Simon Yates takes a chance with late attack on the penultimate shortened stage of the Tour de France

Sat 27 Jul 2019

Two-time stage winner Simon Yates took his chance on making it a hat-trick of stage wins today with a final attack on a shortened penultimate stage of the Tour de France today. 

Yates launched a move with six-kilometres to go on the lengthy 33.4kilometre Val Thorens climb, but it proved a little too late with Vincenzo Nibali (Team Bahrain-Merida) fighting on ahead to claim a solo stage win.

The Brit eventually crossed the line in 16th place alongside brother Adam Yates, with Egan Bernal (Team Ineos) successfully defending the yellow jersey heading into tomorrow’s final stage in Paris.

Early Breakaway

On the flat start to the 59kilometre stage, six-riders jumped away with a group of 23 riders in hot pursuit including Daryl Impey for Mitchelton-SCOTT.

Finally the two groups joined together as they began the climb up to the finish line, a 33.4kilometre ascent averaging 5.4% gradient and reaching 2365metres altitude, with a two-minute advantage over the chasing bunch.

The Challenging Val Thorens

Jumbo-Visma and Team Ineos led the chase as the peloton continued to reduce, before Impey’s group was finally swallowed up with 15kilometres remaining.

Ahead, Nibali launched an attack with 12kilometres to go away from the remaining breakaway riders and maintained a steady advantage of around one-minute over the main GC group, where Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-Quickstep) had dropped off the pace and off the overall podium.

Yates' attack six-kilometres later was quickly neutralised by the group, the pace then picked up once again but with no real fierce commitment, the solo leader maintained his gap ahead.

Despite many teams behind in a position to steal a stage win, Nibali did enough to hold and claim the win by ten seconds over the chasers.

Simon Yates

“It was a short but hard stage, I was actually bit tired from yesterday, it took a lot out of me for today but no excuses I tried to do what I could do in the final and that was it really.

"The pace was high from the very start of the climb to the end and that is what it is really. We have had a great tour, I don’t think any of us imagined we would have four stage wins before Paris so it has been a really great tour and I am looking forward to rolling around Paris tomorrow." 

Matt White - Head Sport Director

“We actually thought it would be so fast at the bottom of the climb that nothing would stay away but because it was such a big group Daryl slotted himself in there in the breakaway. Daryl’s job was to stay with Simon as long as possible so he got a nice little head start there and rode a really good climb actually. 

“We were trying to win the stage and Simon’s attack was a last ditch attempt to split the front group and try to bridge across to Nibali. 

“There's just one short stage to go and we will be supporting Matteo Trentin as good as we can on the Champs Élysée.” 

Tour de France 2019 Stage 20 Results:

1. Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain Merida) 1:51:53
2. Alejando Valverde (Movistar Team) +0:10
3. Mikel Landa (Movistar Team) +0:14
15. Adam Yates (Mitchelton-SCOTT) +1:49

General Classification After Stage 20:

1. Egan Bernal (Team Ineos) 79:52:52
2. Geraint Thomas (Team Ineos) +1:11
3. Steven Kruijswijk (Team Jumbo-Visma) +1:31
48. Adam Yates (Mitchelton-SCOTT) 1:53:03

Photo courtesy of Getty Images