‘I learned about suffering’ - Egan Bernal and Adam Yates reflect on mixed Vuelta a España for Ineos Grenadiers

The British WorldTour squad left the race without a reason to celebrate, but have taken hope from the final Grand Tour of the season

The Ineos Grenadiers leaders at the Vuelta a España
The Ineos Grenadiers leaders at the Vuelta a España
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/Getty Images)

Egan Bernal and Adam Yates have reflected on a mixed Vuelta a España for Ineos Grenadiers, as both riders spoke of the “suffering” they experienced late in the race.

British WorldTour team Ineos went into the race as one of the favourite teams, fielding both Bernal and Yates as their co-leaders in the Spanish Grand Tour.

But the team left Spain without a reason to celebrate, as their riders both missed the podium, with no stage wins along the way. 

Yates was riding his first Grand Tour with Ineos after joining from Mitchelton-Scott at the start of the season.

Bernal was targeting his second major victory of the year, having won the Giro d’Italia in the spring before he was diagnosed with Covid-19, which upended his preparation for the Vuelta.

British pro Yates was the best-placed finisher for Ineos in the Vuelta, taking fourth place almost two minutes away from the podium placings. 

The 29-year-old from Bury said: “We had some good days and we had some bad days. I think we raced quite well as a team. For me it’s my first Grand Tour with my new team. I enjoyed every moment. Not every day was perfect but it’s something to build on for next year and the years after that." 

Bernal meanwhile previously admitted he knew he wasn’t at his best from the very first day of racing in Spain, eventually finishing sixth overall, more than 13 minutes down on overall winner Primož Roglič (Jumbo-Visma).

>>> Movistar react to result of Vuelta a España after drama in final week

Bernal said: "I learned about suffering. I think I’ve suffered a lot in this Vuelta but at the same time I enjoyed it a lot. I think in every race you learn something and I hope it will be good for next year. 

"I'm really happy for Primož. For sure he deserves it." 

Despite having led the youth classification for much of the race, Bernal eventually finished second in that competition to Switzerland's Gino Mäder (Bahrain Victorious). 

His best stage result came on day 18 to Altu d'El Gamoniteiru, where he finished fourth as Miguel Ángel López rode to the win. 

Yates's best result from the race came on the final mountain stage of the race to Mos. Castro de Herville, where he finished third.

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Alex Ballinger

Alex Ballinger is editor of BikeBiz magazine, the leading publication for the UK cycle industry, and is the former digital news editor for CyclingWeekly.com. After gaining experience in local newsrooms, national newspapers and in digital journalism, Alex found his calling in cycling, first as a reporter, then as news editor responsible for Cycling Weekly's online news output, and now as the editor of BikeBiz. Since pro cycling first captured his heart during the 2010 Tour de France (specifically the Contador-Schleck battle) Alex covered three Tours de France, multiple editions of the Tour of Britain, and the World Championships, while both writing and video presenting for Cycling Weekly. He also specialises in fitness writing, often throwing himself into the deep end to help readers improve their own power numbers.  Away from the desk, Alex can be found racing time trials, riding BMX and mountain bikes, or exploring off-road on his gravel bike. He’s also an avid gamer, and can usually be found buried in an eclectic selection of books.