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Teams & Riders The official Egan Bernal is the new Egan Bernal thread

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I agree, so far so good, but I still have a feeling his back injury will come back to bite him later in this race and also a feeling Remco could start to run low on gas as it goes on, unless he manages to Valverde his way round and trounce them in the ITT at the end. I'm now looking at Yates getting over his slow start, Caruso doing it for Landa and Dan Martin because I would like him to get on the podium.
He was really "flying" yesterday and in Tuesday, but I struggle to remember who was the last GT winner who was flying in the whole GT without having some troubles or bad day at some point ? Even peak Froome didn't hold his shape. Pogacar was also weaker in the last to mountain stages last year.
Perhaps GT and deffo Nibali in 2014, but we know what happened there and I dare to say competition was questionable at best.

So the main question is, even without back problems, how he'll manage in these weaker days.
To put it like this, his level seems a tad too high at the moment and I'm not sure he'll keep like this to Milan.
Some people think his struggles on Prati di Tivo were back related and there were news articles as recent as a couple of weeks ago saying he might not start the Giro due to back pain.
Yeah, he did have that one bad performance in Tirreno, but other than that he's been flying this season. Ineos also very quickly denied that he wouldn't start the Giro. I don't know, I just haven't heard or seen any indications that his back shouldn't be ok again.
Yeah, he did have that one bad performance in Tirreno, but other than that he's been flying this season. Ineos also very quickly denied that he wouldn't start the Giro. I don't know, I just haven't heard or seen any indications that his back shouldn't be ok again.

Didn't he say something like that himself? That he's not at 100%, and also that he just has to live with the pain this season (I understood that as it's constantly there but he can live with it, but he never knows whether it holds?) Also he skipped Alps, and I though it was also partly due to them trying not to put too much pressure on his back?
The longer the race goes the worst his back will be. I hope it can be mitigated as much as possible. Not a big fan but cycling world needs Egan at his best.

Yeah, I hope he really is fine, but if he has even a little pain, that could accumulate over time and sap his strength. He's a tough guy though, maybe he can power through, if he's sufficiently stronger than his competitors.
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If I remember correctly, the back problem was caused by a difference in leg length. He redid his bikefit to take that into consideration. It's possible that he will have problems again, but I think it's not that likely to happen.
He already knows what's the origin of the back pain, so I'm sure he and the team are doing some type of prevention work. Physio, massage, etc to prevent muscle imbalances and the back pain.
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So, it seems he was the one who dictated the strategy yesterday, as he was feeling good out there and wanted to take advantage:

View: https://twitter.com/INEOSGrenadiers/status/1392925787377045507

And I mean, you can argue it didn't quite work. The team certainly did what was asked of them. But there was a lot of headwind at the finish, the Ineos mountain train was tired and missing a link, Castroviejo sprung a leak, and the Quickstep Masnada-Almeida duo was on point.

And of course, there's a lot of road and certainly tough mountains left from here to Milan. Form ebbs, weather changes, stuff happens. But if his back and his form holds up for the next week I'm starting to allow myself to be a little excited about what Bernal can do in the next week, particularly in the gravel roads coming up ahead.

Sure, in all likelihood, the stages up until the Zoncolan are going to be all shadow boxing and attrition: modern cycling at its core. Fortune rarely favors the bold in this sport, and particularly on the sterrato, and the smart money is on sucking wheels and saving strength. But I think Bernal also knows that the future is uncertain, and he seems a bit done with playing it safe. The competition has been whittled down, and Martin, Caruso, Evenepoel, Carthy, Vlasov, Ciconne and Yates are it. Maybe there is a hidden gravel grinder among them, or maybe Soler or Nibali or Bardet is just waiting to show himself as a rider whose secret form has just been waiting to be unleashed upon an unsuspecting peloton. But I have a feeling that Bernal is growing increasingly willing to ask those questions to his rivals in the most direct of ways.
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"I have to admit, my back hurts. The pain is mainly at the beginning and until halfway through the stage, I can't help but think about it and wonder if it will hurt me even in the final stages of the race and if it will affect my performance. But then the adrenaline starts to rise, the pain in my legs arrives and the one in my back takes a back seat. It's hard, but little by little I'm learning to live with it."