Egan Bernal has one big goal for 2020 – the Tour de France.
Bernal, who turned 23 last week, will be riding under the weight of expectation this season after a remarkable year which saw him win three of the five stages races he entered.
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The Team Ineos rider emerged as the unexpected winner of the 2019 Tour de France after three weeks of tumultuous racing, with Bernal only securing the yellow jersey two days from Paris.
He also claimed victory in Paris-Nice and the Tour de Suisse, in only his second year at WorldTour level.
Colombian Bernal said: “This year I prefer to just be focused again on the Tour de France. Maybe next year or in the future I could go for the Giro, but this year with Olympics we won’t have too much time between the Giro and the Tour de France and I want to arrive really fresh in the Tour.
“The mountains are really punchy, so we need to arrive fresh. This year I just want to have one big goal and it will obviously be the Tour.”
In 2019, Bernal had initially been slated to race the Giro d’Italia but was forced to skip the Italian Grand Tour after suffering a broken collarbone in a training crash on the eve of the race.
Instead he lined up at the Tour alongside 2018 winner Geraint Thomas, the pair emerging as the strongest in the race.
Bernal won the yellow jersey, aged just 22, while Thomas followed up with second place.
Thomas will also be targeting the Tour de France again this year, saying he wants to give it “one more good go.”
Looking ahead to the 2020 Tour, which kicks off in Nice on July 27, Bernal said: “It will be something special to have the number one in the Tour de France and to try to go for the GC again. I’m really motivated and I want to come back and try to do well because I’m the last winner and I respect the race a lot. I know that the team has a lot of confidence in me and I feel ready for that.”
The Tour poses a dilemma for many riders this year, as the Olympic road race in Tokyo takes place a week after stage 21, where the course will suit the climbers and GC favourites.
Bernal said: “I think this year the Olympics will be an important race for everyone. Everyone wants to go there because you go with your national team and I want to do well for Colombia. But as a I said before, my biggest goal will be the Tour de France. I don’t want to be thinking about two races, just focus 100 per cent on the Tour.
“For sure if I finish in a good condition at the Tour, I will be there in the Olympics. Mentally for me it’s better just to be focused on the Tour and then go to the Olympics and see what happens.”