The Tour de France alphabet madness continues with Nuts to Zeut Alors!
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?
Many speculated that today’s flat-ish start and tough-ish stage at the Tour de France invited a breakaway, and given tomorrow’s stage to La Planche des Belles Filles, the peloton might take it easy and give them their head. But no, today’s technical finish favoured the puncheurs as it went up and over two climbs en route to the finish in Colmar, one of the prettiest towns in France. In the final kilometres, Mitchelton-Scott set the pace for European champion Matteo Trentin, who opened his sprint only to fade as perfectly placed Peter Sagan (BORA-hansgrohe) pounced, going wide to power past all his rivals and open his account at this year’s Tour. Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) took second, underlining his sprinting credentials, with Trentin rounding out the podium. Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-Quick Step) finished 10th and retains the magnificent golden fleece for another day.