Giro d’Italia champion Bernal has COVID-19

Published June 5, 2021, 10:23 AM

by Agence-France-Presse

In this file photo taken on May 30, 2021, Team Ineos rider Colombia’s Egan Bernal celebrates with the race’s Trofeo Senza Fine (Endless Trophy) on the podium after winning the Giro d’Italia 2021 cycling race following the 21st and last stage in Milan. (Photo by Luca Bettini / AFP)

Colombian Egan Bernal is isolating with mild symptoms after contracting COVID-19, less than a week after he won the Giro d’Italia cycling race, his personal communications team said on Friday.

Also a winner of the Tour de France Bernal and his girlfriend Maria Fernanda Gutierrez took a coronavirus test before traveling home to Colombia from Monaco “and have just been informed of the test results in which both are infected with the virus,” the cyclist’s press team said in a statement. 

Bernal’s team Ineos Grenadiers said “he has displayed mild symptoms but is in good health.”

The 24-year-old will stay in quarantine in Monaco, his European base, before returning “to Colombia once his isolation period is over to mark his Giro d’Italia victory in his homeland.”

Neither he nor Gutierrez have shown any signs of “complications,” Bernal’s press team added in the statement.

Bernal stormed to Giro victory in May after dominating the first two weeks of the race, before holding off spirited resistence from Briton Simon Yates and Italy’s Damiano Caruso in the final few days.

He burst onto the scene in 2019 by winning the Tour de France, cycling’s most prestigious race, even beating his Ineos teammate and then-reigning champion Geraint Thomas into second.

In doing so he became the first Latin American to win the race and at 22 was the youngest champion since 1909.

Ineos said Bernal tested positive on Thursday and was due to travel to Colombia this weekend.

He had travel to Monaco to rest for a few days after being crowned Giro champion in Milan last Sunday.

Bernal’s press team said all the “events and tributes” planned for his return home had been postponed until he is given the all clear to leave quarantine.

His victory was greeted with great fanfare in Colombia, which has been gripped with deadly anti-government protests since April 28 and is also struggling to contain the coronavirus pandemic.

Despite his young years, Bernal is already Colombia’s most successful cyclist of all time, surpassing Nairo Quintana who won both the Giro and Vuelta a Espana, but never finished higher than second at the Tour.

Bernal is known for his humility and for remaining close to his family and to the Andean town of Zipaquira where he was born.

 
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