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.
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.
Nairo Quintana (Movistar) won Stage 18 of the 2019 Tour de France, attacking from the day’s break but the real story happened behind him. Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-QuickStep) cracked near the summit of the final climb but regrouped and caught back up to his GC rivals on the descent. It could end up being a race-defining moment.