ORICA-GreenEDGE ready for final mountain crack at Alpe dâ€™HuezFri 24 Jul 2015
Stage 19 of Le Tour de France, the penultimate mountain stage in the Alps, has finished as a general classification battle today.
ORICA-GreenEDGE had a relatively quiet day on a difficult stage that featured four sizable ascents in a short 138km stage, finishing safely in the larger groups to cross the line a little under 30minutes behind winner Vincenzo Nibali (Astana Pro Team).
Sport director Matt White said the Australian outfit would put all their climbing eggs left into tomorrow’s stage to Alpe d’Huez.
“The boys are certainly going to try tomorrow,” White said. “There is only a couple that can try but they had an easier day today with the plan of trying to pull something off tomorrow.”
Maillot Jaune Chris Froome (Team Sky) lost a small amount of his lead to Nairo Quintana (Movistar Team) but not enough to cause too much concern.
How it unfolded
An original group of ten riders formed before, like we have seen a lot of this Tour, further numbers bridged across to make it a large group – 26 at its maximum.
Behind, early attacks from general classification rivals looked like making it a hard day for Team Sky and also worked to keep the gap to the group ahead minimal.
Nibali bridged across to the front group on the first climb and over the top they had a minor advantage to those left in the yellow jersey group.
Pierre Rolland (Europcar) attacked solo on the descent as the yellow jersey group caught the remaining break. With 100km to go he was reeled in and there were 20 left remaining in contention for the stage.
Astana took control on the lower ramps of the hors category Col de la Croix de Fer before Nibali attacked and distanced Froome, who had a mechanical, and the other general classification contenders.
Last year’s champion went on to win the stage whilst Quintana also attacked on the final climb to also pull back 30seconds on the general classification.