Egan Bernal is marking another milestone in his incredible recovery from a devastating crash. The Tour de France winner posted a photo of himself riding on a stationary trainer. The Colombian’s rapid improvement has his coach talking about his return to racing, possibly by the end of this year.
Scary crash. Sensational recovery
The Colombian collided with a bus during a training ride in late January. Bernal suffered serious injuries in the harrowing crash, and there were initially doubts as to whether he would walk again.
The 2019 Tour de France winner’s recovery has impressed from the start. By mid-February, he was posting videos of riding on a recumbent stationary bike.
Now, Bernal’s taken the next step. He shared a photo of himself riding his Pinarello on a trainer, pedaling easy and sitting up under his own power. The balance and support required for that transition is a big advance for Ineo’s rider. It has his coach eyeing the future.
Potential for 2022 return
This incredible progress has Ineos-Grenadiers’ coach, Xabier Artexte, talking about Bernal’s return to racing. Possibly as soon as this year.
Artexte told Gazzetta dello Sport that Bernal could be back on a start line by 2023, if not the end of 2022, citing his rider’s fitness and elite-level physiology as causes for the rapid recovery.
“Egan is a top-level sportsman and his recovery skills are also above average,” Artexte said when asked if, and when Bernal would return to racing. “I would not reject this possibility even without setting it as a fixed goal, it is an option that exists. Why not? He is working to get back as soon as possible. It may be 2023, but also the end of this year. We must not rule it out, far from it.”
Artexte goes as far as to say that the devastating accident could offer opportunities for Bernal to improve, and even return to his place at the top of the pro ranks.
“I’ve always told the team doctor: yes, I have faith in this, that he will return to the highest level. I know what I’m saying has no scientific basis, because you can’t know what’s going to happen,” Artexte shared. “But I see him working, and once he has reached a strong musculoskeletal stability again, maybe he will be able to correct some imbalances that he had before, be more balanced.”
For now, Artexte is focused on the physiological side of Bernal’s recovery. There are no plans to get the Colombian back on open roads, as of yet. Insted, Ineos’ coach is focusing on getting a high-tech spin bike so that his rider can start to train properly, and safely, when he is ready.