, more than anything up to half way through than at the end of the stages,

"It worries me because this could be affecting the lower back and all that area. We are doing physiotherapy every day and I think it’ll hold up for the rest of the race, I don’t think the pain will suddenly go off the scale.  So I’m confident all will be well until then."

Bernal's back problems emerged during the 2020 season, believed to be caused by a discrepancy in the length of his legs, and after he fell out of contention on stage 15 of the Tour to Grand Colombier, he then pulled out of the race after stage 16 to begin his rehabilitation. 

Ineos Grenadiers and Bernal have worked on a strict plan for managing his back pain with the help of team coach Xabi Artetxe, who made the decision to not let Bernal race after Tirreno-Adriatico and instead return to Colombia to train.

The 2019 Tour de France winner also said that if he does not feel that he is on top form he won't go to the Olympics.

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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.