The Tour Take | Tour de France Stage 19
1st – Primoz Roglic (Team LottoNL- Jumbo)
2nd – Geraint Thomas @ 19 seconds (Team Sky)
3rd – Romain Bardet @19 seconds (AG2R La Mondiale)
On paper, Stage 18 was one of the toughest in the tour, with six categorized climbs on the 200km route from Lourdes to Laruns. Though the first two were small, it got tough after that, with the Category 1 Col d’Aspin (12km at 6.5%), the HC Col du Tourmalet (17.1km at 7.3%), the Cat 2 Col des Borderes (8.6km at 5.8%), and the double climb made up of the Col de Souler and the Col d’Aubisque (16.6km at 4.9%). The riders then dived down a 20km descent into Laruns for the finish.
Yellow – Geraint Thomas (Team Sky)
Green – Peter Sagan (Bora – hansgrohe)
Polka Dot – Julian Alaphilippe (Quick-Step Floors
White – Pierre Latour (AG2R La Mondiale)
The first major break of the day consisted of Silvan Dillier, Lukas Postlberger and Damien Gaudin. After 25km, they were joined by A.Yates, Jungles and Kangert. The six pushed on and were eventually joined by another 12 riders including Barguil, Alaphillipe, G. Izagirre, Mollema and Nieve. Some proper fire power was present and 9 times out of 10, this break would have gone to the finish to fight out the win. However, Katusha missed the move and held the breakway at 3-4 minutes until the bottom of the Tourmalet, where the raced kicked off proper.
After the work from Katusha, at the base of the Col du Tourmalet; Zakarin, Bardet and Landa attacked the peloton in a bid to bridge to the breakaway. It wasn't until the valley after the Tourmalet that they made contact with the front of the race, thanks largely to the lion share of the work done by Amador, who had dropped back from the break to help Landa. With the gap at over three minutes from the Landa group to the peloton and that gap continuing to increase under the Sky tempo, Robert Gesink came to the front on the early slopes of the Col des Borderes and took a minute back on the leaders in what seemed like a flash.
Sky then continued to ride solid tempo until Tom Dumoulin started the last ditch attacks on Thomas with 33km to go. Roglic also joined the party attacking time and time again, offloading Froome and Bernal but the Yellow jersey had all the answers. The Thomas/ Roglic group caught the break away at the top of the Col d' Aubisque. The now ten leading riders inlcuding Thomas, Roglic Dumoulin, Froome, Bardet and Landa left the misty heights of the pyrenees behind and plunged towards Laruns, risking it all. Roglic lead the way and his wheel was too hot for anyone to follow, the Slovenian dropped everyone in the bottom half of the descent and went on to win by 19 seconds to the seven man chasing group led home by Thomas. Enough for him to jump to third on the GC.
The Next Stage
Stage 19, the only Individual Time Trial of the Tour. At 31km, it's not a super long TT but the stage profile is what makes it a hard TT. With hardly a flat piece of road, it's a course that won't allow the riders to get into any kind of rhythm and will require those chasing the stage victory or a high GC place to keep some powder dry for late in the stage. A 900m climb @ 10.2% in the last 5km could mean big trouble for those that have gone out of the holes too hard. Like any TT, a deep knowledge of the course will be key to winning this test against the clock.
The three men who podiumed at the World TT Championships in Norway last year are all here fighting for a place on the podium in Paris. Dumoulin, Roglic, and Froome are in a dogfight for 2nd and 3rd. These three, along with Thomas will be the ones fighting it out for the stage win. As the current TT World Champion, Dumoulin is the safe bet, but we will go with Roglic. A rolling, twisting course will play to his advantage and based off the last few mountain stages he is arguably the strongest man in the race. A place on the podium in Paris should be good motivation for him too.
See you back at the social club,