Egan Bernal drops possible ride in Tour of Norway from season schedule

 Egan Bernal during the 2023 Tour de Romandie
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Egan Bernal’s possible participation in the Tour of Norway, which starts Friday, will finally not materialize, his Ineos Grenadiers team have confirmed.

The 2019 Tour de France winner had been announced by Tour of Norway organisers as one of the headline participants in the four-day 2.HC stage race.

However, Ineos Grenadiers told Cyclingnews on Thursday that Bernal had only ever been on the ‘long list’ for Norway as a possible starter, rather than a confirmed rider in their six-rider line-up.

The team also explained that as Bernal was not completely ready to take part, his participation had been finally ruled out.

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Although the race had never been definitively on Bernal’s program, his eventual absence had been made all the more noticeable after the organisers ran a press release a few days ago, saying the former Tour de France winner would be present.

Ineos Grenadiers will be fielding a squad dominated by their young up-and-coming riders, including current Australian National Road Champion Luke Plapp, who ran third in Norway last year and who is returning to racing after a bad crash in the Tour de Hongrie. Also present for Ineos are Connor Swift, Josh Tarling, Magnus Sheffield, Leo Hayter - whose brother Ethan won the race outright in 2021 - and Ben Tulett.

Aside from Plapp, stand-out names from Norway’s previous editions also present this year include local star Alexander Kristoff (Uno-X) and Edu Prades (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA),  both former winners.

Bernal most recent race results have been the Tour de Hongrie in mid-May, where he finished eighth overall despite a crash on stage 1, and the Tour de Romandie, where he also claimed eighth on GC.

He is expected to head to the Criterium du Dauphine in early June, although a definitive line-up has yet to be released.

Meanwhile, the Tour of Norway starts on Friday in Bergen with a short prologue and finishes Monday with a hilly stage in Stavanger.