Tour de France 2021: Stage 19 – Matej Mohoric makes it two

Stage 19. Would this be a day for the break or the sprinters? Would Mark Cavendish get that stage winning record all to himself?

Spoiler alert!! It wasn’t a sprint and Cav will have to wait for Paris. Instead, Matej Mohoric (Bahrain-Victorious) soloed his way to a second victory on this year’s Tour de France. The Slovenian made the first break of the day, survived the fierce feistiness of a 20 rider super-break, before leaving everyone behind with 25km to go.  Christophe Laporte (Cofidis) and Team DSM’s Casper Pedersen completed the stage podium. The rest of the field doodled their way to the finish line some 20 minutes later – just making the time cut!  Oh and YES! there will be mentions of Mohoric’s victory salute – read on mes amis

When Merckx met Cavendish

The peloton started the day with a visit from Eddy Merckx on possibly his last day as one of the men who have the most wins at the Tour.

Why this stage?

For cycling history fans – the man in action

He also embraced the man who is within one victory of taking that particular mantle from him and that made for a wonderful ‘when Merckx met Cav’ photo opportunities.

To sprint, or not to sprint? That is the question.

On paper the stage had the potential for a sprint finish. In reality, 207 km in blazing hot sunshine over a taxing, rolling parcours seemed made for a breakaway raid.  Would Deceuninck-Quick Step be able to control the race to bring it home for a sprint finish?  Attacks flew from the the minute the flag dropped, and a couple of early crashes only added to the tension. At one point the maillot jaune had to assert his authority and question what on earth Michal Kwiatkowski (INEOS-Grenadiers) and Trek-Segafredo Toms Skujins were doing trying to attack when half of his UAE teammates were returning to the peloton.

Eventually six riders got away.

Did the peloton shout Hallelujah and shut up shop. NO!!! The chaos continued, because the other point to be factored in about stage 19,  is that it is LAST CHANCE STAGE WIN SALOON for a lot of teams, and they were not going to give that chance up.

The intermediate sprint failed to calm the nerves and once more everyone and their auntie gave it a go. I can’t imagine the exhaustion at this point. Look at that strung out line! You know that has to be hurting.

For all the sprinter teams tried, there was no controlling anything. Another move went away.

From this group, a super powered break of 14 joined the six out front.  Somehow all three Movistar riders managed to miss the move that went on to contest the stage. Don’t ask me how, we’ll have to wait for the next Netflix series. #PeakMovistar.

Behind a harried group of sprint teams and teams who had missed the move altogether tried to bring it back. Which meant we saw some riders in unfamiliar roles. Yep, that’s Geraint Thomas pulling on the front for INEOS-Grenadiers and Chris Froome for Israel Start Up Nation.

Fair play to Chris Froome. I like that he road captained to get a chance for Israel Start-up Nation’s  Andre Greipel to sprint. It was the Gorilla’s birthday after all. Hope to see him road captaining on the Champs too.

To Victory and Beyond

With the break up the road, the peloton at last took a breather and the gap kept on growing.

We had an answer to the outcome of the stage – the break would take it. But which one? Place your bets people.

Honestly the fire power here would have graced any spring classic or my beloved Eneco Tour. And like any fabulous one day race, we were treated to that fascinating routine where the riders have to work together to stay away, yet all the time formulate a plan of how they are going to win. Of course the advantage lies in numbers and with 3 riders in the break Trek-Segafredo looked to hold a lot  of aces. The attacks kept coming as the kilometres ticked down. The first major split came at 39km to go and the group was further winnowed as they entered the final 25km .

and all at a frankly lunatic pace

But cometh the finish line, cometh the man who is prepared to risk it all with strategy that has worked once for him. Matej Mohoric took a perfectly timed jump from the break with around 25km to go, took his gap and kept it all the way to the line.

It was

He kept that perfect stance on the bike, no rocking and rolling, enjoying his second stage victory as raced in. A fabulous, well worked win. A rider rolling the same dice and getting exactly the same champagne -laden result. But his victory salute – the shhhh and zipped lips ‘omerta’ gesture we have seen from a certain Lance Armstrong – well that’s another talking point in of and of itself.


For those who don’t know the significance of this gesture...

Here’s what he had to say post race.

All hail Slovenia

Making the time cut


I’m with Daniel, it was nice to see them taking a breather, and rolling across the line just in time to avoid being hors delai

Midge Rider of the Day

It’s not a Dane! Step into the spotlight Frank Bonnamour from B&B Hotels. Why does he deserve special mention? Because he has been in the break so many times even I have lost count. Luckily someone has been keeping tabs on Frank’s incredible feat, and we can add plus one to his tally after today.

Never missed an opportunity to attack for the win

19th today and spoke of being exhausted but satisfied at the finish

I’m starting a campaign for Frank to get the super-combativity prize and a podium in Paris…


The last word

This thread made me laugh out loud


Stage 18 Top 5

1 Matej Mohoric (Bahrain-Victorious) 4:19:17

2 Christophe Laporte (Cofidis)+0:58

3 Casper Pedersen (Team DSM) same time

4 Mike Teunissen (Jumbo-Visma) +1:02

5 Nils Politt (BORA-hansgrohe) +1:08

General Classification Top 10

1 Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) 79:40:09

2 Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma) +5:45

3 Richard Carapaz (Ineos Grenadiers) +5:51

4 Ben O’Connor (AG2R Citroën Team) +8:18

5 Wilco Kelderman (Bora-Hansgrohe) +8:50

6 Enric Mas (Movistar Team) +10:11

7 Alexey Lutsenko (Astana-Premier Tech) +11:22

8 Guillaume Martin (Cofidis) +12:46

9 Pello Bilbao (Bahrain Victorious) +13:48

10 Rigoberto Uran (EF Education-Nippo) +16.25

All the jerseys

Leaders jersey: Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates)

Points jersey: Mark Cavendish (Deceuninck-Quick Step)

KOM jersey: Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates)

Best young rider jersey : Tadej Pogacar (Bahrain Victorious)

Most combative rider : David Gaudu (Groupama FDJ)

For full stage review, go to cyclingnews

Official Tour de France website is here

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