Speaking after winning the Tour de Suisse, the Colombian was asked in his post-race interview whether he was one of the favourites for the yellow jersey.
“I don’t know, I don’t choose to say that I’m the favourite,” Bernal said. “In any case I will go with Thomas who will be our leader and I will try to help him and if he is better than me I will help him.
“I don’t have any problem helping him, I am only 22 so I have a lot of Tours ahead of me.”
Bernal was given the chance to win his second stage race of 2019, having also won Paris-Nice earlier this year, when Thomas crashed out on stage four of the race. Thomas was fine and got back to training while the Colombian took over leadership duties, bringing Ineos the overall victory.
“Things changed when he crashed,” Bernal said. “He was our leader when we came here but he crashed and could not continue so I became leader.”
Bernal continued: “It is one of the biggest races I have won so I’m really happy, it gives me a lot of confidence for the races that are coming up.
“I’m happy because just before this race I had a big crash so to come here and win is really nice for me and the team.”
Bernal was forced to miss out on what would have been his debugGiro d’Italia this year after breaking his collarbone in a training ride preparing for the race.
This follows an unlucky period for Ineos, with Chris Froome also being involved in a horrific crash that ruled him out of contesting a record-equalling fifth Tour de France title this July. He was placed in intensive care following a crash at the Critérium du Dauphiné, and is still not well enough to return home.
Geraint Thomas has said he’ll need some big training rides to prepare for the Tour de France after crashing out of the Tour de Suisse.
The Welshman has been given the all clear to start the Tour and will set off from Brussels on July 6.