Egan Bernal is definitely very comfortable on the French slopes. The Colombian, last winner of the Tour de France, won this Monday the queen stage of the Route d'Occitanie between Saint-Gaudens and the Col de Beyrède in the south of France, taking the lead in the standings.
Main favorite of the event, the Colombian from Ineos hit hard and took advantage of this success, his first since the restart, to take the lead in the general classification one day from the finish, Tuesday in Rocamadour, in the Lot. This is the first French race that Bernal has competed since his coronation during the Grande Boucle and he has just sent a clear signal to his competitors: he is the boss of the peloton!
Froome to the mine
Chris Froome, the four-time winner of the Grande Boucle, and who dreams aloud of a fifth coronation, finished in 34th place on the stage. But this Monday, his role in the stage was to serve as a crawl spear for Bernal before the last climb and Froome fulfilled this unprecedented role of team member.
At the top of the Col de Beyrède, Bernal is ahead of his teammate Ineos, Pavel Sivakov by 10 seconds and Alexandre Vlasov (Astana) by 17 seconds. Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ), who came to measure his state of form, finished in fourth place, 31 seconds behind the Colombian.
Romain Bardet (AG2R), whose ambitions for the next Tour will be more modest than those of Pinot, is in 8th place, one minute and 18 seconds behind the winner. The Route d'Occitanie ends this Tuesday with a fourth stage between Lectoure and Rocamadour (200 km).