Tour de France winner Egan Bernal, Nairo Quintana and some 180 other Colombian top athletes will finally travel to Europe on a special charter flight on Sunday.

The 'sports flight' is necessary because Colombia has banned all commercial flights until the end of August due to the corona pandemic. That was certainly a problem for the cyclists, as the postponed Tour de France starts on August 29.

The flight from Bogota to Madrid is funded by sports federations, the teams of the athletes and the Colombian Ministry of Sport. "Good cooperation under the leadership of the government will allow our athletes to travel to Europe to be on time for their competitions," said Sports Minister Ernesto Lucena Barrero in a statement.

In addition to Bernal and Quintana, cyclists Miguel Ángel López Rigoberto Urán and Sergio Higuita, among others, also fly, as do a number of football players, judokas, fencers and volleyball players.

23-year-old Bernal, who became the youngest Tour winner in over a century last year, will again be one of the leaders of Team INEOS in the Tour de France. He wants to prepare for the Tour via the Tour of Occitania (August 1-4), Tour de l'Ain (August 7-9) and the Critérium du Dauphiné (August 12-16).

Thirty-year-old Quintana, who twice finished second in the Tour and has a Giro and Vuelta victory on his honors list, was hit by a motorist during a training session less than two weeks ago, but he was already on the bike again on Saturday.

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