Egan Bernal writes Tour de France history | Sports| German football and major international sports news | DW | 27.07.2019
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Egan Bernal writes Tour de France history

It's over. Egan Bernal has become the first Colombian to win the Tour de France. But that's not all the young rider has achieved; he also joins a very select group of cyclists.

Watch video 01:25

The Pride of Colombia: Egan Bernal

Shortly before the finish, a Colombian reporter raised the decibel levels. Commentating live as Egan Bernal crossed the line, he spread the word about the first Colombian Tour de France winner in history: "Campeon del tour de Francia" he exclaimed again and again in to his phone.

Behind the reporter, the 22-year-old cyclist made his way through the photographers and journalists. Hundreds of fans celebrated Egan's win and fellow Ineos rider Geraint Thomas was one of the first well-wishers.

"It's incredible," Thomas said at the press conference after the race. "I told him to enjoy it, he shouldn't be afraid to cry, real men are allowed to cry too." Last year's winner didn't anticipate Bernal's victory, but acknowledged: "Egan is born to be fast, he has the best team around and certainly many more years to go."

A family affair

Tradition dictates that the man wearing the yellow jersey after Saturday's stage is not attacked in the last leg in to Paris and thus Bernal became the first Colombian to win cycling's most prestigious title on Sunday.

"It's amazing to have done such a thing, and that's what we, my family, have always dreamed of," Bernal said after Satuday's stage, unable to hold back the tears.

When Bernal first climbed on the bike in 2005, he certainly didn't expect to win the Tour de France 14 years later. Actually, the Colombian wanted to become a journalist and began studying towards that end.

But ultimately, thanks partly to the influence of his father who was also a professional cyclist, he decided that cycling was to be his vocation. In 2014 he started to become succesful on a mountain bike before moving to the road, causing something of a stir when he finished 15th in last year's Tour.

Beat bigger names

Then, earlier this year, he won the spring classic Paris-Nice race ahead of compatriot Nairo Quintana and was the overall winner of the Tour de Suisse. Despite that, he came in to this year's big event relatively unfancied.

Bernal was initially assigned to a different role in the Ineos team. In Geraint Thomas and Chris Froome, who was forced to pull out of the Tour through injury, he had experienced and top class riders ahead of him in the pecking order. But Bernal prevailed through consistency and strong tactics, eventually overtaking Thomas.

"I can not say what I feel, it's just so many emotions," Bernal said.

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