The day belonged to Jonas Vingegaard on stage 5 of the Critérium du Dauphiné, however Egan Bernal was ready to attract encouragement from his efficiency as he builds in the direction of a long-awaited return to the Tour de France.
After shedding greater than two minutes to Vingegaard in Wednesday’s 31km time trial, Bernal seemed fairly extra comfy on the highway to Salins-les-Bains on stage 5, attacking from the chasing group the fashioned behind the day’s winner Vingegaard on the run-in to the end.
Bernal was quickly recaptured, however he completed with day eleventh on the stage from the group that got here in 31 seconds behind Vingegaard.
“I believe we knew earlier than the time trial that the outcome can be not the most effective,” Bernal advised ITV. “I haven’t been capable of do good efforts [on the time trial bike] in coaching so for certain we needed to be lifelike. At present, I’m truly a bit shocked to be within the entrance, however I had good emotions.”
Bernal confessed that he hadn’t fairly trusted these sensations on the class 2 climb of the Côte de Thésy, which served because the springboard for Vingegaard’s race-winning transfer. When Bernal noticed his former teammate Richard Carapaz (EF Training-EasyPost) assault on the base of the climb, he opted to not observe.
“Possibly I used to be lacking a little bit of confidence as a result of I used to be there and I used to be feeling good, however I assumed, ‘That is perhaps not my rhythm’ after they attacked,” Bernal mentioned. “I used to be within the entrance and I noticed them, however I used to be a bit afraid to go throughout and perhaps explode.
“I believe I did nicely, however that is one thing new once more for me, to be within the entrance with the favourites. I believe all the pieces is new for me, however I must be pleased with the efficiency up to now.”
Vingegaard would forge clear on the climb, however Bernal was a part of the group that swept up Carapaz on the 14km run to the end in Salins-les-Bains. Given the dearth of cohesion within the chasing group, Bernal made a short lone try to bridge throughout earlier than finally rolling house with Ben O’Connor, Julian Alaphilippe et al.
“Generally you should strive, you by no means know,” mentioned Bernal, who now lies nineteenth general, 3:06 behind the maillot jaune Vingegaard. “When the climb completed, I used to be with one thing within the legs and I mentioned, ‘Come on, I’ve to strive.’ I noticed there was a scarcity of cooperation within the entrance, so I mentioned I might go. Within the closing they caught me in fact however I believe it was a very good strive not less than.”
Bernal missed most of final season after sustaining extreme accidents in an horrific coaching crash in January 2022, and his 2023 marketing campaign has additionally been blighted by damage and sick fortune.
The Colombian deserted the Vuelta a San Juan with a knee damage, and he was later pressured out of the Volta a Catalunya by a crash on the penultimate day. Bernal went on to put eighth general at each the Tour de Romandie and the Tour de Hongrie, although he was additionally a faller on the opening day in Hungary.
Earlier within the season, Ineos Grenadiers supervisor Rod Ellingworth indicated that Daniel Martínez would lead the staff’s basic classification problem on the Tour, whereas Tom Pidcock may also look to shine in July.
Whereas Bernal is aiming to return to the Tour for the primary time since 2020, when his title defence was ruined by a again damage, he acknowledged earlier within the week that his summer season programme was contingent on how he got here via the Dauphiné. “It relies upon how the race goes,” he advised FloBikes.
The Dauphiné continues with a testing finale at Crest-Voland on Friday forward of a mountainous weekend doubleheader.