Tour De France Record Breaker Takes The Yellow Jersey

Colombian Egan Bernal is the youngest rider in more than a century to win the coveted Tour de France yellow jersey.

Bernal, 22, is also the first Colombian to cross the line as champion of the legendary cycle race.

Last year’s winner Geraint Thomas challenged for the leader’s place but was happy to finish second behind an Ineos team mate.

“To finish second behind a team-mate makes it OK,” said Thomas.

“Two years ago I had my arm in a sling with a broken collarbone watching Chris Froome win, wishing I was riding and I would’ve taken second then, but it just shows how time and expectations have moved on.

Old and fat

“Egan is the future and when I’m 45 and old and fat and sat in the pub watching him win a 10th Tour de France I can say I told him all I know.”

Thomas was expected to retain his title, but a crash in the Tour de Suisse and some bumps in the Tour de France put paid to his hopes.

Bernal showed as the stronger rider and eventually finished 71 seconds in front of the Welshman and 91 seconds ahead of third placed Dutchman Steven Kruijswijk.

“Thanks to all my team and thank you Geraint Thomas for giving me the opportunity,” said Bernal. “I’m the happiest guy in the world. I have just won the Tour de France and I can’t believe it.”

History books

Bernal rides into the history books as only the third Colombian to chalk up a major tour victory, behind Nairo Quintana, who won the 2014 Giro d’Italia and 2016 Vuelta a Espana. Luis Herera won the Vuelta a Espana in 1987.

The main strength Bernal brings to cycling is his ability to eat mountain climbs.

Born more than 2,500 metres up in the Andes, his body is acclimatised to racing at high altitude.

“He’s got an amazing engine. What he did on Alpe d’Huez, for a 21-year-old, was amazing,” said Thomas.

“There is a lot in Egan that reminds me of myself when I was younger. It’s great having him on the team and he brings a lot of young, new energy to the group.”