Former Tour de France winner Egan Bernal will return to racing at the Tour of Denmark on Tuesday, seven months after he “almost died” in a serious training accident in his native Colombia.
The 25-year-old specialist climber, who rides for Britain’s Ineos Grenadiers team, suffered multiple broken bones when he hit a stationary bus at speed near Bogata on January 24.
Bernal needed multiple surgeries after breaking several ribs, a knee cap, a thigh bone, two vertebrae and a thumb in the crash.
“I almost died but I thank God for this test,” he said at the time.
Ineos said he had made “remarkable progress” since then, praising his focus and the efforts of the medical team.
“After what happened to me in January this has been the moment I’ve been waiting for — to race with my teammates again,” said Bernal, who won the Giro d’Italia last year.
“I can’t emphasise enough how hard the last eight months have been for me, both physically and mentally. That day, and the journey that I have been on since will be a part of me forever — it’s something you never forget.”
Bernal, Latin America’s only Tour de France champion, added: “As humans we really rely on each other in our times of need, and this year has been a time of need for me.
“I can’t thank everyone who has been there for me enough. That support has been invaluable in motivating me every day to work hard to be able to race again.”
Deputy team principal Rod Ellingworth said: “He’s shown the world the true strength of his character, and demonstrated remarkable grit in returning to race-readiness.
“We’re still on a journey with Egan, but lining up at the Tour of Denmark is a significant and hard-earned milestone. Egan’s long-term recovery has and continues to guide our medical and physical programme of support.”
Bernal, who won the Tour de France in 2019, signed a five-year deal with Ineos in January, just days before his accident.