Egan Bernal “switched off” during yesterday’s final kilometre up to Mount Aigoual, which caused him to shout to Ineos team-mate Michał Kwiatkowski to slow down at the end of stage seven of the Tour de France.
This is according to Ineos sports director Gabriel Rasch, who says despite some questioning Bernal’s form it was more a lapse in concentration that nearly cost the defending champion. He also says the back problem that troubled the Colombian before the Tour de France is fully healed.
“Yes, he’s good, his back is good,” Rasch said. “Yesterday I think he switched off a bit in the final, it was an explosive final, but nothing dramatic really.”
As for the team, they are gearing up for the first big fight with Jumbo-Visma in the mountains, when the race heads to the Pyrenees this weekend.
“Now we are at stage seven the race really starts,” Rasch said. “People are getting tired now and I think now in the Pyrenees we’ll get some more answers and see who really has the legs. Some of the riders who are in the top of the GC now will fall out [of contention].”
Despite Jumbo-Visma looking the stronger so far, taking two stage wins through Primož Roglič and Wout van Aert, Rasch says the British squad is in “good spirits” and ready for the challenge ahead.
“Yeah, I think they’re in good spirits, they can take some confidence from the last two days and we have our plan and we stay focused.”
Of course, we won’t be made privy to what that plan is.
“No, but I think from now people are getting more tired and the race will open up a bit,” Rasch finished. “So we have to be patient and take our chances.”