I wrote a 22-paragraph screed when i first saw this post, posted it, and deleted it ten minutes later. Probably just as well. A slightly calmer response: None of us knows how much pain Bernal was feeling. None of us know if he could have finished by just suffering a lot, riding in the gruppetto, or if he would have done some damage which might have set his career back half a season. Also--he is what, 24? Riders aren't considered mature and ready fro Grands Tours until 26 as a rule---and not considered (generally) to be GC contenders until 28--28-32 are the prime years for competing for GC. That is why "Best Young Rider" cuts of at 25. Bernal is very young, and probably has a lot of growing to do, a lot of strength to gain, and a lot of toughness to develop. Further, as has been noted, he is a pro rider. He rides for a living. primary for him is his health and his career. A serious athlete doesn't ruin his or her career by playing hurt and getting more hurt---except those few who later regret it because their careers were cut short (the exception being NFL players who are so doped they could play with every bone broken and not notice.) For the fans? Yeah, fans would have had such a richer experience if Bernal shuffled along int he gruppetto for the last five stages. As I say, none of us know how hurt he was, how well or poorly he trained during quarantine .... that's a big one. He Never seemed to be on form throughout this race or during the Dauphine. In fact Chris Froome and Geraint Thomas also looked really weak in the Dauphine. It looked pretty clear that whatever program Ineos had in place to keep riders trained, it wasn't working. Look at Jumbo-Visma for a clear contrast. Those guys looked like they had been racing all season. So ... between crashes, cramps, weakness, whatever .... should Bernal have suffered along in the gruppetto just to say he was there/ Why? What does he have to prove. he won the freaking Tour. What does he owe Anyone, in any case? His team and he made a pro-level decision which might well have helped hs whole career, or at the very least, saved him from a weak of pointless suffering. I mean, hey, why aren't we insulting Every rider who abandoned? if they didn't have broken bones sticking out through their skin, screw them, right? All the times sprinters pulled out early to get ready for the Worlds or for the Olympics .... As for the rest, sorry about your childhoods .... I too was raised to be tough and not to quit, but I grew up and learned that sometimes wisdom is better than macho. I guess that is what learning is about? I really don't know. I was thinking of the last group ride I attended. I have done those rides where you almost literally turn yourself inside out, where the whole ride is just suffering and pain and worse suffering and pain, where only pride and ego keep you from dropping off and letting go. I have done those rides enough to know I can. They were powerful experiences ... but on the whole I decided I didn't measure my cycling achievement in those terms. They just sucked, and the only upside was they eventually ended. Some folks do those rides and rate their rides by how much they hurt, and power to them. We are all different. I know I Can ride like that .... but to me the reward is not worth the suffering. I figure I can ride the same time or the same distance ... end Enjoy every moment of it, not just enjoy telling the horror stories later on. Different strokes, and all that. Anyway .... I rode to the start of the ride and I was Not feeling it. I was just tired. When the group took off, I lost the last wheel almost immediately, and I had to fight hard to get back. Rinse and repeat several times, and well before the rest of the group was even up to speed, I realized that I could not hold the pace that night. I knew that they would slowly speed up, I would get more tired, and when I eventually got dropped for good, I would be a long way from home and really exhausted. Instead, I opted to tell the last guy in line I was leaving and u-turn. I did my miles at a pace more suited to my abilities. Am I a quitter? A wimp? A slang term for a feline? Whatever. I am certainly old enough to make my own choices and strong enough to bear up against the slings and arrows of the small-minded. Egan Bernal decided to pull out. Why some people have violent emotional reactions about that, I am not sure. I would think more people would be more generous towards a 24-year-old kid who just happened to be born with some riding talent. But I guess in today's world, we all expect everyone else to live for us and to meet our standards, even if they have never met us. I suppose he is a public figure, and as such has to expect some public criticism ... but I also expect that some folks would think about things a little more deeply than i see here. Anyway ... I hope his departure hasn't ruined the race for any of you. I have really enjoyed the whole thing so far, and i don't see it getting any worse, even though it does seem that Primoz Roglic has a lock on it finally.