Bittersweet déjà vu for Mezgec on stage 19 at the Tour de France

Fri 18 Sep 2020

Slovenian Luka Mezgec won the bunch sprint for second place on stage 19 of the Tour de France, in a bittersweet case of déjà vu for the 32-year-old.

After riding themselves into the decisive move in the final 35km, Soren Kragh Andersen (Team Sunweb) escaped off the front with 16km to go and, in a repeat of the results of stage 14 into Lyon, held on to finish 53seconds ahead of the Mezgec group.

Solo start, attacks follow:
Remi Cavagna (Deceuninck – Quickstep) went it alone in the day’s breakaway, but he was tightly monitored by BORA-hansgrohe and Team Sunweb and never managed more than a few minute’s advantage.

The counter attacks began just ahead of the intermediate sprint and continued until the correct formation was made at the front.

The battle for the green jersey saw the likes of Sam Bennett (Deceuninck – Quickstep) and Peter Sagan (BORA-hansgrohe) break off the front immediately following the sprint and Mezgec knew his only opportunity was to join the next group that followed.

The Mitchelton-SCOTT sprinter made the junction which saw him join teammate Jack Bauer at the front.

Another perfect move:
When Kragh Andersen made his move with 16km to go, a moment’s hesitation was all it took for him to get a gap.

Putting everything on the line, Bauer committed to support Mezgec but despite briefly getting the gap down to 25seconds and breaking up the chase group, it wasn't enough to stop the Team Sunweb rider who went on to claim his second stage victory.

Luka Mezgec:
“Sure I would like to win, everybody would like to win at least one stage of the Tour. I was two times second and two times second behind the same guy. He has got a good flow this Tour de France, kudos to him.

“I am happy with my performance this Tour, but it was a gamble in that situation. If one guy followed, then the race would fall down completely differently but it is what it is and sometimes you succeed and sometimes you don’t. In cycling there’s more time that you don’t succeed.

“I am really looking forward to seeing the Champs Elyseés, I have been watching it many times on the television and now I am going to be there, if I finish tomorrow.”

Tour de France – Stage 19 Results:
1. Soren Kragh Andersen (Team Sunweb) 3:36:33
2. Luka Mezgec (Mitchelton-SCOTT) +0:53
3. Jasper Stuyven (Trek-Segafredo) +0:53

Tour de France – General Classification after Stage 19:
1. Primoz Roglic (Team Jumbo – Visma) 83:29:41
2. Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) +0:57
3. Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana Pro Team) +1:27
7. Adam Yates (Mitchelton-SCOTT) +5:55

Photo courtesy of Getty Images.