Egan Bernal will no longer start on Saturday in the fourth stage of the Criterum du Dauphiné, announced the organization of the stage race. The Colombian from Team INEOS is struggling with back problems.
Bernal finished seventh in the most important preparatory competition for the Tour de France, which begins on 29 August. He lost quite a long time in stages two and three to the classification leader Primoz Roglic, his main competitor in France.
It is not clear if the reigning Tour winner can be at the start of the Tour de France in two weeks’ time to defend his title.
INEOS teammate Geraint Thomas confirmed to reporters before the start of the fourth stage that the Colombian will no longer be on the bike due to back pain. The Walesman expects Bernal to arrive at the start of the tour.
“He has some back pain and is not 1
Dumoulin: “Bernal may not even be the first attacker”
Bernal was considered the most important leader of INEOS in Dauphiné and as such was the biggest competitor to the strong Jumbo-Visma bloc, with Tom Dumoulin and Steven Kruijswijk as leaders in addition to Roglic. However, Dumoulin saw that the Colombian was not already in good shape.
“Bernal was not the best the last two days. Not the very best Bernal in any case and maybe not even the first striker,” Dumoulin said before the start of the fourth stage. “A little change in our tactics in that regard.”