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28 Jul, 2019 07:01

Tour de France: Locals enthralled as Colombia's Egan Bernal stands on the verge of glory

Tour de France: Locals enthralled as Colombia's Egan Bernal stands on the verge of glory

Colombian cycling hero Egan Bernal captured the Tour de France yellow jersey with just one day to go, and now looks set for sporting immortality in his home country as he bids to win the most famous cycling race in the world.

Bernal is all set to become the first Colombian rider to win "Le Tour" and if the 22-year-old successfully finishes the job after Sunday's final stage he will become the youngest winner of the race for 110 years.

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It will be a proud moment for the man who first introduced Berna to cycle racing, his childhood coach Fabio Rodriguez, who saw his potential as an eight-year-old boy but never imagined that potential would take him all the way to a potential Tour de France victory.

"I knew he was really good, talented, but I didn't know that he could be where he is now," Rodriquez admitted.

"You don't ever imagine that he could become the best in the world.

"It's as though I raised him, in the sense of preparing him to handle it, to be able to manage the physical pressure."


Rodriguez's young students gathered in the town square of Zipaquira - Bernal's home town - to watch their hero claim the yellow jersey in yesterday's penultimate stage, joining huge crowds of locals who have taken great pride in seeing a local rider making it all the way to the top.

"There's so much pride, so much emotion," said amateur cyclist and Zipaquira resident Melissa Cruz.

"He's a very humble person. He's brought us a triumph we've never had."

Bernal will lead the field in the largely processional final stage at the famed Champs Elysees in Paris, with only a remarkable turn of events likely to separate him from an historic victory.

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