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Egan Bernal, who is busy filling his social media account with Christmas happiness, promises to leave 2023 with a bang.
The 2019 Tour de France winner, currently touring the jungles and mountains of Peru, insists he has fully recovered from his near-fatal training crash that nearly ended his career.
Having returned to racing in August this season, Bernal’s schedule for early 2023 is already taking shape.
Ineos Grenadiers sporting director Matteo Tosatto says La Gazzetta dello Sport that Bernal wants to run often and early to open in 2023.
“He looks good, very determined,” Tosatto told the Italian sports daily. “He told me in Nice: ‘I want to start the season as I always have, as a true rider, not as an injured driver who only thinks about his pain. I want to be who I was before.”
Also read: Bernal on recovery: ‘I never thought I’d get back on the bike’
The 25-year-old Bernal rode two stage races in Denmark and Germany and some one-day races on his high-profile return to racing in 2022.
The winner of the Tour of Colombia and the Giro d’Italia suffered devastating injuries last winter when he collided with a parked transit bus during a training trip with Ineos Grenadiers teammates in Colombia last January.
Doctors feared the worst, but Bernal exceeded expectations not only to make a full physical recovery but also to return to racing this season.
Bernal has had another operation since returning home, but doctors and trainers believe the worst is over.
Tosatto hinted that, barring changes, Bernal will debut his 2023 season at the Tour de San Juan (January 22-29) alongside his Ineos Grenadiers teammate Filippo Ganna.
Tosatto said it is too early to talk about what big Tour Bernal could ride in 2023. With a Giro and a Tour already on his way honorssome suggest that Bernal could target the Vuelta a España as he continues on his path to full recovery.
“Egan needs to build his endurance and find a race rhythm in his legs,” Tosatto said. “So it is likely that he will do some of the five or six day races in pre-season to recover well like Algarve, Ruta del Sol, Valenciana or the UAE Tour.