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The mountains are over. While the general classification contenders battled for supremacy at the front of the race, it was a day of survival for the rest of the peloton. After nearly three weeks of incredible heat, crosswinds, cobbles, crashes, and countless kilometres it was a day that would test the strength of a rider’s mind, as much as their legs.
A day of survival
Just two days separated the peloton of the 2018 Tour de France from Paris when they awoke on Friday morning. For American Taylor Phinney (EF Education First-Drapac) and Slovakian Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) stage 19 would be extra tough.
Phinney crashed on one of the early descents in the stage and hit a tree. He broke his nose and the Tour’s doctor had to re-set it out on the road. Phinney was allowed to continue and soldiered on. The broom wagon loomed large behind Phinney, but the Tour was left with no one to sweep-up on this day. Phinney was last across the line, made the time cut by mere minutes, and had a face covered in blood, but he was still in the race with Paris on the horizon.
Phinney came across the line with blood down his face. Went off the road, hit a tree, broke his nose. All cut up. pic.twitter.com/Wjn6mkNqBS
— Caley Fretz (@CaleyFretz) July 27, 2018
Sagan said, “It’s the worse day I’ve had on a bike for 10 years.”
The world champion crashed on the descent of Col de Val Louron-Azet, the second of three climbs on the short 65km stage 17. He finished that day with a green jersey that was shredded.
“Had this been a classic, I would have pulled out,” Sagan said of stage 19. “Had I not had the green jersey, I may have acted differently. But I was wearing it, and I was going to make it to the finish line, within or outside the time limit. Finishing this stage has been more than a victory for me.
The Tour de France is a different race. Every rider who enters wants to make it to the finish line. Lawson Craddock (EF Education First-Drapac) has suffered throughout the entire race after a heavy fall on the opening day of the race. He looks destined to make it to Paris.
In the suffering of the riders is where the spirit of the Tour burns the brightest.
Dispatches from the Tour
Fearless Roglic descends to victory on stage 19 of the Tour de France
Former ski jumper Primoz Roglic used his nerve, his low centre of gravity and his improving Tour form to win stage 19 of the race, dropping down the descent of the Col d’Aubisque and opening an ever-widening gap over the other general classification riders.
“What can I say? I’m really, really happy. It’s crazy. A really, really nice feeling,” said Roglic. “I had legs today, and I was thinking it would be a shame to not use them. I really tried a lot of times, and finally, I went away on the descent. The day was really perfect. I am really, really happy with it.”
Second on the stage was race leader Geraint Thomas, who led in a chase group of the overall contenders 19 seconds later. Romain Bardet (Ag2r La Mondiale), Dan Martin (UAE Team Emirates), Rafal Majka (Bora-hansgrohe), Tom Dumoulin (Team Sunweb), Mikel Landa (Movistar) and Chris Froome (Sky) completed this group.
Froome struggled throughout the finale, being dropped more than once on the Aubisque. He got back to the group and, together with Tom Dumoulin, did most of the chasing of Roglic inside the final kilometres. However, their 19-second deficit saw Froome slip to fourth overall. He is 2:37 behind Thomas and 32 seconds behind Dumoulin. Froome now finds himself fourth overall, 13 seconds adrift of Roglic.
Click through to read our full report on Roglic’s daredevil descent to victory on stage 19.
Dumoulin accuses Roglic of using a moto to get away
Tom Dumoulin (Sunweb) was not happy when he crossed the finish line in Laruns to complete stage 19 of the Tour de France. He was quick to suggest that Primoz Roglic (LottoNL-Jumbo) used the slipstream of a camera moto to initially get away from the group of GC contenders on the descent of the Col d’Aubisque. Roglic won the stage with a 19-second gap over Dumoulin and Co.
“Roglic was the strongest today, and a lot of respect for his victory, but he was flying downhill, and eventually I got dropped on a straight part just because he was on his tube and full in the slipstream of the motorbike, Dumoulin said. “I was sprinting to his wheel and I couldn’t get any closer. I just got dropped on the only straight part of the downhill. It’s ridiculous really.”
Dumoulin did not file a protest of the result, but was quite upset about what happened on the final descent of the stage.
“I’m fucking pissed,” Dumoulin added.
Tomorrow’s Tour stage
The race of truth.
All that separates the riders from Paris and the end of the Tour de France is a 31-kilometre individual time trial. It is the only solo effort of this year’s Grande Boucle. The TT course is by no means flat, as it takes place in the heart of the Basque Country. Geraint Thomas has a bit of an advantage in the general classification, but the podium is by no means settled. Tom Dumoulin (Sunweb), Primoz Roglic (LottoNL-Jumbo), and Chris Froome (Sky) will be laying it all on the line to be on the podium on the Champs-Élysées.
Prudential RideLondon-Surrey Classic
The one-day race around London hosts a Women’s WorldTour race on Saturday and a men’s WorldTour race on Sunday. The race offers an equal payout as well with the men’s and women’s prize lists at 100,000 euros and the winner taking home 25,000 euros. It is the largest prize purse on the Women’s World Tour calendar.
The start of the women’s race on Saturday has been pushed back to 6:00 p.m. CET to accommodate the Tour de France and will be broadcast live across various outlets. The women will race 12 laps over a 5.5-kilometre circuit around the centre of London for a race distance of 64.8 kilometres. The 2017 event was won by American Coryn Rivera (Sunweb).
The men’s peloton will race over a 200-kilometre route on Sunday that takes them out of London before finishing back on The Mall in front of Buckingham Palace.
Last year’s edition was won by Norwegian Alexander Kristoff (Katusha-Alpecin), who will not be in attendance due to the Tour de France ending that same day.
UCI encourages African nations to bid on 2025 UCI Road Worlds
The Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) has sent a letter of invitation and helpful documents to all 50 national federations of the African Cycling Confederation (CAC) in an effort to help prospective candidates bid on the 2025 UCI road world championships. The governing body is looking to expand the growth of cycling in Africa and sees having the road world championships there as a great way to do so.
Africa previously held the Mountain Bike and Para-cycling Road UCI World Championships in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa in 2013 and 2017 respectively.
“The staging of the UCI’s flagship event in Africa in 2025 will represent a significant step forward in growing the popularity of our sport,” UCI president David Lappartient said. “It is an occasion that will see the world’s top riders, hundreds of reporters and hundreds of thousands of spectators come together for the very first time in Africa, over the course of eight whole days. I strongly urge the continent’s National Federations, in partnership with the prospective host cities, to present bids to stage this historic event.”
Tour de France 2018: Ask the peloton. Who would be cycling’s god?
Stage 19 of the 2018 Tour de France started in Lourdes, France. The town is visited by thousands of pilgrims each year. While in a holy place we thought we’d ask the peloton a question. If cycling was an official religion, who would you want as the god?
Tour de France 2018: Custom bikes of the peloton
Touring the pits of Le Tour throws up some spectacular custom paint schemes, so we’ve brought you the best of the best.
Armstrong calls Contador a ‘wanker’
Speaking on his The Move podcast, Lance Armstrong got heated when talking about standing on the final Tour podium in third place in 2009.
Tour de France 2018 stage 19 highlights