This article was originally published on Velo News
Egan Bernal is pinning his hopes on a return to the Tour de France with Ineos Grenadiers in 2023.
The 2019 yellow jersey is on track back from the horrific accident in January that left him full of broken bones and a “95% chance” of being paraplegic.
A 12-day return to racing this summer and a recent successful knee surgery have the 25-year-old taking to the skies for 2023.
“If all goes well, I would like to return to the Tour. It would be an opportunity to try to do my best, whether it’s just to finish, or maybe even make the GC and get in good shape,” Bernal told Colombian radio. El Vbar Caraco this week.
Read too: Bernal on recovery: ‘I never thought I’d get back on the bike’
Bernal’s harrowing high-speed training accident this winter put his career at risk and saw the Colombian undergo a long and painful rehabilitation process.
The former Tour de France and Giro d’Italia champion made an unbelievable return to racing in August and is now looking to reclaim a seat at the front of the Ineos Grenadiers team bus.
“We talked about the ideal scenario. If all goes well and I regain the strength I lost in my right leg, because I lost a lot of muscle due to the time I didn’t move, I would hope to have a normal 2023 season. Friday.
“I have eight or nine months to try to achieve it, and mentally I feel ready for that. In fact, I think the break I’ve had to take this year is going to help me. So for sure, I’d like to do a big tour and hopefully whatever the tour.”
From the Colombia tour to the French tour in 2023
Bernal has not yet clarified his program with the Ineos Grenadiers team and acknowledged El Vbar Caraco a series of unknowns and “what ifs” surround his convalescence and race condition.
However, Bernal has outlined a best-case schedule for 2023, which starts on domestic roads at the Colombia Tour in February.
Also on the wish list are the WorldTour Paris-Nice level, Strade Bianche and Criterium du Dauphine before returning to the Tour for the first time since he was injured in 2020.
The Ineos Grenadiers face a crucial season restructuring around youth as Grand Tour stars Richard Carapaz, Richie Porte and Adam Yates retire or change rosters this winter.
Welsh veteran Geraint Thomas is considering a trip to the Giro d’Italia rather than the Tour for what could be his final season next year.
Bernal’s 2023 return to a big touring frame now dominated by Jumbo-Visma and the UAE could come at just the right time for his British team.
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