Ber­nal nears a big first for Colom­bia

The Fresno Bee (Sunday) - - Sports - BY SA­MUEL PETREQUIN AND JOHN LE­ICES­TER

Per­pet­u­at­ing the tra­di­tion of great Colom­bian climbers, Egan Ber­nal left his mark on the Tour de France in the moun­tains. But un­like his flashy pre­de­ces­sors, he is also poised to win cy­cling's big­gest race. At just 22.

Ber­nal kept the yel­low jer­sey Sat­ur­day af­ter the last Alpine stage, and bar­ring a crash or a last­minute health is­sue he will be­come the first Colom­bian to win the Tour when it ends on Paris' Champs-El­y­sees with a largely pro­ces­sional stage on Sun­day. Ber­nal will also be­come the youngest post-World War II win­ner of the Tour.

“Colom­bia al­ways had great climbers,” Ber­nal said. “We won the Giro, the Vuelta, but it never hap­pened be­fore on the Tour. For many years we had great cy­clists, we never man­aged to win. It did not work out on the Tour de France. Now we have it.”

CHRISTOPHE ENA AP

Britain’s Geraint Thomas, right, con­grat­u­lates Colom­bia’s Egan Ber­nal as they cross the fin­ish line of Sat­ur­day’s 20th stage of the Tour de France in Val Thorens.

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