Education First lead the Tour Colombia ahead of Egan Bernal's Team Ineos

Tunja (Colombia) (AFP) - Tour de France champion Egan Bernal said his Ineos outfit will have to “rethink” its strategy after a disappointing opening team time-trial at the Tour Colombia on Tuesday.

Education First Pro Cycling (EF) from the US scorched around the 16.7km circuit at Tunja, 2,700m above sea level, in a time of 18min 01sec to put Ecuador’s Jonathan Caicedo in the leader’s jersey.

The Deceunick-Quick Step team of French star Julian Alaphilippe came second at 45sec with Ineos third at 46sec.

“We’re going to see how we can rethink the race. The truth is we didn’t expect to lose so much time, we’ll have to change our strategy,” said 23-year-old Bernal.

“We made a couple of mistakes… We didn’t expect to lose so much time, it wasn’t a bad time-trial, what Education First did was a very good time-trial.”

As well as the young Colombian star, Ineos’s line-up also boasts Giro d’Italia title-holder Richard Carapaz of Ecuador.

The result puts the likes of EF’s Colombian pair Sergio Higuita and Daniel Martinez in a strong position to challenge for the overall victory, Bernal said.

“It’s going to be difficult to take back so much time,” added Bernal, the winner of the inaugural Colombian tour two years ago.

The UAE Emirates team of 2015 Vuelta a Espana winner Fabio Aru of Italy came in fifth, losing a minute to EF.

Wednesday’s third stage is a 152km trek from Paipa to Duitama in the Boyaca region.

The entire six-day tour is raced at above 2,500m with Sunday’s finale ending on the climb to the Puerto de El Verjon at 3,290m.