Tour de France: Egan Bernal in yellow and how the race crash helped him
Scene of the stage: Tour director Christian Prudhomme leaned far out the window of his car, looked at the lead duo Simon Yates and Egan Bernal and shook his head. Cancellation. The 19th stage of the Tour de France was stopped in the descent of the Col de l'Iseran, after just 89 of 126.5 kilometers. For further down the mountain were snow, hail and a scree on the street. An excavator cleared the road so that at least the team vehicles could drive through.
Surprising goal: From the race crash, the driver had not guessed until the summit of Iseran. But the organizers said that the times of the mountain classification would now count as a stage result. This is possible according to the rules of the Cycling World Association UCI. It states that in the event of an exceptional incident the track may be modified by the organizers or results from an intermediate sprint or the mountain classification may be used.
Classification of the stage: Top talent Egan Bernal had launched an attack against all other favorites on the ascent to the Iseran and was the first to drive over the top of the 2770 meter high mountain. With his lead of more than two minutes on the suspended overall leader Julian Alaphilippe, the Colombian took over the yellow jersey. In the overall standings, he now has 45 seconds ahead of Alaphilippe, Geraint Thomas is third, 1:03 minutes behind. After the decision of the race director but no driver was chosen to stage winner. Romain Bardet retained the mountain jersey, Peter Sagan the green jersey. Click here for the stage report.
Understanding: Some drivers seemed incredulous and frustrated in their first reaction. However, in view of the images of the impassable roads, they had an understanding of the decision. "That has never happened to me, I have never seen so much hail on the road, the decision was already correct," said the German top driver Emanuel Buchmann. Ralph Denk, Team Manager of Buchmann's Bora-Hansgrohe team, agreed, "It's the right decision, and the jury found a good solution by taking the time on the Iseran."
Broken heart: So far, the theme of the day has been different. The French hope Thibaut Pinot had to give up the race after 30 kilometers due to a muscle injury. During the trip, the tour doctor joined Pinot's thigh, but that did not help, the 29-year-old dropped far behind the peloton. Still on the bike, the fifth-placed man began to cry and was hugged by his assistant William Bonnet. Then he gave up the race. Read more here.
Fast start: Already with the sharp start the peloton hit a fast pace. Early on, tired drivers lost at the first climbs. Later, a large escape group gathered around top riders such as the two-time stage winner Simon Yates and world champion Alejandro Valverde at the top. But they were only two minutes away from the peloton.
Decision at the Col de l'Iseran: The highest mountain of the Tour de France, the roof of the Tour of France, invited to attacks - and the favorites took it with pleasure: Six kilometers from the summit Geraint Thomas attacked the yellow jersey, but was overtaken. Then fourth-placed Steven Kruijswijk tried it but could not get away. The third attempt then started Egan Bernal, and the 22-year-old could stop anyone. He drove lightly past the runaways. Julian Alaphilippe let go completely and had to climb the summit as a soloist - about two minutes behind Bernal. That this would be the stage result, was not there to see. In the downhill Alaphilippe might have caught up as on the previous day.
Stripped: Alaphilippe lost the Maillot Jaune after 14 days, longer the jersey had worn in a Tour de France since Bernard Hinault 1985 no Frenchman. This is probably the dream of the first French tour winner for 34 years burst. That Alaphilippe can fight back on Saturday is unlikely.
On the go: Emanuel Buchmann held the rear wheel of last year's winner Thomas to the summit. In the overall standings, the German is fifth, 1:42 minutes behind Bernal. The yellow jersey will no longer conquer Buchmann, but the jump to the podium is still possible with twelve seconds behind Thomas. "On Saturday, Emanuel will go to the limit, we'll see what it's all about, now he does not have to save any more power and hedge anything, now he can drive what the body gives," said Bora-Hansgrohe Sport Director Enrico Poitschke the "Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger".
What's next? The last chance for a change of the yellow jersey is on Saturday: The race for the yellow jersey will decide on the 130-kilometer stage with a final 33-kilometer climb to Val Thorens. "Everyone will go there, what works, I think that's the showdown," said Buchmann. Because on the way to Paris on Sunday, the yellow jersey is traditionally no longer attacked.