Calculated by the overall performance, the young cyclist has outshined his competition as they all pedalled around France and are nearing their final destination: Paris.
The youngest race champion in 110 years, the Team Ineos rider retained the overall lead after Saturday’s 20th stage, a 59-km ride from Albertville, finishing fourth.
“It’s incredible to think that I have won my first Tour,” he said. “I just want to get to the finish line in Paris tomorrow and after I’ll be calmer."
The cyclist added, "Colombia is on the verge of winning its first Tour - I feel this is not only my triumph but the triumph of a whole country.
“My dad couldn’t talk at first but when he managed, he congratulated me. He was about to cry. For us, it’s a dream. We used to watch the Tour on TV and we thought it was something unattainable. As a kid, you think ‘how cool it would be to be there one day’, but it looked so far away. Here we are and I’m very emotional,” said the happy and humble Bernal.
His teammate and defending champion, Geraint Thomas, is doing well himself in second place overall and ahead of Dutch rider, Steven Kruijswijk who moved up in ranks after France’s Julian Alaphilippe cracked in the final ascent toward Val Thorens.
“It’s incredible,” Thomas said. “I said to him, ‘Enjoy it, soak it all up and don’t worry about crying, because all real men cry.’ He’s an amazing athlete and it’s been an honour to be a part of this.”
Thomas told the Guardian that Bernal’s talent quickly became obvious to the team.
“The talent was there to see from the very start,” he said. “He’s improving all the time and was born to go uphill fast. He’s got the best team around him and he can continue to improve. He’s a humble guy with good support from his family and a very bright future. He has a good network to keep him grounded.”
Sunday’s final stage from Rambouillet to Paris is a largely processional ride with only the final sprint being contested.