Egan Bernal - The man who loves suffering - Sport
As the first South American in tour history Egan Bernal wears the yellow jersey to Paris. The 22-year-old drove in France only because he had to cancel the Giro d'Italia because of an injury.
The cold was beginning to creep in from outside, but inside, at the press center, the mood was getting fiercer. The Colombian Egan Bernal had just kept his lead in the Tour de France on the 20th stage to Val Thorens, now he took in a big round the questions of the reporters. Where: questions were not always quite true. "Thank you great champion, what you have done for our country!", So began many addresses of reporters from his homeland. Later, they swarmed their champion like bees with a honey stick, kisses, hugs, souvenir photos. "Egan, another picture! Egan, a greeting to the family at home!" - that's what it looks like when a country is redeemed.
But good, Egan Arley Bernal Gómez was on Sunday evening the first Colombian and even the first South American to wear the yellow jersey on the last stage to Paris, where the leader is traditionally no longer bothered with attacks. Many famous predecessors had already shaken their hopes for this grand prize, hopes as high as Galibier, Ventoux and Tourmalet combined. All had failed, Luis Alberto Herrera, Fabio Parra, Nairo Quintana. The latter won the heavy stage over the Galibier this time, but in the ranking it had washed him back far, sometimes again.
But: Now there was Bernal, who shed so many tears on the weekend, that almost fell into oblivion, as this feverish tour at the end fell back into an old pattern: The British team Ineos (formerly Sky) again made the overall winner, to seventh time in eight years. But this time with the youngest tour winner since World War II. Did Bernal's success, as many suspected, even witness the dawn of a new era?
In the end there are two attacks in the thin air
His immediate triumph had begun in May, also with tears: Bernal had broken his collarbone in a fall, his planned start at the Giro d'Italia was gone. However, there was still enough time to get fit for the tour, which he originally did not want to contest. And then his teammate Christopher Froome also crashed hard, and because last year's winner Geraint Thomas also crashed at the Tour de Suisse (where Bernal won), the Colombian was suddenly the great hope of his British team.
He drove a bit in the shadow of Thomas, the helpers of Ineos weakened, which had not been experienced in France for a long time. But Bernal became more and more vital in the Alps, where it alone went over five peaks over 2000 meters. Of course, the altitude certainly helped him, he said, his hometown Zipaquirá is located at 2600 meters in the heart of the Andes. In the end, there were two attacks in the thin air, on the 18th and 19th stage, with which he let the competitors languish: Thomas, who finished second, in front of the Dutchman Steven Kruijswijk and the German Emanuel Buchmann. "I just love the feeling of being in the mountains," Bernal said afterwards, "I love that feeling of not knowing if you're ready for the challenge or not." This carefreeness and love for his sport have always worn him, it was that simple.