Le Tour 2019: Stage 20

Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne  to  Tignes   59.5km (shortened due to landslides on Cormet de Roseland)

The Shark strikes again. Nibali takes the win on shortened final mountain stage

Bahrain Merida’s Vicenzo Nibali soloed to his first stage win since taking the overall back in 2014. Egan Bernal confirms his ascendancy to the Tour throne.

Tour de France 2019 – 27/07/2019 – Etape 20 – Albertville / Val Thorens (59,5 km) – Stage winner Vincenzo NIBALI (BAHRAIN MERIDA)
Copyright: A.S.O. Alex BROADWAY

Nibali had not visited the top step of a Tour de France podium since 2014 but in a show of renewed strength he struck out alone on the long climb to Val Thorens to win by 10″ over Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) with Mikel Landa third at 14″.

The Sicilian was part of a group that attacked early in a stage shortened to 59.5 kilometres after landslides forced the omission of the Cormet de Roseland from the day’s tests.

Just behind were Egan Bernal and Geraint Thomas, the latter graciously congratulating the Colombian as they reached the line, the job almost done head of the largely ceremonial Parisian stage 21.

Tour de France 2019 – 27/07/2019 – Etape 20 – Albertville / Val Thorens (59,5 km) – Egan BERNAL and Geraint THOMAS (TEAM INEOS)
Copyright: A.S.O. Alex BROADWAY

Champion-in-waiting Egan Bernal described his feelings ahead of the official ceremony in Paris

“We’re now close to making it official. There’s one stage left, but normally if everything goes well, I can say that I’ve won my first Tour. 

“The last climb has been very hard. Jumbo-Visma rode hard to make the podium. We were in a comfortable situation and I felt really well. I’m happy. 

“It’s incredible to think that I have won my first Tour. I just want to get to the finish line in Paris tomorrow and after I’ll be calmer. Colombia is on the verge of winning its first Tour – I feel this is not only my triumph but the triumph of a whole country. We already had the Giro, La Vuelta, but the Tour was missing and it’s a great honour to think that I’m the one achieving this. My dad couldn’t talk at first but when he managed, he congratulated me. He was about to cry. For us, it’s a dream. 

“We used to watch the Tour on TV and we thought it was something unreachable. As a kid, you think “how cool it would be to be there one day”, but it looked so far away. Here we are and I’m very emotional.”

Stage 20 Summary Video (copyright ASO)

Stage 20 results and GC

Le Tour 2019: Stage 19

All Hail Egan Bernal. French hopes dashed as race lead changes hands as hailstorm descends on final climb.

Team Ineos’s Columbian climbing prodigy takes over the lead of Tour de France from Alaphillpe after a hailstorm of apocalyptic proportions cuts off the road to Tignes and forces the annulment of Stage 19. The drama capped a day that saw Thibaut Pinot forced to abandon with a muscle injury.

While the race was hotting up on the slopes of the Col d’Iseran a massive hailstorm 30km ahead had turned the landscape white and rendered the road to the finish at Tignes impassable. Reacting quickly officials led by Race Director Christian Prudhomme made the decision to stop the race for rider safety.

The situation was soon relayed via time managers and race officials to riders including Bernal and Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) who were descending towards Val d’Isere with a lead of over two minutes on the yellow jersey. Reactions ranged from anger to frustration, disbelief to resignation. Alaphillipe who was descending like a madman clawing back time looked a picture of despair.

Tour de France 2019 – 26/07/2019 – Etape 19 – Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne / Tignes (126,5 km) – Julian ALAPHILIPPE (DECEUNINCK – QUICK – STEP)
Copyright: A.S.O. /Alex BROADWAY

While details needed to be ironed out it was quickly decided that General Classification standings would be based on the time gaps at the top of the Col D’Iseran, placing Bernal firmly in the lead. It was also decided that there would be no stage winner, leaving Simon Yates ruing the missed opportunity to fight for a hattrick of wins.

Tour de France 2019 – 26/07/2019 – Etape 19 – Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne / Tignes (126,5 km)
Copyright: ASO/Thomas MAHEUX

The new Maillot Jaune, Egan Bernal explained his feelings at moving into the race lead:

“To be honest, I didn’t know what was happening. I’ve been told in 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.”

Outgoing champion Geraint Thomas expressed some regrets at the turn of events:

“If was a funny one because if we’d known [about the cancellation] beforehand it would have been more of a race to the top of that last climb. But it’s one of those things. It’s out of everyone’s control. 

“It’s all ifs and buts. The main thing is that we’ve got the jersey in the team now and we’re in a great position. We just have to go in there and finish the job off tomorrow now.  “Going into the last stage Egan’s in yellow. The main thing is he finishes the job. For sure he’ll have a decent advantage over everyone else. I fully support him now. He’s been incredible from the start and he’s a phenomenal talent.”

Pinot Abandons

Thibaut Pinot was France’s Plan B for ending its 34 year long wait for a Tour de France win if ‘Plan Alaphillipe’ faltered but fate had other plans. The Groupama-FDJ rider had sustained a serious muscular injury a couple of days before after striking his handlebar while avoiding a crash.

Despite his team doctor’s efforts and making it through Stage 18 it all proved too much and on the climb of the Montée d’Aussois about 40 kilometres into the race Pinot abandoned coming to a stop in tears supported by his teammate William Bonnet.

More story to come

Stage 19 Summary video (Copyright ASO)

General Classification after Stage 19

Le Tour 2019: Stage 18

Quintana bags a win for starving Movistar. Alaphillipe keeps France’s hopes alive with demon descending skills. Bernal slips ahead of Thomas to make it a Fiesta for Columbia.

With a devastating attack on the slopes of the Galibier, Nairo Quintana singlehandedly salvaged what had been a disastrous tour for Movistar. The Columbian made easy work of the climb, attacking from a small group of breakaway riders 7.5 kilometres from the 2642m summit, before descending under gathering rain clouds to the finish in Valloire.

Tour de France 2019 – 25/07/2019 – Etape 18 : Embrun / Valloire (208 km)
A.S.O. Pauline BALLET

Such was the power and hunger of Quintana it would be another 1’35” before Romain Bardet (AG2R La Mondiale) arrived at the line followed by Alexey Lutsenko (Astana Pro Team) at 2’28”, the pair leaving it far too late to catch up.

Back in the yellow jersey group Egan Bernal was putting his own Ineos teammate Geraint Thomas under pressure in an attempt to do the same to race leader Julian Alaphillipe (Deceuninck – Quick Step). It looked like it was going to work.

Tour de France 2019 – 25/07/2019 – Etape 18 : Embrun / Valloire (208 km)
A.S.O. Pauline BALLET

Stage 18 Video Summary (courtesy of ASO)

Stage 18 Summary (Copyright ASO)

Tour de France 2019 Etape 18 – Embrun / Valloire (208 km) – L’Izoard, la Casse Deserte
Copyright: A.S.O. Pauline BALLET

Stage 18 Results

Le Tour 2019: Stage 17

Matteo Trentin solos to the win in Gap. Luke Rowe and Tony Martin kicked off Tour after altercation

European Champion Matteo Trentin added a fourth win to the Mitchelton-SCOTT tally at the 2019 Tour de France, joining Simon Yates (with two) and Daryl Impey after he soloed away from a large breakaway to take victory 37 ” ahead of Kasper Asgreen (Deceuninck – Quick Step) with Greg Van Avermaet (CCC Team) third at the head of a small group of five at 41″.

Tour de France 2019 – 24/07/2019 – Etape 17 – Pont du Gard / Gap (200 km)
Copyright: A.S.O. & Alex_Broadway

With a massive day of climbing looming on Stage 18 the stage was billed as the last chance for some to go for glory so it was no surprise when a large group of over 30 riders went on the attack just a few kilometres into the stage.

Tour de France 2019 – 24/07/2019 – Etape 17 – Pont du Gard/ Gap (200 km) – Sergio HENAO (UAE TEAM EMIRATES)
Copyright: A.S.O. & Alex_Broadway
Chasing peloton ride through parched mountain scenery
Etape 17 – Pont du Gard/ Gap (200 km)
Copyright: A.S.O. & Alex_Broadway

At the finish Matteo Trentin described his win:

“It was really an emotional finish because I’ve actually only won two races in my career alone, and doing it here in the Tour de France, with this finish line, with this group in front. It was amazing.”

“Chris was a really big help. We spoke to each other and decided he would cover the early attacks and he did cover a lot. Then when that strong move went, I was able to follow and it was the perfect scenario.”“I tried [to attack] a few times, because there was no collaboration and I knew that if I got maybe a 10-second gap and they start to watch each other, with the legs I have I can finish it off. I was a bit scared with the headwind and the guys behind taking a turn each they could have taken some time, but it wasn’t the case. When I was on top of the climb the only intention was to go full gas, taking as little risk as possible.”

Luke Rowe and Tony Martin disqualified following altercation

An altercation between Ineos’ Luke Rowe and Team Jumbo-Visma Tony Martin saw both riders later disqualified and each fined 1000 Euros. While aspects of the incident were captured on camera the complete picture as well as the cause the incident remain somewhat of a mystery.

WATCH: Full Rowe-Martin clash emerges (Copyright Eurosport)

Luke Rowe and tony Martin later held a joint press conference to apologise but it did not sway the officials.

Alongside the conference the riders issued the following statement.:

“We believe this is a very harsh decision by the race commissaries and against the spirit of what has been such a fantastic race to date. It was the sort of incident that merits a fine and a warning but certainly not expulsion from the race – a ‘yellow card’ but not a ‘red’. Luke and Tony recognised it for what it was – a minor spat on the road at the end of a sweltering day in the saddle. It didn’t affect any other rider and it didn’t disadvantage any other team. They rode to the end of the stage together where they both shook hands. There was no ill will and they clearly still have a lot of respect for one another. We believe it is unjust that their Tour could come to an end over something like this at this point in the race. ”

The ejections are a blow for their teams respective GC contenders Geraint Thomas and Steven Kruijswijk. Riders, teams and media were quick to express dismay at the harshness and consequences of the decision.

Le Tour 2019: Stage 16

Caleb Ewan Doubles Up in Nimes

Nîmes, Tuesday, July 23rd 2019 – Caleb Ewan took his second win of the 2019 Tour de France overcoming blistering heat on the road to Nîmes. He became the second U26 rider to win a stage in each of the Grand tours, emulating Mark Cavendish.

The Australian, who outsprinted a grand triplet of sprinters, Elia Viviani (QST), Dylan Groenewegen and Peter Sagan, credited his win to the motivation of having his wife and baby daughter at the finish.

Caleb Ewan wins the sprint on Stage 16
Tour de France 2019 – 23/07/2019 – Etape 16 – Nimes / Nimes (177 km) A.S.O./Alex BROADWAY

Julian Alaphilippe retained the yellow jersey after a day embedded in the peloton, but the General Classification had a rejig with the abandonment of Jakob Fuglsang (Astana) – see medical report below.

Tour de France 2019 – 23/07/2019 – Etape 16 – Nimes / Nimes (177 km)
Copyright ASO/Pauline_BALLET

Speaking shortly after the stage Caleb Ewan said:

“Blah Blah Blah”

“The fact that my wife and daughter are at the race for the first time, makes it really special. It is incredibly beautiful to celebrate this victory together with them. It was difficult to keep the confidence after some second and third places. I finally got it right in stage eleven. Now, the next sprint chance immediately delivers a second victory, that is just amazing! If I am the best sprinter in this Tour? I think there are some really good sprinters here. Maybe, I proved to be the most consistent one, but in any case, today I showed to be the best.” 

“I came here with the first objective to help my brother, the second to try to get a stage win. Now I have two so I’m very proud. This one was really hard, the first wasn’t easy, but this one, with the parcours was extremely difficult.

“I’m very tired now but there are three very hard stages in the final week so we will try again.”

Jakob Fuglsang abandons following crash

Astana pro Team issued the following medical update on Jakob Fuglsang, who was lying in 9th overall on GC when he suffered a bad crash with less than 30km to go:

Due to a crash in stage 16 of the Tour de France, Jakob Fuglsang had to abandon the race and was brought to the organizations medical truck. The results of the examinations: Heavy contusions and abrasions of his hand, arms, and knees. Radiography showed no fractures. There will follow more examinations in the next days to decide the expected time of recovery.

“I’m really disappointed about leaving the Tour de France this way, but there was too much pain to continue. Somebody crashed in front of me and there was no way to avoid it, so I crashed over my handlebar. My hand directly swallowed up and I could barely stand on my feet, I directly knew my Tour would finish here. I was very motivated for the final week and I was ready to battle for a higher position in the GC. That this has to be the way of missing out on this battle, is just very disappointing. Now all the focus will be on recovering, both physically as mentally, because the Tour was a big goal after my wins in Liége and the Dauphiné.” – Jakob Fuglsang

Stage 16 Results

Stage 17 Preview:

Stage 17 sees the peloton tackle 200km through the mountains form Pont du Gard to Gap. It’s a route that may suit an adventurous breakaway. The last stretch crosses the 981m 3rd Category Col de la Sentinelle before a fast descent to the finish. Both Alaphillipe and Thibaut Pinot will fancy their chances of gaining a few seconds.

Stage 17 Profile

Le Tour 2019: Stage 15

Le Tour Stage 15: Alaphillipe (QST) retains the Maillot Jaune as Simon Yates (MCT) tales his second stage win in Foix

Alaphillipe (QST) retains the Maillot Jaune as Simon Yates (MCT) tales his second stage win in Foix

Foix, Sunday, 21st July 2019 – Simon Yates claimed a second stage win in four days as he rode solo to Foix Prat d’Albis as the lone survivor of a long breakaway. The Brit had a healthy advantage over chasers Thibaut Pinot and Mikel Landa who had managed to drop the rest of the GC contenders on the final climb.

Tour de France 2019 – 21/07/2019 – Etape 15 – Limoux / Foix Prat d’Albis (185 Km) – Simon YATES (MITCHETLTON – SCOTT) © A.S.O./Alex BROADWAY

Race leader Julian Alaphilippe retained his yellow jersey despite losing contact with Thibaut Pinot in the final couple of kilometres. Defending champion Geraint Thomas also lost time but retained second spot on GC.

Tour de France 2019 – 21/07/2019 – Etape 15 – Limoux / Foix Prat d’Albis (185 Km) – Julian ALAPHILIPPE (DECEUNINCK – QUICK – STEP) © A.S.O./Alex BROADWAY

Speaking shortly after the stage Yates said:

“It was on from start to finish. The GC guys were coming fast, I know personally how fast they can go, so I wanted to maintain the advantage to the bottom of the final climb. Simon Geschke was a great companion on the descent, so thank you to him, but I knew I had to go early on the final climb.

“I came here with the first objective to help my brother, the second to try to get a stage win. Now I have two so I’m very proud. This one was really hard, the first wasn’t easy, but this one, with the parcours was extremely difficult.

“I’m very tired now but there are three very hard stages in the final week so we will try again.”

Racing resumes on Tuesday in the Alps after Monday’s rest day with the spotlight squarely on both Alaphillipe and Pinot. The pair have the hopes of France resting heavy on their shoulders.

Video of the final kilometre’s action (no commentary)

All set in Pau for La Course with 3 days to go

The sixth edition of La Course by Le Tour de France will be held in Pau on Friday, 19 July, just a few hours before the Tour de France stage 13 time trial takes place on the same course.

Report by Mark Sharon

Photo credits: A.S.O./J.A. Delevaux

It is the first sortie in to hilly terrain for the race which will see 21 teams of six riders tackling five laps of the circuit for a total of 121 kilometres.

Marianne Vos, is the stand-out favourite for the win in Pau, back after skipping last year’s edition. It would be the CCC Liv’s second triumph at La Course by le Tour, five years after taking the inaugural edition on the Champs-Élysées.

Her rivals will be World Champion Anna van der Breggen (2015) and American Chloe Hosking (2017) both former winners. Two-time winner Annemiek van Vleuten, on the other hand, is currently racing in the Giro Rosa and will decide whether to take part in the coming days. For now, Mitchelton–Scott has pencilled in the Dutch rider but the team from Down Under has a plan B in the shape of Aussie Amanda Spratt, who finished sixth last year.

Other big names on the start line include the British 2015 world champion, Lizzie Deignan, the third-placed rider in the 2017 La Course by le Tour, Elisa Longo Borghini from Italy, and Amstel Gold Race winner Katarzyna Niewiadoma from Poland. The home girls are outsiders but eager to surprise, with riders such as Juliette Labous (Sunweb), Audrey-Cordon Ragot (Trek–Segafredo), who finished sixth in the Amstel Gold Race, and Aude Biannic (Movistar), who is in her element in circuit races. The French FDJ Nouvelle-Aquitaine Futuroscope outfit will be banking on Aussie veteran Shara Gillow (fifth in 2017) as well as the home-grown talent of 20-year-old Evita Muzic and 19-year-old Jade Wiel, who will be taking part in her first race in the French champion’s jersey. Charente-Maritime Women Cycling is the other French team invited to La Course.

Competing Teams:

  1. Alé Cipollini (Hosking, Paladin)
  2. Bigla Pro Cycling (Ludwig, Thomas)
  3. Boels – Dolmans Cycling Team (van der Breggen, Blaak)
  4. Canyon SRAM Racing (Niewiadoma, Amialiusik)
  5. CCC – Liv (Vos, Moolman)
  6. FDJ Nouvelle Aquitaine Futuroscope (Becker, Gillow)
  7. Mitchelton-Scott (van Vleuten, Spratt)
  8. Movistar Team (Jasinska, Gutiérrez)
  9. Parkhotel Valkenburg (de Vuyst, Knetemann)
  10. Team Sunweb (Brand, Kirchmann)
  11. Team TIBCO – SVB (Kessler, Chapman)
  12. Team Virtu Cycling (Pawlowska, Neylan)
  13. Trek-Segafredo Women (Deignan, Longo Borghini)
  14. Valcar Cylance Cycling (Balsamo, Muccioli)
  15. WNT-Rotor Pro Cycling (Ensing, Santesteban)
  16. BTC City Ljubljana (Bujak, Ratto)
  17. Charente-Maritime Women Cycling (Quiniou, Allin)
  18. Cogeas – Mettler Pro Cycling Team (Pitel, Saarelainen)
  19. Doltcini – Van Eyck Sport (Riabchenko, Jeuland-Tranchant)
  20. Lotto Soudal Ladies (Kopecky, de Jong)
  21. Rally UHC Cycling Women (Doebel-Hickok, Bergen)

Team Data Supplied by https://www.procyclingstats.com