"I want to win the three Grand Tours"
The current Tour de France champion has stated his ambition to join the select club of riders who have won each of the three Grand Tours. The Colombian, who last year became the first rider from his country to win the Tour, has yet to race either the Giro d'Italia or Vuelta a España in his career.
Since moving to Team Ineos from Androni Giocattoli in 2018, the 23-year-old has competed at two Tours de France, winning the 2019 edition, and is set to target it again this year.
Only a total of 7 riders have achieved the feat in the history of cycling to date:
- Jacques Anquetil
- Felice Gimondi
- Eddy Merckx
- Bernard Hinault
- Alberto Contador
- Vincenzo Nibali
- Chris Froome
Bernal's Colombian compatriot, Nairo Quintana (Arkéa-Samsic) is the only active rider in the peloton closest to completing the Grand Tour triple, having won both the Giro and Vuelta, and finishing second in the Tour on two occasions.
Despite the condensed post-COVID-19 calendar, Bernal could feasibly target a Tour-Vuelta double this season, though he has previously indicated that he won't ride the Vuelta this year.
However, Bernal is set to target the Giro d'Italia next season:
"It is a race that is very close to my heart. If I participate, it is to win. Then I want to do the same in the Vuelta a España. I think it would be great to win all three of them and be a part of the history of the sport."
This September, Bernal is set to form part of a three-pronged Ineos leadership team at the Tour de France, with past winners Chris Froome and Geraint Thomas likely the second and third favourites for victory behind him.
There has already been much talk of who will eventually lead the British team, with a recent statement from the team indicating that a decision will come nearer the race, which is set to kick off on August 29.
With the threat of not leading the squad in France, four-time winner Chris Froome has been linked with a mid-season transfer, while the Brit's ex-rival Alberto Contador has mused that the rise of Bernal is behind a potential Froome move. For his part, Bernal said that the parcours will make the decision in France, and that he has a good relationship with his co-leaders.
Winning grand tours at this early stage of his career, plus - locked-in to a nice long contract at the best GC team in the peloton, we have very little doubt that the 23yo Colombian has the potential to be one of the sports all-time-great riders.
"I have an excellent relationship with Froome and Thomas. We behave honestly and sincerely, like real professionals. As always, the course will be decisive. I have a lot of confidence in the team and in the strategy that should take us to victory."