Egan Bernal, the return to competition of a miracle

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The Colombian Egan Bernal, winner of the Tour de France 2019, makes his big return to competition on Tuesday August 16 at the Tour of Denmark, almost seven months after his terrible accident in training.

He is considered a national hero. All of Colombia was moved by what happened to the first Colombian rider to win the Big loop. On January 24, Egan Bernal, 25, was on the road from Bogota to Tunja for a training outing with his teammates Richard Carapaz, Andrey Amador, Brandon Rivera, Carlos Rodriguez and Omar Fraile. In the town of Gachancipa, the runner was on his time trial bike, launched at more than 50 km / h, his head plunged into the handlebars. He had violently hit a bus in front of him which had stopped. He had been operated several times from a multitude of fractures (femur, patella, vertebrae).

Colombian Egan Bernal, winner of the Tour de France, July 28, 2019, on the Champs-Elysées AFP/Archives

« Being alive is like being reborn »

« I had a 95% chance of being a paraplegic and almost lost my life he had said. ” For me, being alive is like being reborn. Life changed for me in a second. I was preparing for the Tour de France, I was giving it my all and the next second I was fighting for my life “, he had also confided at the exit of the University Clinic of La Sabana, in the suburbs of Bogota.

« After a final evaluation over the weekend, the Ineos Grenadiers medical team authorized the Colombian to return to competition “, announced his team, the British formation Ineos, in a press release. “After what happened to me in January, this is the moment I’ve been waiting for : run again with my teammates “, rejoiced the Andean runner, quoted in the press release. ” I cannot stress enough how hard the past eight months have been for me, both physically and mentally. That day and my journey since will be a part of me forever, it’s something you never forget. added one of the highest paid cyclists in the world.

Egan Bernal at the University Clinic of La Sabana, on the outskirts of Bogota.
Egan Bernal at the University Clinic of La Sabana, on the outskirts of Bogota. © Egan Bernal

A huge challenge

Bernal had not taken part in a competition since his sixth place in the Tour of Spain last year. Without his accident, he would have had to return to the Tour de France this season, two years after his failure in the Grand Colombier and his inglorious retirement in the 2020 edition. In 2021, he had stalled to focus on the Giro , that he was going to win for the first time, and regain his confidence.

The challenge is huge for Bernal. The Tour of Denmark with its rather flat course, from Tuesday to Sunday, will be a crucial stage in his fight to find the top level. He had brought his journey to life for his fans by sharing images on his social networks where he was seen in his hospital bed, then back at home, then on an exercise bike, etc. For the local sports channel Antena 2, this return is “ the most awaited news by Colombia. The competition starts from Allerod, north of Copenhagen, for five stages and a total of 767.3 km before the finish in Vejle (west).

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