Bernal on podium despite nationals crash

02 Feb 2020

Bernal on podium despite nationals crash

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Colombian national road race championship, 217km

Egan Bernal put in a gutsy ride to finish in second place in the Colombian national road race, battling back from a crash.

The Tour de France winner sustained numerous cuts after going down with just over 40 kilometres left to race. Bernal was quickly paced back to the lead group by his teammates, with Sebastian Henao and Brandon Rivera putting in tireless work on the day.

Shortly after regaining contact, Bernal was able to follow the stinging attack of teammate Ivan Sosa on the final climb of the circuit. That move saw a select group form, with Sosa accelerating clear once more to go clear alongside Sergio Higuita (EF Education First).

The pair combined well and looked on target to contest the win - yet Sosa's luck would run out as he slid out and hit the deck on a right-hand turn with 18km to go.

That ensured that Higuita went on to win solo, with Bernal finishing strongly to lead home the chasing pack. 

After the race Sosa was taken to hospital for precautionary checks and scans.
Reaction

- Egan Bernal

“It was painful. It was a big crash but I should be happy because it was only some skin – I’ve no fractures or anything like this. I could continue racing – but after the crash I told Sosa that he should be the new leader in the race. Initially after the crash I didn’t know if I could finish the race. During the lap I was helping him and I did a big effort for him, then he attacked.
 
“He went to the front with Higuita and we knew we had a good rider up there at the front of the race. Then it was about trying to control the group behind. We were comfortable, and then in the last lap we just could see Higuita. We didn’t know then what had happened with Sosa, so Seb (Henao) started to pull really hard to try to close the gap. We tried for the silver medal. In the final I wasn’t feeling super because of the crash, but I could sprint and I was able to take second place.
 
“I’m happy because I got a silver medal after a crash. I think the team did a really good job, so I would have liked us to be able to fight more for the win. But we did a good job and I was able to continue fighting and get on the podium. It’s a good thing for me and I did it for the Colombian fans and my teammates. Two races, two podiums – we are ready for the Tour of Colombia.”
Final result:

1. Sergio Higuita (EF Education First) 5:13:06
2. Egan Bernal (Team INEOS) +1:15"
3. Daniel Felipe Martinez (EF Education First) +1:17"