Tour de France champion Egan Bernal said his Ineos outfit will have to “rethink” its strategy after a disappointing opening team time-trial at the Tour Colombia on Tuesday. Education First Pro Cycling (EF) from the US scorched around the 16.7 kilometer circuit at Tunja, 2,700m above sea level, in a time of 18:01 to put Ecuador’s Jonathan Caicedo in the leader’s jersey.
The Deceunick-Quick Step team of French star Julian Alaphilippe came second at 45 seconds with Ineos third at 46 seconds.
“We’re going to see how we can rethink the race. The truth is we didn’t expect to lose so much time, we’ll have to change our strategy,” said 23-year-old Bernal.
“We made a couple of mistakes… We didn’t expect to lose so much time, it wasn’t a bad time-trial, what Education First did was a very good time-trial.”
As well as the young Colombian star, Ineos’s line-up also boasts Giro d’Italia title-holder Richard Carapaz of Ecuador.
The result puts the likes of EF’s Colombian pair Sergio Higuita and Daniel Martinez in a strong position to challenge for the overall victory, Bernal said.
“It’s going to be difficult to take back so much time,” added Bernal, the winner of the inaugural Colombian tour two years ago.
The UAE Emirates team of 2015 Vuelta a Espana winner Fabio Aru of Italy came in fifth, losing a minute to EF.
Wednesday’s third stage is a 152km trek from Paipa to Duitama in the Boyaca region.
The entire six-day tour is raced at above 2,500m with Sunday’s finale ending on the climb to the Puerto de El Verjon at 3,290m.
1. EF Pro Cycling (USA) 18:01
2. Deceuninck-Quick Step (BEL) at :45
3. Ineos (GB) 46
4. Rally Cycling (USA) 59
5. UAE (UAE) 1:00, 6. EPM Scott (COL) same time
7. Movistar (ESP) 1:02
8. Israel Start Up Nation (ISR) 1:21
9. Team Medellín (COL) 1:22
10. Colombian National Squad (COL) 1:33
1. Jonathan Caicedo (ECU/EF1) 18min 01sec
2. Sergio Higuita (COL/EF1) same time,
3. Daniel Martínez (COL/EF1) s.t.
4. Tejay Van Garderen (USA/EF1) s.t.
5. Lawson Craddock (USA/EF1) s.t.
6. Rigoberto Uran (COL/EF1) s.t.
7. Julian Alaphilippe (FRA/DEC) 45
8. Bog Jungels (BEL/DEC) s.t.
9. Jannik Steimle (GER/DEC) s.t.
10. Bert Van Lerberghe (BEL/DEC) s.t.
RBA/AFP Photos: Bettini