In a shortened Stage 20 of the 2019 Tour de France, it was as if the whole preceding three weeks had been a dream, a beautiful dream. For today, it was business as usual with the longed-for attackity finale reverting to the hard tempo riding on the yellow jersey group that fans have had to suffer through for the previous six Tours. Once Julian Alaphilippe well and truly cracked on the climb, it felt like the riders were just going through the motions. Vincenzo Nibali‘s solo win atop the HC Val Thorens saved the Italian’s July and there was a frisson of excitement when he nearly ran out of steam in the final kilometre with a metronomic peloton on the chase, but was the only memorable thing about this stage was that … nothing really happened?
If the 2019 Tour de France was a nightclub …
Stage 19 of this year’s Tour de France was eventful. Two of the fan favourites, Thibaut Pinot and Julian Alaphilippe, fell out of contention. Team Ineos took the lead of the race then the stage was abandoned due to bad weather and landslides.
In a Tour de France that has continually surprised us, today could be considered the queen stage. It started with the dramatic abandonment of the race by French GC hopeful, Thibaut Pinot, in tearjerking circumstances. Then, just as the GC favourites crested the penultimate climb of the stage, the Col de l’Iseran, rumours of neutralisation started spreading … until it was confirmed that the stage would be stopped immediately, as a freak hailstorm had made the descent too dangerous (not least because of the landslides!). After much discussion by the race jury, it was decided that the time at the top of the d’Iseran would be the times for GC but no winner would be awarded the stage. Egan Bernal (INEOS) was awarded the yellow jersey, while Julian Alaphilippe and Geraint Thomas are in second and third respectively.