Colombia's Bernal wins Tour of California cycling crown

Los Angeles (AFP) –


Team Sky's Egan Bernal won the Tour of California on Saturday, holding the lead he seized in the mountains through a sprinters showcase final stage in state capital Sacramento.

The 21-year-old Colombian, the first rider from his homeland to win the event, finished in a total time of 25hrs 34mins 19secs to defeat American Tejay van Garderen of BMC Racing by 85 seconds, the second-biggest win margin in the event's 13-year history.

Another Colombian, Fernando Gaviria of Quick-Step, won a photo finish at the line with Germany's Max Walschied of Sunweb to claim the stage seven victory in 3:07:09.

It was a hat-trick for Gaviria, his third stage triumph after taking the first and fifth.

Australian rider Caleb Ewen of Mitchelton was third in the stage with Slovakian Peter Sagan of Bora fourth in the final sprint.

Bernal edged Ewen 45-42 in the points competition.

Bernal, a runner-up in last month's Tour of Romandie, won Monday's second stage and also captured Friday's penultimate stage to overtake van Garderen.

The South American seized his final victory margin and Team Sky dominated the front of the peloton on Saturday, keeping Bernal's lead from being threatened in the 143km final flat stage.

Colombian Daniel Martinez of Education First was third overall, 2:14 off the pace, with Britain's Adam Yates of Mitchelton fourth, another two seconds adrift, and British Sky rider Tao Geoghegan Hart fifth, 2:28 back.