Ineos Grenadiers rider Egan Bernal has said that his 2020 injury problems have not altered his aim of winning the 2021 edition.

The Colombian won the 2019 race aged just 22, but he struggled in the 2020 Tour and had to withdraw as a result of back pain. He was then diagnosed with scoliosis.

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Bernal was previously reticent to commit to his 2021 aims, but he told a local newspaper that he was now more optimistic.

Speaking to Noticias Caracol, he said: "I'll have to train very hard.

The truth is I'm preparing for the Tour de France, which is the most important race in the world.

"My first race should come at the Colombian national championships, which I think will still take place in February."

Wiggins analysis - What now for Ineos after Bernal abandons Tour de France?

The Colombian has also talked in the past of a wish to race the Giro d’Italia, and it may be that Bernal is not able to return to full fitness for the May 2021 start date.

He continues his rehabilitation, but he could still be some time away from reaching full fitness.

"Little by little the inflammation is going away. I've been peddling without pain for some days now, but the recovery will take a bit of time,” he said.

Bernal has some small events to use to feel his way back into competitive cycling, and there is still a hope from his Colombian Olympic committee that he could be part of the country’s team. However with the new 2021 calendar, the two events may be too close together for Bernal to compete in both.

Wiggins analysis - What now for Ineos after Bernal abandons Tour de France?

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