Egan Bernal would rather win Vuelta a España than another Tour de France - but will obey team orders

Giro d'Italia champion says Ineos Grenadiers want him to ride Tour

Egan Bernal attacks at the Vuelta a España 2021
Egan Bernal attacks at the Vuelta a España in 2021
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Egan Bernal has said that he would prefer to win the Vuelta a España rather than another Tour de France, which would mean a complete set of grand tour titles.

The current Giro d'Italia champion has made it clear before that he will be at next year's Tour and attempt to win it for a second time. However, his comments on Colombian television are interesting with regard to his motivation.

He told Win Sports TV's Ciclismo Entre Grandes programme: "If you ask me what I prefer to win, another Tour or the Vuelta, I prefer the Vuelta. There it would go down in history, I would be left with the triple crown."

Only seven cyclists have won all three grand tours, with Chris Froome the most recent, winning all three with Ineos Grenadiers' previous incarnation Team Sky.

The others are Eddy Merckx, Jacques Anquetil, Bernard Hinault, Alberto Contador, Vincenzo Nibali, and Felice Gimondi.

However, Bernal said that he would have to obey his team's wishes and return to the Tour, the site of his first grand tour success in 2019.

"You have to talk to the team," he explained. "You have to obey the team and have respect. I think it's time to go back to the Tour; it's practically two years without going, because in 2020 I retired. 

"I want to go again and prepare it in the best way. The last stage is a time trial and that makes you think."

Last month the Colombian said: "It is clear that we are going to focus all our preparation and efforts thinking about competing in the Tour de France this year. It is time to return to the path that we found in 2019 and from which we have separated a little."

Bernal has only ridden one Vuelta, this year, where he finished 6th overall. Despite this relatively low finish, he impressed, putting in the attack of the race on stage 17 to Lagos de Covadonga.

On this experience, he said: "I have learned much more in that Vuelta than in many races that I have done."

He has ridden the Tour three times, including his 2019 victory, but withdrew the last time he rode the race in 2020 through injury. 

As for other future goals, he expressed an interest in challenging at the World Championship road race. He said: "It would be cool, but it's like riding a Paris-Roubaix: I don't see myself there."

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Adam Becket
Senior news and features writer

Adam is Cycling Weekly’s senior news and feature writer – his greatest love is road racing but as long as he is cycling on tarmac, he's happy. Before joining Cycling Weekly he spent two years writing for Procycling, where he interviewed riders and wrote about racing, speaking to people as varied as Demi Vollering to Philippe Gilbert. Before cycling took over his professional life, he covered ecclesiastical matters at the world’s largest Anglican newspaper and politics at Business Insider. Don't ask how that is related to cycling.