Egan Bernal to return to racing at the Tour de Suisse as Ineos and Geraint Thomas prepare for the Tour de France 2019

After Froome's crash ruled him out of the Tour, Thomas and Bernal will provide the British team's best chance of delivering a seventh Tour de France victory

Egan Bernal at the Volta a Catalunya 2019 (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Egan Bernal (Ineos) will return to racing at the Tour de Suisse, his first race in more than two months after breaking his collarbone in a training crash.

The young Colombian and his team-mate Geraint Thomas will use the nine-day stage race to prepare for the Tour de France, where Thomas will be looking to defend his title.

Ineos have announced their full squad set to line up in Langnau im Emmental for stage one on June 15. A trio of Brits, Luke Rowe, Ben Swift and Owain Doull, will accompany Thomas and Bernal, as well as Jonathan Castroviejo and Frenchman Kenny Elissonde.

Bernal crashed on a training ride in May, suffering a broken collarbone, which ruled him out of the Giro d'Italia 2019 where the 22-year-old was set to take on team leadership responsibilities for the first time in a Grand Tour.

Speaking before the race in a post on his Instagram, Bernal said: "After 76 days without competing, tomorrow we return to racing at the Tour de Suisse. A lot of training in recent months and finally pre-race 'nerves' come along again. This [race] will surely serve as preparation for the Tour de France."

A photo posted by on

Bernal impressed at the 2018 Tour de France, his debut Grand Tour, finishing 15th in the overall classification despite serving as Geraint Thomas' key mountain domestique as the Welshman rode to victory.

Thomas will now almost certainly go into the Tour de France as Ineos' undisputed team leader, following the devastating news of Chris Froome's crash that left him in intensive care with multiple fractures and ruled out of the Tour.

Froome was preparing his tilt at a fifth Tour de France victory at the Critérium du Dauphiné when he crashed during a recon of the stage four time trial. Ineos had split their two Tour de France winners and key domestiques across French and Swiss stage racing in the run-up to the Tour, with Froome's absence now undoubtedly a huge blow to the British outfit's aspirations of winning a seventh Tour de France title.

Thomas tweeted in the aftermath of Froome's crash: "Such crap news! It’s always horrible hearing about any bad crash, but even worse when it’s a good mate! Heal up quick! He'll be back."

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