Bernal rides into yellow

26 Jul 2019

Bernal rides into yellow

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Tour de France – Stage 19: Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne – Tignes, 126.5km

Egan Bernal powered into the Tour de France yellow jersey after a memorable 19th stage.
The Colombian accelerated clear of his rivals on the Tour’s highest climb – the Col de l’Iseran – cresting the summit first and plunging on to the descent.
Unknown to the riders, the combination of a flash snow storm and a landslide made the roads up ahead impassable. A quick decision from the race organisers saw the stage neutralised, before eventually being cancelled on grounds of rider safety.
As the riders pulled up in Val d’Isere, the decision was made to take the general classification times from the top of the Iseran. With his eight-second time bonus applied, Bernal moves into a 48-second overall lead, pulling on the yellow jersey in only his second ever Grand Tour.
Bernal’s attack came off the back of an initial acceleration from Geraint Thomas. The Welshman was hauled back by his rivals, and was able to sit in as Bernal opened out his advantage. Thomas now sits third overall, 1:16 back on his team-mate, with Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-Quick-Step) holding on to second. The yellow jersey was distanced on the climb, but remains in the podium mix heading into the final day in the mountains.

The team worked hard to set up the move, with Jonathan Castroviejo putting in another big shift setting the tempo in the lead-up to the climb. Dylan van Baarle again made the break, before dropping back to ride on the front, providing the launchpad for our dual attacks.

Egan Bernal

Egan Bernal

It’s incredible. I can’t believe it. I want to ride full gas tomorrow and then arrive to Paris and once I cross the line, I’ll start believing this is true.

- Egan Bernal

"To be honest, I didn’t know what was happening. I’ve been told in the radio that the race was finished and I said ‘no I want to keep going’. There were talking to me in English and I was not sure. Only after I stopped and my director told me that I was in yellow, I felt relieved.

"It’s incredible. I can’t believe it. I want to ride full gas tomorrow and then arrive to Paris and once I cross the line, I’ll start believing this is true. There’s one hard stage remaining. It’s a short one. I’ll give it all on the road. To become the first Colombian winner of the Tour de France would be amazing."

- Geraint Thomas

"If was a funny one because if we’d known [about the cancellation] beforehand it would have been more of a race to the top of that last climb. But it’s one of those things. It’s out of everyone’s control.
"It’s all ifs and buts. The main thing is that we’ve got the jersey in the team now and we’re in a great position. We just have to go in there and finish the job off tomorrow now. 
"Going into the last stage Egan’s in yellow. The main thing is he finishes the job. For sure he’ll have a decent advantage over everyone else. I fully support him now. He’s been incredible from the start and he’s a phenomenal talent."

- Sir Dave Brailsford

"First and foremost there’s obviously been a landslide – quite a considerable one. You’ve got to make sure everyone is alright. There’s bike racing and then there’s the health and safety of everyone. I just hope everyone is alright. 
"Fortune favours the brave at the end of the day. As we said this morning we were going to take it on. We’ve maybe not been the strongest that we’ve been all race, but today was the day. We thought if there was anywhere that we could make the difference it was on the Iseran. It was going to be hard to get there and I actually thought the guys rode really well. From Dylan getting in the break, to Castro and the guys – with Wout pushing the tempo at the bottom. We executed a plan, with G going first, Egan went over the top. Who knows what would have happened after that. It was nice to get to the top of the Iseran in that situation which is what we were hoping for. 
"Obviously there’s quite a lot of downhill and another climb to come. But we don’t control the weather or the circumstances."
Overall standings:

1. Egan Bernal (Team INEOS)
2. Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-Quick-Step) +48"
3. Geraint Thomas (Team INEOS) +1:16"
4. Steven Kruijswijk (Jumbo-Visma) +1:28"
5. Emanuel Buchmann (Bora-Hansgrohe) +1:55"

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