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"I can't believe it!" Egan Bernal becomes first Colombian to win the Tour de France

Colombia gets its first yellow jersey winner as Australian sprinter wins third stage of debut edition

Egan Bernal has become the first Colombian winner of the Tour de France and given Team Ineos its seventh overall victory in eight years, becoming the fourth rider from the team to win cycling’s biggest race. The sprint victory in Paris at the end of the 128-kilometre stage from Rambouillet was won by Caleb Ewan of Lotto-Soudal ahead of Jumbo-Visma’s Dylan Groenewegen.

The overall podium was completed by Bernal’s team-mate, the 2018 champion Geraint Thomas, and Steven Kruijswijk of Jumbo-Visma following a stage when the famous Champs-Elysée circuit was spectacularly bathed in the evening sunshine.

Also taking to the podium this evening were Peter Sagan of Bora-Hansgrohe, who has now won the points competition a record seven times, mountains classification winner Romain Bardet of AG2R La Mondiale and Movistar, who win the best team award.

There was also recognition for the rider who perhaps more than most lit up what has been one of the most spectacular editions of the race in years – Deceuninck-Quick Step’s Julian Alaphilippe, who held onto the yellow jersey until Friday, and receives the super-combativity award.

As ever, the roads into the French capital were ridden at a sedate pace, Bernal and his team-mates posing for the obligatory photos with glasses of Champagne – Sagan managing to photobomb them at one point.

A relaxed mood settled over the peloton as riders chatted with past and present team mates as well as friends and rivals alike in the group.

A couple of Category 4 climbs had been put into the early part of the day, although the mountains classification had been settled yesterday, with Bardet having an unassailable lead.

However, it was the man who held the polka-dot jersey for 15 stages until losing it to Bardet on Thursday, Tim Wellens of Lotto-Soudal, who took the solitary point ahead of his team-mate and close friend, Thomas De Gendt.

At the next climb, it was local rider Yoann Offredo of Wanty Groupe Gobert who led the race over, before Team Ineos then led the yellow jersey onto the Champs-Elysées, Thomas accorded the honour of being the first rider across the finish line for the first of eight circuits.

A four-man attack comprising Bran Tratnik of Bahrain-Merida, Katusha-Alpecin’s Nils Politt (Katusha-Omar Fraile of Astana and EF Education-First’s Tom Scully got away, but were swept up with a little under two laps together ahead of the expected bunch sprint.

Tour de France 2019 champion, Egan Bernal

I should say thank you to all my team. Thank you G [Geraint Thomas] for the opportunity and all the team for the support and believing in me. Today I am the most happy guy in the world. I just won the Tour de France. I can’t believe it.

Runner-up and outgoing champion Geraint Thomas

Two years ago I was here with my arm in a sling, with a broken collarbone and devastated I wasn’t able to ride my bike and two years on, I’m disappointed not to have won a second Tour!

I’m proud of how I managed to get myself into good shape. It hasn’t been a smooth run into the Tour or during it really, but this team is incredible and it was a pleasure to be a part of Egan’s first of many [victories] and to be stood on the podium in second is still a big achievement.

I’m glad to be going home and closing the front door and switching off. Emotionally, mentally and physically it’s been draining and it’s still enjoyable - it’s the pinnacle of the sport and what you dream of when you were a kid, but at the same time it’s been hard work and I’m looking forward to switching off.

Ineos team principal Sir Dave Brailsford

I’ve been over to Colombia a couple of times in the last few years and the Colombians themselves, and where cycling sits in their culture, is unbelievable.

 To be able to deliver their first ever Tour de France champion is something we’ve spoken about previously. I feel very proud. It’s a privilege to get to work with all these people – fantastic staff, fantastic new owners.

 Riders who have won this – the calibre of Geraint or of Chris Froome – when those guys realise it’s the moment to support, they do. You don’t have to talk to them. They really understand the sport and they’ve got respect for each other have our guys – we’re a team. And they know that the team needs to win and they’ll put the team in front of themselves. Geraint’s demonstrated that once again like the great champion he is.

Champs-Elysées stage winner Caleb Ewan

It’s unbelievable. Just to roll down the Champs-Elysées is such a surreal feeling! The Tour de France started up quite slow for me.

I thought I was not going to make it but the second half of the race has been incredibly successful for me.

It was quite a messy sprint today. I was quite far back. I waited and I just ran out of wheel. I went to the right hand side and I was lucky that I had enough speed at the end.

Eight years ago on my first visit to the Champs-Elysées I said I’d win here one day, it’s fantastic that it already happens on my first Tour!

Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.

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