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‘No respect’ – Egan Bernal criticises riders attacking Tadej Pogacar as he takes a nature break at the 2024 Tour de France

One of the long-standing unwritten rules of the peloton is that when the race leader – in the case of Tadej Pogacar wearing the Maillot Jaune at the 2024 Tour de France – stops for a nature break, there is a respectful attack ceasefire until the leader returns. But according to Egan Bernal, that respect no longer exists in the modern peloton.

“In the 2019 Tour, you could say that the race was a little more controlled, a little more predictable about what was going to happen,” the 2019 Tour de France winner told Marca in a rest day interview. “There was even more respect in the peloton, now there is none. Yesterday the ‘yellow jersey’ stopped to pee and it was a moment when you knew everyone had to respect it. The one who had run away had already left and there were people who were still running away, it had never happened before.”

“The truth is that in 2021, after COVID, everything has changed. So we can say that not so much has changed from 2021 to today, but quite a lot from 2019 to today,” continues the 27-year-old Colombian, who is not entirely convinced that the change is for the better for the riders in the peloton.

In the first week of the 2024 Tour de France, Tadej Pogacar was the leading figure, but as in the Giro d’Italia earlier this year, the UAE Team Emirates leader has yet to completely subdue the spirit of his main rivals. “Apart from the legs, you have to wait for the right moment. I think nobody is invincible and that has already been proven. Jonas Vingegaard beat him and beat him very well,” Bernal assessed. “I think Vingegaard is a rider who can do very well, he waits for his moment, he doesn’t get carried away. And sometimes it’s better to be a bit patient than just to do a few shows. It’s good for the bike, but to win you also have to ride with a calm head,” concludes the INEOS Grenadiers rider.