Tour de France 2019: Stage 21 – Ewan Takes A Hat Trick, Bernal Brings Home Yellow

Phew. The 2019 Tour de France has concluded, and what a race it has been! It has been a roller coaster of excitement, tears, and everything else in between. It has been the best Tour de France edition that many of us have ever witnessed.

As in customary, the race concluded in Paris with a sprint on the Champs-Élysées. In what has long been considered the World Championship for sprinters, Caleb Ewan (Lotto-Soudal) was the final rider to raise his hands in victory at this year’s race. It marks three stage wins for the Tour debutant. The general classification remained unchanged as the peloton coasted along drinking champagne in a congratulatory mood. 22-year-old Egan Bernal (INEOS) has made history as the youngest rider to take home yellow in a century and the first Colombian to win the overall.

 Rider of the Race

Let’s be honest, everyone at this year’s Tour de France is a winner. There are probably upwards of a dozen riders who are deserving of being Rider of the Race. Yet, as a recently discovered Julian Alaphilippe fan, there can only be one winner. It is the one, the only LouLou! (I still grumble of his facial hair, though…)

Let’s all take a moment to think back on how wonderful he has been. Let’s remember his panache-filled time trial on Stage 13 when he defied expectations. Let’s cherish the never-give-up attitude that Julian displayed time and time again, particularly on Stage 18 when he fought his way back to the group of favourites on the descent. Let’s celebrate his love for the sport, like when he celebrated with fans as if he had just won the whole race after losing the yellow jersey on Stage 19.

This quote from Alaphilippe after being ask whether he could retake yellow on Stage 20 says it all. Pure class. Pure Panache. Pure love for cycling.

 

Honorable Mentions

As I said above, there are so many winners at the year’s Tour. It’s impossible to name them all, but there a few who are worth giving note to.

First and foremost, Team INEOS. We all know they are not the most entertaining team, but the team pulled off a late rally to win this year. Unlike previous years, the team didn’t have the formidable train of domestiques to pull Egan Bernal and Geraint Thomas around France. Therefore, Bernal and Thomas were forced to ride aggressively. Suffice to say, Bernal and INEOS rightfully earned the title this year. Whether we are fans or not, it’s only fair to give credit where credit is due.

Simon Yates and Mitchelton-Scott also find themselves deserving of an honourable mention. After a lackluster Giro performance and with Adam nowhere to be found in the Tour’s GC hunt, Simon stepped up to win two stages, with potential for a third had Stage 19 not been aborted. Additionally, the two claimed another two stage wins courtesy of Daryl Impey and Matteo Trentin. Those awful sunglasses be damned, Simon and his team provided celebratory victories that seemingly went unappreciated.

The list of honourable mentions goes on and on. That is just the kind of Tour that it has been. From stage winners, to those who turned themselves inside out for teammates, and everything else that made the 2019 Tour de France so wonderful, here is your honoerable mention!

Final Thoughts

Admittedly, I was hesitant to buy into the hype of this year’s Tour prior to the race starting. I thought it would be another lacklustre three weeks around France filled with an INEOS train at the front of every peloton and a stranglehold around the yellow jersey. Boy, I am so pleased to admit that I was wrong. Big time.

Perhaps this isn’t the most friendly thing to write, but anyone who wants to complain about the past three weeks of racing can absolutely just quiet themselves down about it.

Here’s why: The race wasn’t decided until the end of Stage 19. A Frenchman who isn’t known for Grand Tour capabilities defied odds to wear yellow for 14 days. A second Frenchman won the polka dot jersey. There were 15 unique stage winners. No single team was able to control the race. A 22-year-old won the entire race; Colombia finally has a Tour win. Teams like Jumbo-Visma, Bora, and Quickstep rode out of their skins to provide an exciting race. The list of achievements goes on and on.

Cycling is a sport notorious for its complaints, conspiracy theories, and suspicions. But today, after a tremendous three weeks of racing, it is time for all us to simply bask in the amazement that we have just witnessed.

Stage Results – Top 5

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1 Caleb Ewan (Lotto-Soudal) 3:04:08

2 Dylan Groenewegen (Jumbo-Visma) s/t

3 Niccolo Bonifazio (Total Direct Energie) s/t

4 Maximiliano Richeze (Deceuninck-Quickstep) s/t

5 Edvald Boasson Hagen (Dimesion Data) s/t

Final General Classification – Top 10

1 Egan Bernal (Ineos) 79:52:52

2 Geraint Thomas (Ineos) +1:11

3 Steven Kruijswijk (Jumbo-Visma) +1:31

4 Emanuel Buchmann (Bora-Hansgrohe) +1:56

5 Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-QuickStep) +4:04

6 Mikel Landa (Movistar) +4:23

7 Rigoberto Uran (EF Education First) +5:15

8 Nairo Quintana (Movistar) +5:30

9 Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) +6:12

10 Warren Barguil (Arkéa Samsic) +7:32

Final Jerseys

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Maillot Jaune:  Egan Bernal (Team Ineos)

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Maillot Vert: Peter Sagan (BORA-hansgrohe)

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Maillot Blanc: Egan Bernal (Team Ineos)

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King of the Mountains: Romain Bardet (AG2R)

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Super combativity award: Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck QuickStep)

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Team Classification: Movistar 

Header image: GETTY/Velo/Tim de Waele 

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