Cycling: Forget His Age, Bernal Is Ready, Says Brailsford | 7/5/2019 | Staff
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BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Colombia’s latest Tour de France contender Egan Bernal looks so young, one reporter asked him if he knew who Belgian great Eddie Merckx was on the eve of the Tour de France on Friday.

Considering the race starts in five-time champion Merckx’s home city of Brussels on Saturday it was as well he said “yes”.

Bernal - Rider - Field - Paris-Nice - Year

Bernal is only 22, and will be the second youngest rider in the 176-strong field, but after winning Paris-Nice this year and following up at the Tour de Suisse he arrives as joint leader of Team Ineos with defending champion Geraint Thomas.

Team boss Dave Brailsford, who has masterminded the Tour triumphs of Bradey Wiggins, Chris Froome and Thomas under the team’s former Sky logo, was emphatic when asked whether the man from Zipaquira was too young to join that celebrated list.

Age - Age - Experience - Etcetera

“You have a mental age, a physical age, experience etcetera, but if you’re ready, you’re ready, and he’s ready,”

Luke Rowe, who will be Ineos’s captain on the road over the next three weeks, said Bernal, who impressed in the mountains last year on his Tour debut, boasts the same attributes as four-time champion Froome, who is out following a serious crash.

Egan - Leader - Guy - Everything - Plate

“Egan is a natural leader. He is a guy I will put everything on the plate for and commit for because he is a leader,” Rowe told reporters at team hotel. “He has this personality.”

One of the Tour favorites, experienced Dane Jakob Fuglsang said this week he believes Bernal’s inexperience will be exposed over three brutal...
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