Tour de France: Bernal wins Zwift Rider of the Day

He may not have featured on Sunday's flat, largely processional stage 21 to Paris, but for his sterling efforts throughout the Tour de France, Team Sky's Egan Bernal takes the final Zwift Rider of the Day award. The 21-year-old Colombian finished safely in Paris to take 15th overall at his first grand tour.

Bernal, the youngest Tour de France rider since Fabio Felline (Trek-Segafredo) in 2010, impressed everybody with his racing in support of team leaders Geraint Thomas and Chris Froome throughout the race.

Standout performances included his ride on the Alpe d'Huez, where he was one last domestique among the group of GC contenders. Bernal led the group for 8km of that mythical climb, shutting down attacks from the likes of Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida), Nairo Quintana (Movistar) and Romain Bardet (AG2R La Mondiale) before leaving Thomas and Froome to take over in the finale.

A week later, on the race's final mountain showdown at the Col d'Aubisque, Bernal was up front again, guiding four-time winner Froome back to the leaders after he was dropped as Tom Dumoulin (Team Sunweb) and Primož Roglič (LottoNL-Jumbo).

These efforts may have been standouts, but they were typical of the man from Zipaquirá when the race hit the mountains. Competing in the biggest race of them all at such a young age had looked possibly a step too far even for a prodigy like Bernal, but he has handled the three weeks with apparent ease, riding with poise of a man far more experienced.

"I'm prepared for the new adventure, and I hope to be in good condition," Bernal told Cyclingnews before the start of the Tour. "I'm here to help win the Tour and help Chris [Froome] in the mountains. I think I can help him, if I feel good.

"I want to learn a lot. I'm here with guys who have a lot of experience, like Kwiatkowski, Thomas and Froome. Then in future, if I'm the leader in a big race maybe they can help me."

In the three weeks since, Bernal has more than lived up to his words. And judging by this display, his last statement looks like it will be a reality sooner rather than later.

Daniel Ostanek: I've followed Bernal's career ever since I interviewed him shortly after he began racing for Androni Giocattoli two years ago. Back then he looked a special talent, putting up Indurain-esque VO2 max numbers in UCI testing, and winning the youth classification at the Settimana Coppi e Bartali and Giro del Trentino - only the 7th and 9th road races he had ever competed in, by his estimation.

But even considering that, his subsequent rise has been meteoric. After winning the Tour de l'Avenir last year, he 'transferred' to Sky for a reported €350,000 development fee, and this year has become the Colombian TT champion as well as winning Colombia Oro Y Paz and the Tour of California.

His 15th place overall at this Tour is the conclusion of a phenomenal half-season for the young Colombian. Already, he looks as certain a future Grand Tour winner as I have ever seen in a rider so young.

Readers' choice

On Saturday's stage 20 you voted for Team Sunweb's Tom Dumoulin as your Zwift Rider of the Day. The Dutchman won his third career Tour stage, edging out Chris Froome (Team Sky) by a single second in the 31km time trial, and consolidating his second place overall. The win caps off a remarkable few months for Dumoulin, with second places at the Giro and Tour arguably the best attempt at a double since Marco Pantani pulled it off 20 years ago.

You can vote for stage 21's Zwift Rider of the Day below.

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Daniel Ostanek
Production editor

Daniel Ostanek is production editor at Cyclingnews, having joined in 2017 as a freelance contributor and later being hired as staff writer. Prior to joining the team, he had written for most major publications in the cycling world, including CyclingWeekly, Rouleur, and CyclingTips.

 

Daniel has reported from the world's top races, including the Tour de France and the spring Classics, and has interviewed many of the sport's biggest stars, including Wout van Aert, Remco Evenepoel, Demi Vollering, and Anna van der Breggen.

 

As well as original reporting, news and feature writing, and production work, Daniel also runs The Leadout newsletter and oversees How to Watch guides throughout the season. His favourite races are Strade Bianche and the Volta a Portugal, and he rides a Colnago C40.