Egan Bernal has became the first Colombian to win the Tour de France by retaining the overall leader’s yellow jersey after the 21st and final stage was won by Australia’s Caleb Ewan.
The 22-year-old Bernal, the youngest rider to win the race in 110 years, gave Team Ineos – formerly Team Sky – their seventh title in the last eight editions.
He beat teammate and defending champion Geraint Thomas of Britain by one minute and 11 seconds, with Dutchman Steven Kruijswijk coming home third, 1:31 off the pace.
“It’s incredible, I don’t know what to say. I’ve won the Tour but I don’t manage to believe it. I need a couple of days to assimilate all this,” Bernal said.
“It’s for my family and I just want to hug them. It’s a feeling of happiness that I don’t know how to describe it.
“This is the first Tour for us, Colombians. Many Colombians have tried before, we’ve had great cyclists in the past. But I’m the first one to win the Tour! Colombia deserves it.”
Also the winner of the white jersey for the best Under-25 rider, Bernal did not win a single stage, but was first at the top of the Col de l’Iseran when the decisive 19th stage was stopped because of hailstorms and landslides in the Alps.
Sunday’s stage, a mostly processional 130km ride from Rambouillet that ended on the Champs-Elysees as it has done every year since 1975, was won by Ewan.
The Australian burst through on the right side of the cobbled avenue to beat Dutchman Dylan Groenewegen and Italian Niccolo Bonifazio, who were second and third respectively.
“It’s unbelievable,” Ewan said.
“When we rolled onto the Champs-Elysees, to be honest I almost had tears in my eyes when I rolled through there.
“It’s such a surreal feeling and I can’t believe I just won the stage.”
The stage victory was the Australian’s third of his debut tour, putting him second after Peter Sagan in the points classification, and continuing a successful season that includes two stage wins on the Giro d’Italia and two on the Tour of Turkey.
“The Tour de France started off quite slow for me. It was like I could never get there. But the second half has been unbelievable, I’ve won every sprint in the second half,” Ewan told CyclingNews.
“The sprint (on the final stage) was quite messy and we were quite far back but I was patient and waited. I didn’t know how many guys were in front of me and so I waited and then ran at the three guys across the road.
“I went down the right, most sprinters I’ve talked to said don’t go down the right because its bumpy. But luckily I had the speed to come through in the end.”
Kruijswijk’s Jumbo-Visma team shone throughout the race, winning four stages through Groenewegen, Wout van Aert, Mike Teunissen and the team time trial.
Australian Richie Porte finished 11th overall to overcome his demons after crashing the two previous years, Jack Haig was 38th, Simon Clarke was 61st and Michael Matthews was 67th.
Briton Adam Yates failed to impress but his Australian team Mitchelton-Scott also claimed four stages. Yates’ twin brother Simon won two stages while Matteo Trentin and Daryl Impey took one apiece.
France’s Julian Alaphilippe, who wore the yellow jersey for 14 days but cracked in the Alps and ended fifth overall, was the race’s most exciting rider.
The world No.1, who had been fighting to become France’s first winner since Bernard Hinault in 1985, was voted this year’s most aggressive rider after also winning two stages.
Slovakian Sagan wrapped up a record seventh green jersey for the points classification, surpassing the previous mark he held jointly with German Erik Zabel. Ewan was second and Matthews was fifth.
Frenchman Romain Bardet won the polka dot jersey for the mountains classification, a consolation prize after he dropped out of overall contention early on.