Egan Bernal wins Paris-Nice
Team Sky's Egan Bernal resisted fellow Colombian Nairo Quintana to claim the Paris-Nice weeklong race after Spain's Ion Izagirre won the last stage on Sunday.
The 22-year-old, one of cycling's hottest prospects, beat Quintana by 39 seconds overall, allowing the Movistar rider to grab just a few seconds from him in the 110-km loop around Nice.
Another Team Sky rider, Michal Kwiatkowski, ended up third overall, one minute and three seconds off the pace.
Sky have now claimed six of the last eight editions of the 'Race to the Sun'.
"I can’t believe that I just won Paris-Nice. It’s incredible for me. I’m really happy. I just can’t believe it yet," said Bernal.
“When some GC (general classification) riders started to attack I knew I could follow them, but also I know that I have a really good, strong team, and my team can control these races.
“So it wasn’t too difficult to be calm because I really believe in my team. They did a really, really good job. We knew it was the last day so they pulled really hard."
Bernal, who was impressive in helping Chris Froome and Geraint Thomas on the Tour de France last year, will make his debut as a leader on a grand tour at the Giro d'Italia this year.
The young Colombian had to stave off the challenge of compatriot and two-time Grand Tour winner Nairo Quintana, who went on the attack with 47 kilometres remaining of the 110km stage.
Quintana, 46 seconds back in the general classification standings going into the day; led by a minute at one point and also picked up three bonus seconds in an intermediate sprint, but a Sky-led chase ensured Bernal finished just four seconds behind his rival.
Movistar's Quintana finished second in the GC standings – 39 seconds back – with Sky'sMichal Kwiatkowski third, just over a minute behind his team-mate.
Bernal joins the likes of Sir Bradley Wiggins and Geraint Thomas as winners of the event for Team Sky, who are in their final year under their current guise.
Stage 8 Nice to Nice, 110 km, Road race
- Egan Bernal COL (Team Sky)
- 1 Ion Izagirre ESP (Astana Pro Team)
- 2 Oliver Naesen BEL (AG2R La Mondiale)
- 3 Wilco Kelderman NED (Team Sunweb)