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Bernal rethinking programme to defend title at rescheduled Tour de France

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Bogota (AFP)

Tour de France champion Egan Bernal said on Wednesday he will reconsider his training programme so he can defend his title after new dates were announced for this year's race.

Organisers announced earlier on Wednesday the start of the Tour was being pushed back to the end of August in response to the coronavirus lockdown in France.

"We have 4 and a half months to get back to 100 per cent," Bernal posted on Instagram. "It is time to rethink all the training and start with more motivation than ever to get to this date in the best form."

Bernal said his team, Ineos, "will continue to work hard, calmly, with a lot of patience and intelligence, to be back on the starting line with a clear conscience having done the right job."

The race, originally scheduled for June 27 to July 19, has been moved to August 29 to September 20 because of the ban on mass events in France.

Bernal, the first Latin American to win the Tour, has been confined in central Colombia since returning from Europe after Ineos withdrew from Paris-Nice, where he was also the defending champion, following the death of their sports director Nicolas Portal.

In the last few days, Bernal has posted videos on social media showing him training on an exercise bike.

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