Tour de France: Locals enthralled as Colombia's Egan Bernal stands on the verge of glory
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.
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.Also on rt.com Tour de France halted after hailstorm hits Saint-Jean-De-Maurienne to Tignes stage (VIDEO)