If you want just the facts, ma’am, Stage 15 of this year’s Tour de France was won by Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott), and the maillot jaune still rests on the shoulders of Julian Alaphilippe. But if you want to know what really happened, we will work backwards from the time the riders came over the finish line on the Prat d’Albis in the pouring rain. The GC standings held just 15sec between the second and fourth rider, and the entire sport’s camera crews were filming the yellow jersey crying and vomiting over the barriers, after yet another gruelling, unpredictable and unbelievably exciting stage.
Stage 14 of Tour de France 2019 was the shortest stage (117.5km) this year but also the first of three mountain stages to finish above 2000m and a big, big test of the GC favourites. This has been one of the most surprising Tours in recent memory and more came today as the peloton drove upwards upwards upwards to the finish at the top of the iconic Col du Tourmalet. To oversimplify it, Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ) took the stage win from a tiny group of survivors, but a lot more happened on the way to the summit. So who cracked? Who survived? Who thrived?
Has this first week of the Tour de France been one of the most exciting in soooo many years, or what? Yellow jerseys won and lost; one day on top of the world, the next in the wrong echelon; the Tour keeps surprising us day after day.