Colombian cyclist Egan Bernal finished Saturday’s penultimate stage of the Tour de France in the yellow jersey, meaning that he is all but guaranteed to be crowned the winner of this year’s race—provided he crosses the finish line in Paris on Sunday.
Bernal’s victory makes him youngest Tour winner in 110 years, the first non-Englishman to win the Tour in five years, and the first Colombian to win the Tour in the history of the race. The cyclist will go into Sunday’s stage unchallenged as tradition dictates that the final section mostly be for processional purposes.
“It’s incredible. I just want to get to the finish line in Paris and after I’ll be calmer,” Bernal told reporters after Saturday’s stage. “Colombia is on the verge of winning its first Tour, We already had won the Giro d’Italia and La Vuelta a España, but the Tour was missing and it’s a great honor to think that I’m the one achieving this.”
Three different crashes helped Bernal race in the Tour as co-leader of the Ineos team—his own, Chris Froome’s season-ending crash at June’s Criterium du Dauphine and Geraint Thomas’s, last year’s Tour de France winner, at the Tour de Suisse—though his success at the world’s most famous cycling race isn’t much of a surprise. He won the Tour de l’Avenir, which tends to correlate with Tour de France success, and impressed Thomas while pacing him to victory on Alpe d’Huez last year.
Along with the yellow jersey, Bernal will also take home the white jersey, given to the best young rider in the race. Through stage 20, the cyclist led all riders with a time of 79 hours 52 minutes and 52 seconds, leading his second-place teammate Thomas by one minute and 11 seconds.