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Egan Bernal becomes first Colombian to win the Tour de France in Paris

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By Euronews
Egan Bernal becomes first Colombian to win the Tour de France in Paris
Copyright  REUTERS/Philippe Wojazer/Pool

Team INEOS' Egan Bernal became the 2019 Tour de France champion on Sunday after the Colombian finished Saturday's penultimate stage in the yellow jersey.

Saturday's stage was reduced by 71 kilometres to just 59.5, with the Cormet de Roselend removed from the route after a landslide had blocked the road.

Vincenzo Nibali, the 2014 Tour winner, was in the day's breakaway and then launched a solo attack on the climb to the finish at Val Thorens to claim victory, 10 seconds ahead of Alejandro Valverde.

Bernal is the first Colombian to win the Tour in Paris and, at 22, the youngest champion for 110 years.

On Saturday, hundreds of people in Bernal's hometown near Bogota celebrated the historic victory of their hero in the final Alpine stage of the Tour de France.

Residents cheered Bernal's success while local children staged a bike race of their own.

Born into a family of modest means - his father is a security guard and his mother is a farmworker - there was little to distinguish him from dozens of other hard-charging young cyclists chasing a dream.

His first coach Fabio Rodriguez said Bernal made it thanks to "work and honesty."

Perpetuating the tradition of great Colombian climbers, Egan Bernal left his mark on the Tour de France in the mountains.

Bernal kept the yellow jersey Saturday after the last Alpine stage, and barring a crash or a last-minute health issue, he will become the first Colombian to win the Tour when it ends on the Champs-Elysees in Paris on Sunday.

His breakout performance caps a decade of steady progress for Colombia's cycling "beetles," named for the steady determination they use to haul themselves up almost any mountain.

Gifted with superb climbing skills, the super-light Bernal — he only weighs 59 kilos - is a former mountain bike specialist.

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