“I’m surprised and very happy about how much I’ve managed to do [this year],” Cyclingnews cited Bernal in a translated version of the interview. “Not even a year has gone past and I’m now thinking about the Tour de France, not just finishing or taking part, but trying to go for the overall and do it as well as possible.
“If you had told me a year ago, just after the accident and when I’d recently regained consciousness, that I would be thinking about the Tour de France, I don’t think I’d have believed it. Thanks to my family and my team, it’s all been possible.”
Despite the extraordinary experience, Bernal stays grounded: “We are all the same. Anything can happen to anybody. What I want to show is that if you set out to do something, you have to fight for that and keep pushing no matter the odds.
Coco y Bernal tomándose una pola para iniciar la temporada bien hidratados. 👌🏽 pic.twitter.com/zq98ebiPHA
— Egan Arley Bernal (@Eganbernal) January 15, 2023
“It’s been a very complicated process, months of work behind the scenes, getting up and starting from scratch. Learning to clean my teeth, to eat, all those small steps you have to take and which were very tough at first, but which we could do thanks to passion and determination and which I could do.”
“It might sound odd but at this point in time, I think the best thing that could have happened to me was the accident itself. It was very tough. It sounds obvious, if I could turn the clock back, it would be better that it didn’t happen, but once it did and I’m here where I am a year on, I think it was one of the best things that could. I got to be closer to my family, to God, I met some very good people and that’s all thanks to the accident.
“When I have my children and grandchildren, I will tell them that dad was nearly killed when he was 25 because he crashed into a bus, and that way, they can understand that even when things are bad, good things can happen as a result.”
Bernal will now go to the 2023 season without any serious pressure and is looking forward to meeting his friends from the peloton. The top riders such as Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates) and Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma) followed his recovery closely.
“It’s true that when I fell, I received numerous messages and during the season, many riders you have named kept on writing to me. They showed me that respect,” Bernal told AS.
“If this were to happen to one of those riders you named, I’d be super concerned because it is so hard. And that’s what I take away from all this – the respect others have shown. Some people think there’s a lot of rivalries but on the contrary, we live in Europe and when our paths cross, we sit down to have a beer together.”