Bernal claims Colombia’s first Tour de France title

Colombian fans in Paris celebrated on Sunday as 22-year-old Egan Bernal became the first Colombian to win the Tour de France.
Colombia's Egan Bernal (right) and cyclists ride down the Champs Elysees avenue next to the Arc de Triomphe during the 21st and last stage of the 106th edition of the Tour de France cycling race between Rambouillet and Paris Champs-Elysees, in Paris,
Colombia's Egan Bernal (right) and cyclists ride down the Champs Elysees avenue next to the Arc de Triomphe during the 21st and last stage of the 106th edition of the Tour de France cycling race between Rambouillet and Paris Champs-Elysees, in Paris, on July 28, 2019. PHOTO: AFP

PARIS (REUTERS) - Egan Bernal became the first Colombian to win the Tour de France when he retained the overall leader’s yellow jersey after Sunday’s (July 28) 21st and final stage won by Caleb Ewan of Australia. 

The 22-year-old Bernal, the youngest rider to win the race in 110 years, gave Team Ineos – formerly Team Sky – their seventh title in the last eight editions. 

He beat team mate and defending champion Geraint Thomas of Britain by 1:11, with Dutchman Steven Kruijswijk coming home third, 1:31 off the pace. 

Also the winner of the white jersey for the best Under-25 rider, Bernal did not win a single stage, but he was first at the top of the Col de l’Iseran when the 19th stage was stopped because of hailstorms and landslides in the Alps. 

Kruijswijk’s Jumbo-Visma team shone throughout the race, winning four stages through Dylan Groenewegen, Wout van Aert, Mike Teunissen and the team time trial. 

Briton Adam Yates failed to impress but his Mitchelton-Scott team also claimed four stages. Yates’ twin brother Simon won two stages while Matteo Trentin and Daryl Impey took one apiece. 

 
 
 
 

France’s Julian Alaphilippe, who wore the yellow jersey for 14 days but cracked in the Alps and ended fifth overall, was the race’s most exciting rider. 

The world number one, who had been fighting to become France’s first winner since Bernard Hinault in 1985, was voted this year’s most aggressive rider after also winning two stages. 

“Alaphilippe changed the deal of this Tour de France, no question about it,” said Tour director Christian Prudhomme. 

“There was also the absence of (four-times champion) Chris Froome, which gave hope to many riders.”

Slovakian Peter Sagan wrapped up a record seventh green jersey for the points classification, surpassing the previous mark he held jointly with German Erik Zabel. 

Frenchman Romain Bardet won the polka dot jersey for the mountains classification, a consolation prize after he dropped out of overall contention early on. 

Sunday’s stage, a mostly processional ride from Rambouillet that ended on the Champs Elysees, as it has done every year since 1975, was won by Ewan, who snatched his third stage win on his Tour debut. 

Ewan burst through on the right side of the cobbled avenue to beat Dutchman Groenewegen and Italian Niccolo Bonifazio, who were second and third respectively.