The two biggest stars of the Tour de France 2019 could return to racing this weekend at the Clásica San Sebastián, according to reports in Spanish media
Race winner Egan Bernal (Team Ineos) and French star Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck – Quick-Step are both believed to be returning to the Spanish one-day race on Saturday (August 3) after phenomenal rides from both in the Tour.
Alaphilippe became the shock frontrunner to win the Tour as he held the yellow jersey for 15 days until the penultimate mountain stage, while Bernal emerged victorious, finally breaking Alaphilippe on a dramatic stage 19.
Newspaper El Diario Vasco reports that Alaphilippe will race in Spain before heading to the Tour of Germany in late August, while Spanish news outlet AS say that Bernal will “possibly” ride San Sebastián.
Last year’s San Sebastián was won by Alaphilippe during his breakthrough season, as he launched an explosive attack with Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo) on the final climb.
Mollema and Alaphilippe reached the line together for a two-up sprint, which Alaphilippe took comfortably.
Bernal wasn’t so fortunate in the 2018 edition, as a touch of wheels on the run to the Murgil Tontorra caused a huge crash that took out several pre-race favourites.
The young Colombian, riding his first season at WorldTour level, went down in the fall and needed to be stretchered off the course.
He underwent surgery on his nose and mouth after the fall, having also suffered a bleed on the brain.
Bernal took two months off the bike and returned for the Italian one-day races, closing his season at Il Lombardia where he finished 12.
The 22-year-old stepped up once again in 2019, winning Paris-Nice and the Tour de Suisse, before his career-changing Tour de France performance.
After a promising start to the Tour, where he held a top-10 position from stage two, Bernal came into his own at altitude in the Alps, moving up to second over the Galibier on stage 18, and then stealing the yellow jersey on the Col de L’Iseran during stage 19, which was cut short due to a freak hailstorm and landslides.
Bernal is the first Colombian to win the Tour de France and is the youngest rider to reach the top step in the post-war era, also making him the youngest rider to win the yellow jersey (which was introduced in 1919).