Bernal could skip Olympics due to back pain

·1-min read
Bernal won Monday's 16th stage to extend his Giro d'Italia lead

Giro d'Italia leader Egan Bernal said on Tuesday he may miss this summer's Tokyo Olympic Games in order to recover from lingering back pain.

The Colombian star, who won the Tour de France in 2019, leads Italian Damiano Caruso by two minutes and 24 seconds with five stages of the Giro remaining.

But Bernal said on the second rest day of the year's opening Grand Tour race that he could skip the Olympics.

"I'm not sure I'm going (to Tokyo). It's a question mark," Bernal told a press conference.

"I will only go if I am fully competitive. I spent a lot of energy on the Giro. I don't know if going to the Games, with what that entails like fatigue, is the best thing to do.

"If it is too risky, I will not go. I'm not ruling out the possibility (of going), but it will be difficult."

Bernal, who said he "could" race the Vuelta a Espana, also ruled out any thoughts that he would attempt to become the first man to win the Giro-Tour de France double since Marco Pantani in 1998.

"I don't think so, no. Doubling up with the Giro and Tour is very difficult. We already have a very good team," added the 24-year-old.

"The Giro and the Tour are very different. It also depends on the routes, the team's objectives. For now, I want to focus on the next stages of the Giro."

Bernal resumes his bid for a second Grand Tour crown in Wednesday's 17th stage, a 193km ride from Canazei to Sega di Ala.

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