Egan Bernal back in training after Volta a Catalunya crash

 Egan Bernal (Ineos Grenadiers) in action at last week's Volta a Catalunya
Egan Bernal (Ineos Grenadiers) in action at last week's Volta a Catalunya
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Egan Bernal is back in training following his crash at the Volta a Catalunya as he prepares for another appointment in Spain at next week's Itzulia Basque Country.

The Colombian had waited since the Vuelta a San Juan to get back to racing in Catalunya last week after abandoning the early-season Argentinian race due to knee pain.

However, on the penultimate day of racing at the Volta, Bernal was caught up in a crash mid-stage. He was forced to abandon the race as a result, but managed to avoid any fractures, instead getting away with cuts and abrasions.

Following the crash, Bernal was back on his bike on Tuesday and Wednesday, putting in two hilly 101km rides around Monaco with his Ineos Grenadiers teammate Brandon Rivera.

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The pair are down to ride Itzulia Basque Country (April 3-8) together on the race's provisional start list along with reigning champion Dani Martínez, Jonathan Castroviejo, Omar Fraile, Ethan Hayter, and Carlos Rodríguez.

Earlier this week, they took on the famous training climb, the Col de la Madone as well as La Turbie, one of the climbs lying on the final stage of next year's closing Tour de France time trial. The two four-hour rides should help set them up for six days in the tough hills of the Basque Country next week.

Bernal's schedule for the season beyond next week has yet to be confirmed by him or his Ineos team, though the hopes are that he will be able to contribute to the British squad's Tour de France team, even if he's not yet ready to lead as he continues his path back from a career-threatening training crash in January 2022.

"If Egan was fit enough, why would you not take him to the Tour for his experience and for the help he can give to the team," Ineos deputy team principal Rod Ellingworth told Cyclingnews recently. "The door's completely wide open and the Tour is still five months away.

Martínez is a candidate for Ineos' Tour de France leadership this July, along with young Spaniard Rodríguez.

The Colombian will defend his Itzulia Basque Country title next week against a field including 2022 Tour champion Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma), Richard Carapaz (EF Education-EasyPost), and the Yates twins, Adam and Simon, at UAE Team Emirates and Jayco-AlUla respectively.

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