Tour de France: Egan Bernal remains unassailable
Scene of the stage: Last year's winner Geraint Thomas grabbed Egan Bernal's hand just before the finish line and patted his teammate in yellow on the back. Bernal smiled in relief and clenched his fist. He successfully defended Maillot Jaune on the difficult ascent of Val Thorens and is almost certainly the winner of the 2019 Tour de France. At the finish, Bernal's family and friends embraced and cared for the little Colombian.
What's going on here? "It will take days to realize what has happened, I can not describe what's going on," Bernal said at the finish line: "In Colombia, the mood must be fantastic." The Ineos driver would be the first Colombian to win the Tour de France. However, he would not be the youngest winner, the record is held by the Frenchman Henri Cornet, who won in 1904 at the age of 19 years.
Haialarm: First in the finish was the Italian Vincenzo Nibali, the shark of Messina. Early in 2014, the 2014 Tour winner broke away from the peloton with some runaways. His companions were all overtaken on the final climb, but Nibali held the lead and drove with a strong performance to his sixth stage victory in a Tour of France.
Classification of the stage: Nibali won the 20th leg from Albertville to Val Thorens ahead of World Champion Alejandro Valverde and Mikel Landa. But all eyes turned to the overall standings: Bernal defended the yellow jersey by 1:11 minutes ahead of his team-mate Thomas and Dutchman Steven Kruijswijk. On the last stage on Sunday, the Maillot Jaune is traditionally no longer attacked. Because of his only 22 years Bernal also leads in the junior ranking. Frenchman Romain Bardet will wear the mountain jersey to Paris, top star Peter Sagan will wear the green jersey. Click here for the stage report.
abbreviated: Originally the 20th stage with 130 kilometers and three hill climbs should be an exhausting and action-packed tour finale. But due to the stormy weather, the track was shortened to 59.5 kilometers, only the last planned 33 kilometer long climb to Val Thorens was driven. Thus, the day trip was one of the shortest stages of tour history.
Desperate escape: 29 riders escaped shortly before the start in front of the peloton. Their goal was clear: get as many minutes ahead of the climb as possible to avoid being overtaken on the mountain. The plan was only on Nibali. A desperate attempt to retake the mountain jersey started Tim Wellens. The Belgian was caught very quickly and Bardet no longer dangerous.
Bypassed: Before Thomas could shake his hand at the finish Bernal, Julian Alaphilippe had done that long ago. Shortly after the start, the former leader drove to the man in yellow and took his hand. Apparently Alaphilippe was already clear at this time that he would not recapture the Maillot Jaune on the penultimate day. On the rise he could not keep up with the group of favorites, lost three minutes on Bernal and even flew from the podium to fifth place in the overall standings. Bitter for the man who wore the yellow jersey in 14 stages.
Podium + 1: Expenses should be the German top driver Emanuel Buchmann, which had at least announced his team boss of Bora-Hansgrohe. The 26-year-old's attack took a long time, but only in the last two kilometers did he start the attack. Thomas and Bernal had no problem catching up with the Germans again. Buchmann remained fourth in the overall classification. "Fourth place was a dream come true, that's really cool," he said: "There was not much more than that, Bernal, Thomas and Kruijswijk were too strong, so you have to be content when others are stronger."
What's next? The jerseys change on Sunday only, should their current wearer not finish. It gets exciting in the fight for the prestigious stage win on the Champs-Elysées (18.00 clock, live ticker SPIEGEL ONLINE). When the peloton reaches Paris around 8pm in the evenings, especially the sprinters around Caleb Ewan and Peter Sagan hope for a final success.