Egan Bernal says he doesn’t have the same form as when he won the Tour de France, but wants to find his confidence

The Colombian star is favourite to win the Giro d’Italia, but has taken a different approach in his preparation

Egan Bernal during the Tirreno-Adriatico 2021 time trial
(Image credit: Photo by Tim de Waele/Getty Images)

Egan Bernal admits he doesn’t have the same form as when he won the Tour de France, as he enters the Giro d’Italia as the bookies’s favourite.

Ineos Grenadiers leader Bernal hasn’t raced since March and has been struggling with back problems for the last two seasons, but says he still hopes to perform well in Italy.

The 24-year-old had been training at altitude in Colombia over the last month, before he returned to Europe, with his team saying he has looked strong during his preparation.

Speaking to media via Zoom call ahead of the Giro, Bernal said: “I don't think I’m in the same form I was when I won the Tour, but I want to get it back, and I want to find the confidence that I had before.

“Last year was definitely not an easy one for me. I really want to find that confidence  here at the Giro and I'm really motivated.” 

Bernal has been suffering from back problems, believed to have been caused by a difference in the length of his legs, which forced him out of the 2020 Tour de France in the final week. 

After winning three stage races in 2019, including the Tour de France, Bernal won La Route d’Occitanie last year before the back issues derailed the rest of his season. 

Bernal’s last race was Tirreno-Adriatico in mid-March, where he finished fourth overall, before he returned to his native Colombia to train. 

>>> Giro d’Italia 2021 route: Tough gravel stage, Monte Zoncolan summit finish and final time trial in Milan for 104th edition  

On his preparation for the Giro, Ineos Grenadiers sports director Matteo Tossato said: “There are other favourites that haven’t raced since last year.

“Egan trained very well in Colombia and then analysing his training in Europe he is in good shape.

“I don’t think 40 days away from racing will be a problem, because the first part of the Giro is tricky but not too difficult, so he will have time to improve his shape day-by-day.”  

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Alex Ballinger

Alex Ballinger is editor of BikeBiz magazine, the leading publication for the UK cycle industry, and is the former digital news editor for After gaining experience in local newsrooms, national newspapers and in digital journalism, Alex found his calling in cycling, first as a reporter, then as news editor responsible for Cycling Weekly's online news output, and now as the editor of BikeBiz. Since pro cycling first captured his heart during the 2010 Tour de France (specifically the Contador-Schleck battle) Alex covered three Tours de France, multiple editions of the Tour of Britain, and the World Championships, while both writing and video presenting for Cycling Weekly. He also specialises in fitness writing, often throwing himself into the deep end to help readers improve their own power numbers.  Away from the desk, Alex can be found racing time trials, riding BMX and mountain bikes, or exploring off-road on his gravel bike. He’s also an avid gamer, and can usually be found buried in an eclectic selection of books.