The French riders continue to shine in their home Grand Tour. The first high mountain summit finish of the 106th Tour de France shook up the GC race as Thibaut Pinot took a famous French victory on the mighty Tourmalet. The day’s runner-up was yellow jersey Julian Alaphilippe, who padded his lead over Geraint Thomas. Steven Kruijswijk is now 12-seconds behind Thomas. It was a bad day for Adam Yates, Romain Bardet and Nairo Quintana.
It was time for the 2019 Tour’s first high mountain summit finish on the mighty Tourmalet at the end of 117 km. This HC-rated ascent was 19-km of 7.4 percent, with steeper grades near the peak. The Cat. 1 Col de Soulor peaked in the middle of the route. Allons-y!
Last year, he was first at the top of the Tourmalet on his way to polka dot glory. This time, @alafpolak1 will try to defend the yellow jersey on the mythical Pyrenean climb, as the #TDF2019 will enter into a new dimension. pic.twitter.com/VWvvt5uuz5
— Deceuninck-QuickStep (@deceuninck_qst) July 20, 2019
Vincenzo Nibali and Peter Sagan scampered away soon after the start in Tarbes and tipped over the Cat. 4 Cote de Labatmale in the lead. The duo drew about fifteen breakmates.
Emmanuel Macron used to holiday near Tourmalet.
— Felix Lowe (@saddleblaze) July 20, 2019
Col de Soulor
The Sagan breakaway hit the foot of the Cat. 1 Col de Soular with a 3:00 lead over the Groupama-FDJ and Deceuninck-Quick Step-led peloton. There, Movistar went to the front and whipped up the pace, dropping Adam Yates and Romain Bardet.
Nibali and polka-dot jersey Tim Wellens tipped over Soular only 1:30 ahead of the streamlined bunch.
On the descent Yates was able to come back, while Nibali dropped his breakmates. On the false flat leading to the opening slopes of Tourmalet, Nibali’s group grew but its gap was small.
We are 8 km away from the Tourmalet. The leading group has 35 seconds on the yellow jersey group were @georgenbennett is doing a massive pull with the Movistar team. pic.twitter.com/Rv9Gm5JyyY
— Team Jumbo-Visma cycling (@JumboVismaRoad) July 20, 2019
Once more, Adam Yates dropped off the back, as did Dan Martin. Movistar, who had worked for a couple of hours at the front, missed Nairo Quintana’s implosion.
#TDF2019 – Movistar now totally stopped his action, INEOS taking their place to set the pace. Valverde and Landa left in group with Soler stopped to making the pace for Quintana. This is probably the strangest day ever for Movistar.
— La Flamme Rouge (@laflammerouge16) July 20, 2019
Elie Gesbert was the last fugitive to be mopped up by an attacking Warren Barguil clad in the French champion’s jersey. Pinot made an acceleration out of the favourites group. Once Groupama caught Barguil with 5.5 km remaining, fourth place Enric Mas cracked.
A dozen riders approached the 4 km to go mark. Jumbo-Visma took over the front and one by one the group was winnowed.
Gaudu is now dropped. Here are the leaders:
Gaudu est distancé. Les hommes de tête:
Geraint Thomas, Egan Bernal, Laurens De Plus, George Bennett, Steven Kruijswijk, Jakob Fuglsang, Julian Alaphilippe, Emanuel Buchmann, Rigoberto Uran, Mikel Landa, Thibaut Pinot#TDF2019 pic.twitter.com/PtRh0PcTeT
— Tour de France™ (@LeTour) July 20, 2019
A move by Emanual Buchmann unhitched Geraint Thomas. Pinot then powered away at the 300-metre to go mark to beat Alaphilippe by 6-seconds. Loulou added 36 seconds to his lead over Thomas. Everyone is beginning to believe.
Alejandro Valverde replaces Quintana in ninth place. Mas rounds out the top-10.
There are three Cat. 1 climbs in the latter half of Sunday’s 185-km stage, with an 11.8 km, 6.8 percent summit finish on the Prat d’Albis.
2019 Tour de France Stage 14
1) Thibaut Pinot (France/Groupama-FDJ) 3:10:20
2) Julian Alaphilippe (France/Deceuninck-Quick Step) +0:06
3) Steven Kruijswijk (The Netherlands/Jumbo-Visma) s.t.
2019 Tour de France GC
1) Julian Alaphilippe (France/Deceuninck-Quick Step) 53:01:09
2) Geraint Thomas (Great Britain/Ineos) +2:02
3) Steven Kruijswijk (The Netherlands/Jumbo-Visma) +2:14
4) Egan Bernal (Colombia/Ineos) 3:00
5) Emanual Buchmann (Germany/Bora-Hansgrohe) +3:12
6) Thibaut Pinot (France/Groupama-FDJ) s.t.
7) Rigoberto Uran (Colombia/EF Education First) +4:24
8) Jakob Fuglsang (Denmark/Astana) +5:22
9) Alejandro Valverde Nairo Quintana (Colombia/Movistar) +5:27
10) Enric Mas (Spain/Deceuninck-Quick Step) +5:38