The precociously talented 21-year-old is already showing he could be destined for great things
While there was little doubt that Colombian cycling is very much on the up again, the first edition of the Colombia Oro y Paz stage race underlined not only the passion for the sport in the Latin American country, but also the depth of talent it boasts.
Colombia’s well-established names were very much to the fore, Rigoberto Urán and Fernando Gaviria among those who won stages.
But all were outshone by race winner Egan Bernal, who turned 21 in January. Already sixth at the Tour Down Under and winner of the Colombian time trial title ahead of EF Education First-Drapac’s Daniel Martínez, another precociously talented 21-year-old Colombian, Bernal has enjoyed an astonishing debut month in Team Sky colours.
His latest success on home roads supports the widespread belief that he will soon become a Grand Tour contender, perhaps even as soon as this season, when he is slated to ride the Vuelta a España.
Bernal’s talent was first noticed by Italian agent and ex-Mapei pro Paolo Alberati, who was intrigued by the Colombian’s back-to-back podium finishes in the World Junior Mountain Bike Championships.