History-chasing Bernal 'wanted to cry' after taking yellow jersey

Egan Bernal says he "wanted to cry" when he was presented with the yellow jersey after a dramatic stage 19 of the Tour de France which was ended prematurely due to extreme weather conditions.

Bernal will start the last competitive stage of racing on Saturday with a 45-second lead over Julian Alaphilippe after seemingly shattering the hopes of a first French rider winning the race for 34 years.

The Team INEOS rider climbed away from his rivals on the Col de l'Iseran and would have no idea that reaching the summit first would be enough for him to replace Alaphilippe at the top of the general classification standings.

A flash snow storm, hail and a subsequent landslide prompted race organisers to neutralise the 126.5-kilometre stage from Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne to Tignes on safety grounds with around 30km to go.

Times were taken at the top of the Col de l'Iseran, so Bernal leads Alaphilippe by 45 seconds and he was in a state of disbelief after taking a big stride towards becoming the first Colombian to win the title.

"It's incredible. When I had the jersey and the lion, I wanted to cry," said the 22-year-old, who has a lead of 63 seconds over team-mate and defending champion Geraint Thomas.

He added: "To be honest, I didn't know what was happening. I've been told on the radio that the race was finished and I said, 'no I want to keep going'. There were talking to me in English and I was not sure.

"Only after I stopped and my director told me that I was in yellow, I felt relieved. It's incredible. I can't believe it. I want to ride full gas tomorrow and then arrive to Paris and once I cross the line, I'll start believing this is true.

"There's one hard stage remaining. It's a short one. I'll give it all on the road. To become the first Colombian winner of the Tour de France would be amazing."

Thibaut Pinot's bid to secure the top step of the podium in Paris on Sunday was ended when he abandoned due to a thigh injury.

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