Who Is Egan Bernal? The Youngest Tour Winner In 100 Years | The Cycling Race News Show

Who Is Egan Bernal? The Youngest Tour Winner In 100 Years | The Cycling Race News Show


Welcome to the GCN Racing News Show. Coming up this week, we look back on a dramatic
final week of the Tour De France and ask the question: who, exactly, is Egan Bernal? The final day in Paris saw the Tour De France
crown its first ever South American winner in Egan Bernal, and at 22 years of age, the
Colombian’s rise to the pinnacle of the sport has been nothing short of meteoric. So we thought we’d rewind and find out a
little more about how he got to this point. Bernal was born on the thirteenth of January
1997 in Zipaquira Colombia, which is North East of Bogota and importantly for a cyclist
sits at an altitude of 2652m above sea level. CyclingTips featured a great interview with
him in 2016 where he gave some insight into how he found the sport, he told Daniel Ostanek
that his Dad had been a keen cyclist, but not a pro. At age 8 he would ride with his Dad at the
weekends. There was a race in his town and with Bernal
senior not wanting him to ride, someone else gave him a helmet. He went on to win multiple races and his talent
was visible from a young age. His journey into pro-cycling though came via
mountain biking and the talent spotter that is Gianni Savio. Egan represented Colombia at the world junior
mountain bike championships in 2014 and 15, taking a silver and bronze medals in that
order. He had success as a junior in his home country,
but after winning the Sognando Delle Fiandre – The dream of the Tour of Flanders race,
he was introduced by his agent to Gianni Savio who looking for a climber, signed the then
19 year old, on a four year contract. So he skipped the U23 ranks entirely really. I first saw him at the Giro de Trentino in
2016 where I was commentating, he climbed with the best and ultimately took the white
jersey as best young rider. A successful season followed winning the Tour
of Bihor and finishing 4th at the Tour de L’Avenir. I next saw him at the Tour de Langkawi in
Malaysia in 2017 where I got to interview him on multiple days, unfortunately there
was no Genting Highlands stage that year which we have loved to see him in action on, and
despite his best efforts he couldn’t quite shake everyone on the less steep Cameron Highlands. Success after success followed and two stage
wins and the general classification at the Tour de L’Avenir saw him transfer to team
SKY for 2018. He impressed in his first Tour de France working
to help deliver Geraint Thomas to victory. But 2019 is all about this humble 22 year
old climbing sensation, who will become the youngest winner of the Tour de France for
110 years. When you look at Bernal’s stats, they’re
frightening, particularly for his competitors. He has won 3 of the 4 WorldTour stage races
he’s done this year. He has finished in the top 6 in 12 of the
last 13 stages races that he’s finished, the only blemish being last year’s Tour
de France, where he was working for both Geraint Thomas and Chris Froome. Bernal’s victory at the Tour de France was
in part down to three separate crashes. The most serious, that of Chris Froome at
the Criterium du Dauphiné, without which it would surely have been him that entered
the race as team leader. The crash of Geraint Thomas in the early stages
of the Tour de Suisse, which may have left the Welshman a percentage or two short of
top race form. And finally, the crash of Bernal himself,
back in May, without which he would have lead Team Ineos at the Giro d’Italia, and come
to the Tour a little more fatigued, if at all. In the Tour itself, he handled himself well
in a stressful first week, including making the front group on a pivotal day in the crosswinds
on stage 10. Despite losing ground in the time trial on
stage 13, he made up for it on back to back days in the Pyrenees. His attack with 6km to go to the top of the
Col de l’Iseran on stage 19 was a brave move – but ultimately it was the one that
won him the Tour. With the cancellation of the stage shortly
after, we’ll never know if he’d have held on all the way to the summit finish in Tignes,
but what we do know is that if Bernal had waited until that summit finish, the situation
could have panned out a lot differently for the Colombian. What was great to see, was how much it meant
to him – this video from Eurosport shows how emotional he was when he took the yellow jersey
on stage 19, under the strangest of circumstances. And not only will it mean a huge amount to
him, it’ll also mean a huge amount to the whole of Colombia. Already a HUGELY passionate cycling nation,
their celebrations are going to be off the charts, and Bernal will no doubt inspire a
whole new generation of future world beating climbers. For Team Ineos – that was the 7th Tour de
France win in the last 8 years, a remarkable feat, even when their remarkable budget is
taken into account. For the last three years, they have achieved
the win with a different rider, and it’s the 2nd time in 2 years that they’ve filled
two of the three spots on the podium. That said, this race was one of the most enthralling
editions of recent times. Had we known at the start that it would be
an Ineos 1-2 in Paris, I think we’d all have been forgiven for rolling our eyes in
despair, but in reality, the way they rode, the way that had to ride, was completely different
this year. Not only did they appear to not have the same
strength in depth of the climbs as in previous years, they also were forced to ride an attacking
race. Why, because of a Frenchman named Julian Alaphilippe. How good was he?!! Two stage wins, both of which were taking
in his typical flamboyant style, plus 14 Days in the yellow jersey. Many were expecting him to crack, but the
further he got into the high mountains, the more we, and he, were wondering if he’d
become the first French winner of the event in 34 years. In the end, it wasn’t to be, Alaphilippe
did crack, at the highest point of the race on stage 19. He was, undoubtedly, paying for the many efforts
he’d made in the first week of the race, without which, perhaps, he’d have had that
little bit of extra energy for the final few days. And that will lead to more speculation, from
us, from his team, from himself, as to whether he can become a Grand Tour winner in the future,
if he changes the way he rides. And to that, I would say, we don’t really
want you to Julian! In order to become a Grand Tour winner, he’d
have to ride conservatively, save energy whenever possible, play the long game, and that is
about as far from his current mentality as you could get. Alaphilippe loves to attack, and we love to
watch him attack. He was the entertainer of this year’s Tour
de France, both on and off the bike, just as he has been in pretty much every other
race in which he’s competed this year. Do we really want him to change? I’m not sure I do. We’d like to know what your thoughts are
on this, though – would you like to see Alaphilippe have a proper crack at winning the Tour de
France next year by preparing differently and riding a more conservative race, or would
you like to see him stay exactly like he is. Let us know in the comment section below. The funny thing is, that even if Alaphilippe
changed his preparation next year and focussed everything on winning the Tour de France,
he may not necessarily do any better. It’ll be very interesting to see how he
plans 2020. Another man we don’t want to change is Vincenzo
Nibali, who took the final, truncated mountain stage on the penultimate day of the race. His 41st Grand Tour stage in the space of
78 days, according to Ammatti Pyorailly on twitter:
Brilliant to see Geraint Thomas so gracious in ‘defeat’ to his teammate – and actually,
what a performance by the Welshman given his far from ideal lead in to the race this year. Steven Kruijswik rounded out what has been
an incredible race for Team Jumbo Visma, and becomes the 9th Dutch rider to get on the
Tour de France podium: The big loser in the final week was poor Thibaut
Pinot, who reportedly banged his leg on his bars on stage 17, got through stage 18, but
succumbed to the muscle tear the following day. Watching him stop at the side of the road
in tears, consoled by his teammate William Bonnet, I think left most of us in tears too. Like Alaphilippe, Pinot animated the race
this year, and gave the French, and the rest of us, even more to cheer. To see him have to climb into his team car
like that was devastating – let’s hope he can take all the positives from this year’s
race and come back stronger than ever in 2020. According to the Cycling Road Book on twitter,
on only one other year, 1956?, has the Tour de France podium not won a stage between them. Although that makes the assumption that Jumbo
Visma’s TTT win was not a stage win for Steven Kruijswijk. And even the 4th place finisher, Emmanuel
Bockman didn’t win a stage. He did, though, announce himself as a potential
future Grand Tour winner. As Dan pointed out last week, we haven’t
really spoken about him enough, in fact I don’t think we mentioned him at all in our
preview, which was remiss of us, but we won’t be making that mistake again. Just as it’s great to see the French on
the verge of winning their home Grand Tour again, it’s also great to see Germany with
a new GT contender – much of their success since the Ullrich era has been in sprinting. Speaking of sprinting, we must also mention
Peter Sagan, who sealed the deal on a record breaking 7th Green jersey. The end of the road for a sponsor is never
good and Roompot have announced they’re to stop their involvement in cycling at the
end of the season. In a press release on the team website announcing
the news, they’re not sounding too confident at finding someone to replace the holiday
park company, let’s hope for all the riders and staff that they do. Over at the Adriatica Ionica Race, Remco Evenepoel
continues to impress, winning stage 3 by over 2 minutes, on his own. He will replace current champion Victor Campenaerts
in the Belgian squad for the upcoming European Time Trial championships, Campenaerts citing
fatigue from a busy early part of the season. At 19 will we see this young rider follow
a similar trajectory to our Colombian Tour de France winner. There was a one two three for Deceuninck Quickstep
on stage 1 – which means they now have a total of 51 wins to their name so far in 2019…..(when
we recorded this) Finally I thought we would have a little fixed
gear crit action…. Fixed Gear star Alec Briggs checked in from
the Eastbourne Cycling where rather impressively the fixed gear crit was only point one of
a kilometre an hour slower than the road bike one! 40.6 to 40.5kmh! Bonkers! See who told you that you needed brakes and
to freewheel round corners! Alec took the victory in the men’s race
while Margaux Vigie took the women’s race in emphatic style, lapping the field. Coming up next week, the Clasica San Sebastian,
the start of the Tour of Poland and the Tour de Wallonie… if, like me you totally suffer
from post Tour blues then you can of course binge watch our daily highlights many times
over while eating ice cream and waiting for the Vuelta to come around! Thanks for watching keep subscribing to GCN
Racing we’ve got loads of live racing and highlights to come in August and if you want
a little something a little different check out Hank’s 1903 Tour de France stage epic
with Mark Beaumont by clicking the link on your screen now. Have a great week bye for now.