Egan Bernal is unsure of his place in Colombian squad for the Yorkshire World Championships, saying he will not race if he is “not fit to represent his country in the best way.”
Another star rider, Vincenzo Nibali, has confirmed he will not be racing in Yorkshire later this month, saying he is not fit enough to justify his spot.
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Poland’s Michał Kwiatkowski will also not be representing his country, having ended his season early due to fatigue.
The elite men’s road race on Sunday, September 29 covers 285km from Leeds to Harrogate, with three testing climbs in the opening half and finishing with seven laps of a finishing circuit, with Classics specialists expected to thrive on the course.
Bernal, the winner of the 2019 Tour de France at just 22-years-old, had been included in the Colombian squad by coach Carlos Mario Jaramillo, but he turned down the call up for the Yorkshire 2019 Worlds.
The Team Ineos rider said on Twitter earlier this month: “I want to clarify that I am still not sure about going to the World Championships this year. I am training in Colombia to prepare for the end of the season well, but if I feel that I am not fit to represent my country in the best way, I’d prefer that they give the opportunity to another person.”
Bernal will return to racing at the Giro della Toscana, which starts on Tuesday (September 17), having last competed in the Clásica San Sebastian last month.
Bernal will be replaced by Carlos Betancur, who impressed in the Canadian one-day races last weekend.
Nibali will also give up his spot in the Italian team, telling La Gazetta dello Sport: “The rainbow jersey is sacred to me and must be respected. I am not in top form and it would not be fair if I would otherwise occupy my place in the selection.”
Riders already confirmed for the road race include Mathieu van der Poel, Julian Alaphilippe, and Remco Evenepoel.
The British team has yet to be confirmed, but a lesser-known Belgian one-day race may offer clues as to who will be racing.
Kampioenshcap van Vlaanderen, a 1.1-level criterium in Flanders, takes place on Friday (September 20) and features a Great Britain team with seven riders from the Yorkshire Worlds long-list.
Riders confirmed for the Belgian race are Adam Yates, Ben Swift, Luke Rowe, Tao Geoghegan Hart, Ian Stannard, Owain Doull and Chris Lawless.