Drama on day 19 of the Tour de France as the stage is cancelled due to adverse weather conditionsFri 26 Jul 2019
Stage 19 of the Tour de France was a dramatic one with adverse weather conditions forcing the race organisers to cancel the stage after the summit of the Col d’Iseran.
Two-time stage winner Simon Yates escaped with Egan Bernal (Team Ineos) and led the race down the descent of the highest climb of the tour, insearch of his third stage victory, when the decision was made to stop the crucially important stage with 30kilometres still remaining.
A heavy hail storm ahead caused the roads to flood in a localised area followed by a landslide that obstructed the route to the finish line in Tignes.
Following this, a decision was made to take the time from the top of the Col d’Iseran, meaning that Bernal moves into the overall race lead by 45seconds overall Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-Quickstep) heading into tomorrow’s penultimate stage.
Despite a huge effort throughout the day from Simon Yates insearch of the teams fifth stage victory, no stage winner or stage placings were awarded. The day was always predicted to be an exhilarating and all important stage of the three-week tour, which it turned out to be, but in the unlikeliest of circumstances with rider safety made the priority.
The First Breakaway
The day began with a fast pace as riders tried to get into the day's main breakaway. After the first climb, a large group of 25riders broke away from the peloton but had to fight to open up a gap.
With just 60kilometres remaining and three categorised climbs completed, the leading group finally extended their lead to two-minutes, but with some potential GC threats in the group, Deceuninck-Quickstep and Team Ineos led the chase in the peloton to keep the leaders on a tight leash.
The Drama Begins to Unfold
As the riders headed up the Col d’Iseran, a 13kilometre ascent cresting at 2770metres, the real battles began.
With five-kilometre still to climb, the attacks started to fly from the yellow jersey group with Alaphilippe put under pressure, as Bernal bridged across to the remaining breakaway riders where Yates sat comfortably.
The Brit was the only rider able to stay with Bernal’s fierce tempo through the final kilometres of the climb, before he accelerated over the top of the climb with Yates dangling a few metres behind before quickly rejoining him on the descent, ready to battle for the stage victory.
The Unpredictable Turn Of Events
The tension built as Bernal had gained enough time to move into the virtual race lead with Alaphilippe struggling around two-minutes behind as he headed over the of the climb.
With it all still to play for, the race was on, until the riders were suddenly given the verdict that the race had been cancelled and the yellow jersey was awarded to Bernal.
Yates was left with no final stage result on what turned out to be incredibly dramatic day at the Tour de France.
“The climb was filthy, it was long, there was no oxygen. I was feeling good, I just got tailed off in the end there but I came back on the descent so I was looking forward to trying for the stage.
“It was a disappointed day in the end. I tried to be there in the front but you can’t change the weather, that's how it goes sometimes. Tomorrow is another day, another hard day, another short day and we will try again.”
Matt White - Head Sport Director
“It was a disappointing day for Simon and Egan Bernal, less for Bernal as he has the yellow jersey but it is what it is. There was no other decision that could have been made with the landslide. You couldn’t have run the race any other way.
"If you look at where they stopped the race, it was the best place to stop the time because that was the only clear time checks they would have got with the equipment they had.“
Tour de France 2019 Stage 19 Results:
No official stage placings given
General Classification After Stage 19:
1. Egan Bernal (Team Ineos)
2. Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-QuickStep) +0:45
3. Geraint Thomas (Team Ineos) +1:03
Photo courtesy of Getty Images