Parallel lives, although with different journeys. Remco Evenepoel and Egan Bernal They were revealed to the world as two of the great promises of current cycling, both called to stand out in a golden generation of this sport in which in between they slipped Tadej Pogacar. And both Belgian and Colombian lived up to expectations despite suffering two terrible accidents that could have cost them their lives. Remco plunged off a bridge in the 2020 Giro de Lombardy, while just a year ago, Egan crashed at 60km/h into the back of a bus. The Quick-Step jewel took a long time to return to its best level, but it did so in spades in a Dreamy 2022: monument, grand tour and World Cup. For its part, the version that the one from Zipaquirá can offer in competition is still unknown.
This Friday, both met again for a good cause, the return from a Vuelta a San Juan that unites them again on the same path. And it is that They did not coincide in competition since the Giro d’Italia 2021, the one in which Bernal increased his extraordinary record and in which Evenepoel abandoned in the 18th stage. “Yes, I am different. Three years older, that’s the biggest difference. A lot has happened, a lot of victories and emotions. A tough accident in between… All of that has changed me and turned me into a new cyclist and person. It’s good to come back and not have stopped my career despite the accident.” The Belgian explained at the press conference, with AS among the media present, about his defense of the title, since he is the last champion to appear on the record of the Argentine event (absent for two years due to the pandemic).
Regarding the route, Remco joked about a time trial that, if it had been included in the layout, would give him even more favoritism over the rest of the rivals: “It’s always going to be good to have a time trial, but you have to compete with what’s available. Yes there are some opportunities to try to win, but If they want me to come back next year, I hope the organization sets some time (laughs)”. To try to face some Colombians who for Remco have an advantage due to their knowledge of the terrain, the Belgian arrived in San Juan almost two weeks ago, leaving behind his new home in Spain, where he admitted to being delighted: “It was a big step to move from Belgium to Spain. Is he best place where I can prepare for the future and I have no complaints about Spain. I hope you can continue in the same way, because so far my stay has been perfect. I’m very happy”.
Bernal, to recover sensations
For his part, Bernal will try to continue the return to competition that began last year in events such as the Tour of Denmark and Germany always with the clear objective of improving their sensations in the race. “This race was what suited me best. I wanted to compete again as soon as possible. It is the best career to start. I really want to compete and start in the best way to pick up the pace ”, explained the man from Ineos, who is clear thator take risks: “We will go day by day, save ourselves from cuts and falls. The mountain stage is tough and that’s where the difference will be made. Whoever wins the general should be in front. There will be days with a lot of wind, nervousness…”.
The fundamental thing, at this point, is to have left behind the fears caused by the accident and to be able to start a season normally, something that I hadn’t done for two years: “I don’t feel afraid, but when I started training I did I had a bit when I hit 60 km/h. It is a stage passed. I raced in Germany and Denmark, and the first kilometers were a bit strange riding in the peloton, but after that it was fine. I have no anxiety, I am very calm and happy to compete again, to start a year with relative normality. That is very important to me. I’m calm about where I’m going. We have Viviani that she is in good shape and she will want to do well. For the mountain stage, Martínez (Daniel Felipe) is at a high level”. We are already counting down the hours to see these two bicycle geniuses roll again.