Egan Bernal is targeting a return to the Tour de France this year after Britain-based cycling team Ineos announced on Monday he had signed a new five-year contract.
Colombia’s Bernal, who became the first Latin American Tour de France champion in 2019, is now contracted to the team until the end of the 2026 season.
The 24-year-old was forced to end his bid to retain his Tour de France title late in the 2020 event after suffering a back problem.
Bernal sat out the 2021 Tour after securing the Giro d’Italia title but he wants to return to compete for the crown this year after extending his deal with Ineos.
“I really want to go back to the Tour,” he said. “I skipped last year because of the Giro, but it feels like it’s been a long time since I was at the Tour. So I am really excited about this year.”
Bernal has spent four seasons with Ineos, formerly Team Sky, since moving from Androni Giocattoli.
He was the youngest Tour de France winner since 1909 when he took the title three years ago.
“I’m really proud of the team, the staff, and I’m signing now for my most important years,” he said. “It will be my best years and I want to spend this time with this team.”
Deputy team principal Rod Ellingworth described Bernal as a “phenomenal talent”.
“He has also shown that, in the challenging moments, he has a huge amount of courage to pick himself up, lay himself on the line and go again,” he said.
Last month Bernal’s team-mate and fellow former Tour champion Geraint Thomas signed a new deal with Ineos.