Latin America & Caribbean

Tour de France: Thousands in Colombia celebrate Bernal win

A boy cries while watching the Tour de France in Zipaquira Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Tears of emotion as a young boy watches the big screen in Bernal's hometown of Zipaquira

Thousands of people have gathered across Colombia to celebrate Egan Bernal's victory in the Tour de France.

Bernal, 22, is the first Colombian to win the race and the youngest to be crowned in 110 years.

In his hometown of Zipaquira, hundreds came to the "Plaza of Hope" to watch the final stage of the Tour in Paris, beamed across a giant screen.

A graffiti mural of the champion was unveiled in the town over a week ago.

Sunday's stage in Paris was largely ceremonial and the young Colombian finished to top the podium.

Image copyright AFP
Image caption Colombian cycling coach Fabio Rodriguez, who trained Egan Bernal, celebrates as he watches the Tour de France in Zipaquira

Mr Bernal's journey from a humble upbringing has become a symbol in Colombia, a country that has produced many famed cyclists.

This year alone, three of them - Rigoberto Uran, Nairo Quintana, and Bernal - finished within the top 10.

Images on social media show crowds celebrating in Colombia on Saturday as Bernal crossed the finish line on the penultimate stage in the Alps with his Ineos team mate, Geraint Thomas, who will come second overall.

Bernal's victory has resonated especially with Colombians from modest backgrounds, many of whom are from the same deprived, largely indigenous areas of Colombia's Andes mountains.

Image copyright AFP
Image caption Twelve Colombian cyclists have won stages of the Tour in previous years, with several others taking the coveted "King of the Mountains" polka dot jersey
Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Egan Bernal successfully defended his lead position at the final stage of the race on Sunday
Image copyright Reuters
Image caption "This victory is not for one rider but for an entire country," Bernal said after his victory was all but secured on Saturday

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