Stage Report: Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida) won the shortened stage 20 to Val Thorens. Just after the start, the Italian sneaked into the escape group to eventually go solo for the stage victory. Egan Bernal (Ineos) successfully defended his yellow jersey, while Steven Kruijswijk (Jumbo-Visma) pushed on to the podium at the expense of Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck – Quick-Step).
Nibali had been looking for a stage win all week
After all the changes to stage 19 due to the weather, the ride to Val Thorens was shortened by the effects of extreme weather conditions. The climb of the Cormet de Roselend was impassable, so the peloton from Albertville took the national route N90 towards Moûtiers and the climb to ski resort Val Thorens. At one point it was feared that the stage would not happen, but the starting signal was given.
Xiomara Guerrero, girlfriend of Egan Bernal, was happy with stage 19
Stage 20 Route:
As A.S.O. said yesterday: “Due to the difficult weather conditions expected tomorrow and land slides noticed, the course of the 20th stage of the Tour de France will be modified. After taking off from Albertville, the stage will go on the N90 road to head directly to Moutiers and then go on the initial end of stage at the N90 – D915 roundabout, 36kms from the finish. The start will be given in Albertville at 14:30 for a total distance of 59kms. All the intial sporting points will be withdrawn except the KOM standings at the finish in Val Thorens.”
Bit of an anticlimax to what had been a very good Tour. There still should be fireworks today as things could change. Interesting.
The start line in Albertville: Romain Bardet (AG2R-La Mondiale), Egan Bernal (Ineos) and Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe)
Even in the neutralised zone the teammates of Egan Bernal and Geraint Thomas and also Julian Alaphilippe rode on front. Nobody wanted to be surprised in this ultra-short race of just 59 kilometres. Dylan Teuns, Magnus Cort, Rui Costa, Tour of Flanders winner Alberto Bettiol, Kevin Van Melsen and Lilian Calmejane were the first group to escape, they were joined by 20 others.
Egan Bernal looking good in yellow
The Swiss champion Reichenbach was the best placed rider among the leaders, but he was at more than 40 minutes down. After 23 kilometres they reached the foot of the long climb to Val Thorens. For the French Périchon and Turgis this was the signal to attack. Turgis had to let his fellow countryman go, while Zakarin and Nibali joined. Gallopin and Woods also jumped onboard.
Dylan Teuns (Bahrain Merida) and Kevin Van Melsen (Wanty-Gobert) lead the early break
Jumbo-Visma hit the front
In the peloton; Jumbo-Visma took control from Ineos. Amund Grøndahl Jansen and Mike Teunissen, normally lead-out men for their sprinter Dylan Groenewegen, gave a helping hand for Steven Kruijswijk. After that, better climbers George Bennett and Laurens De Plus took matters into their hands. The non-climbers were starting to drop, but the real fireworks were still to come.
A big group formed before the climb
At the start of the last 25 kilometres, the five leaders still had 2 minutes on the peloton. Ineos started to get involved again with the work in the peloton with Dylan van Baarle on the front of the peloton. At 18 kilometres from the summit, Bennett’s tank was empty and De Plus took the front with Kruijswijk on the wheel, ahead of the Ineos Bernal men. The group of favourites was thinning down.
Wellens set De Gendt up for a failed attack
Alaphilippe couldn’t follow
The efforts of De Plus dropped Dan Martin and Richie Porte and soon after it was Julian Alaphilippe who couldn’t stick the pace, gone with 13 kilometres to go. Kruijswijk moved on to the podium. Up front; Nibali attacked 12 kilometres from the finish line. The Italian wanted his sixth Tour stage win, to go with his overall win in 2014. With 10 kilometres to go he had a minute lead on the group of favourites. The runner-up of the Giro d’Italia was no threat to the yellow as he was already over an hour and a half down.
Jumbo-Visma wanted to break Alaphilippe
De Plus continued to perform his work for Kruijswijk. 7 kilometres from the top, the tireless Belgian still pulled the group, as Alaphilippe has lost more than a minute. The climb to Val Thorens was the final nail in the Frenchman coffin in this Tour, a podium place was no longer there. Only at 5.6 kilometres did De Plus pull off the front, after which Kruijswijk was alone in the favourites group.
Jumbo-Visma putting on the pressure
Alaphilippe tried to follow Bernal, but….
Favourites keep powder dry
Gregor Mühlberger rode for Emanuel Buchmann, with Kruijswijk putting himself on the wheel of Egan Bernal. With Buchmann, the Dutchman still had a watch for his top three overall place. The German was only 27 seconds behind the Jumbo-Visma leader. In the last two kilometres, Mühlberger cracked, so Ineos took control again with Wout Poels.
Buchmann was hoping for a podium place
The top three stuck close together
Vincenzo Nibali completes his solo
Nibali still held his lead by 40 seconds on the group of favourites. In the last kilometre he was still having a hard time as the road to Val Thorens was still rising, but by this point he couldn’t lose his stage victory. Behind; the battle for the stage placings was on. In the last kilometre Alejandro Valverde and Mikel Landa rode to second and third, as Bernal, Thomas and Kruijswijk sealed their overall podium places.
A short, fast stage win for Vincenzo Nibali
Stage winner, Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida): “It’s been a feeling of liberation when I crossed the line because the last few hundred meters felt like never ending. My only way to make it was to attack from far out. With the advantage we had at the bottom of the climb, I believed I could make it. I hadn’t won since last year. It’s a nice revenge.”
Another Tour win for the team
Overall leader, Egan Bernal (Ineos): “We’re now close to making it official. There’s one stage left but, normallt, if every goes well, I can say that I’ve won my first Tour. The last climb has been very hard. Jumbo-Visma rode hard to make the podium. We were in a comfortable situation and I felt really well. I’m happy. I think I haven’t assimilated what has happened yet. It’s incredible to think that I have won my first Tour. I just want to get to the finish line in Paris tomorrow and after I’ll be calmer. Colombia is on the verge of winning its first Tour, I feel this is not only my triumph but the triumph of a whole country. We already had the Giro, La Vuelta, but the Tour was missing and it’s a great honour to think that I’m the one achieving this. My dad couldn’t talk at first but when he managed, he congratulated me. He was about to cry. For us, it’s a dream. We used to watch the Tour on TV and we thought it was something unreachable. As a kid, you think ‘how cool it would be to be there one day’, but it looked so far away. Here we are and I’m very emotional.”
Dream over for Alaphilippe
Tour de France Stage 20 Result:
1. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Bahrain-Merida in 1:51:53
2. Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar at 0:10
3. Mikel Landa (Spa) Movistar at 0:14
4. Egan Bernal (Col) Ineos at 0:17
5. Geraint Thomas (GB) Ineos
6. Rigoberto Uran (Col) EF Education First at 0:23
7. Emanuel Buchmann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe
8. Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) Jumbo-Visma at 0:25
9. Wout Poels (Ned) Ineos at 0:30
10. Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar
11. Warren Barguil (Fra) Arkéa Samsic at 0:46
12. Gregor Mühlberger (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe at 1:09
13. Lennard Kämna (Ger) Sunweb at 1:30
14. Marc Soler (Spa) Movistar at 1:33
15. Adam Yates (GB) Mitchelton-Scott at 1:49
16. Simon Yates (GB) Mitchelton-Scott at 1:52
17. Ilnur Zakarin (Rus) Katusha-Alpecin at 1:56
18. Elie Gesbert (Fra) Arkéa Samsic at 2:07
19. Daniel Martin (Irl) UAE Team Emirates at 2:10
20. Daryl Impey (RSA) Mitchelton-Scott
21. Omar Fraile (Spa) Astana at 2:26
22. David Gaudu (Fra) Groupama-FDJ at 3:01
23. Jesus Herrada (Spa) Cofidis
24. Sébastien Reichenbach (Swi) Groupama-FDJ at 3:13
25. Dylan Teuns (Bel) Bahrain-Merida.
Tour de France Overall After Stage 20:
1. Egan Bernal (Col) Ineos in 79:52:52
2. Geraint Thomas (GB) Ineos at 1:11
3. Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) Jumbo-Visma at 1:31
4. Emanuel Buchmann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe at 1:56
5. Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Deceuninck – Quick-Step at 3:45
6. Mikel Landa (Spa) Movistar at 4:23
7. Rigoberto Uran (Col) EF Education First at 5:15
8. Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar at 5:30
9. Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar at 6:12
10. Warren Barguil (Fra) Arkéa Samsic at 7:32
11. Richie Porte (Aus) Trek-Segafredo at 12:05
12. Guillaume Martin (Fra) Wanty-Gobert at 22:08
13. David Gaudu (Fra) Groupama-FDJ at 23:29
14. Fabio Aru (Ita) UAE Team Emirates at 27:07
15. Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale at 29:54
16. Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Dimension Data at 35:49
17. Sébastien Reichenbach (Swi) Groupama-FDJ at 43:41
18. Daniel Martin (Irl) UAE Team Emirates at 44:30
19. Alexey Lutsenko (Kaz) Astana at 48:32
20. Jesus Herrada (Spa) Cofidis at 51:16
21. Xandro Meurisse (Bel) Wanty-Gobert at 56:47
22. Enric Mas (Spa) Deceuninck – Quick-Step at 57:35
23. George Bennett (NZ) Jumbo-Visma at 1:02:10
24. Laurens De Plus (Bel) Jumbo-Visma at 1:02:44
25. Gregor Mühlberger (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe at 1:04:40.