A year after causing a sensation by becoming at 22 the youngest winner of the Tour de France since 1947, the Colombian Egan Bernal has entered another story. That of the many former winners or yellow jerseys forced to leave the race, most often for medical reasons. This seems to be the case for the rider, who started from Nice in yellow, and who had lost a lot of ground on Sunday 13th in the ascent of the Grand-Colombier.
Two days later, he had passed the Villard-de-Lans stage making round trips to his sporting director’s car and stretching his back in the saddle as soon as the peloton slowed down. To end up crossing the finish line very far from the best.
→ ANALYSIS. Tour de France 2020: always higher, always less natural
After his abandonment during the last Critérium du Dauphiné, in mid-August, we believed in trickery. Some specialized newspapers even headline on the diplomatic injury of the Colombian and his choice to abandon the Dauphinoise race in order to protect himself for the Tour de France.
In a tweet, the boss of the Ineos Grenadier team put things right. ” We made this decision in his best interest, wrote his manager Dave Brailsford. Egan is a great champion who loves to run, but he’s also a young runner and at this point we feel it’s wiser for him to stop running. “. More reasonable indeed to give up at the dawn of what promises to be the most difficult stage of the Tour, towards the top of the Tour, the Col de la Loze.
The young Colombian is not the first man in yellow in Paris, and probably not the last, to be abandoned in a following edition. Two great champions have experienced a similar misadventure over the past ten years: Alberto Contador, winner in 2007 and 2009, retired in 2014 and 2016. And the winner of the 2014 Grande Boucle, Vincenzo Nibali, was himself. also retired in a later edition in 2018.
Even the great Bernard Hinault experienced such a mishap in 1980, two years after his first victory in 1978. Additional bitterness, the Breton wore the yellow jersey when he had to bow out due to a knee injury. But he had left with his head held high and not the red one on his forehead, like two wearing yellow tunics pushed out for doping. In 1978, the Belgian Michel Pollentier was excluded for doping, like the Dane Michael Rasmussen in 2007.
→ The results of the day: The complete classification of the 17e stage of the Tour de France 2020
→ The general classification: Find the general classification of the Tour de France 2020