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The penultimate stage of the 2019 Tour de France has been shortened to just 59km, race organizer ASO announced Friday evening.
The stage will still start in Albertville and finish in Val Thorens, as planned, but two climbs will be cut out of the middle of the stage. The category 1 Cormet de Roseland and category 2 Côte de Longefoy have been pulled from the race.
Friday’s stage to Tignes was cut off as the leaders descended off the Col de l’Iseran due to a heavy hailstorm and subsequent mudslide. GC times were taken at the top of the Iseran and Egan Bernal (Ineos) pulled on the yellow jersey.
“Following difficult weather and landslides forecast for tomorrow, the route of the 20th stage of the Tour de France has been modified,” a statement from the organisers read.
The state of the Cormet de Roseland, one of the climbs that have been removed:
— NOS Sport (@NOSsport) July 26, 2019
Bernal leads Julian Alaphilippe by 48 seconds and Ineos teammate Geraint Thomas by 1’16” with two stages remaining. Saturday’s shortened stage is the last chance for a GC shuffle ahead of the processional cruise into Paris on Sunday.
On paper, a shorter stage suits Alaphilippe and is more likely to see aggression from the stage’s earliest moments. However, the Frenchman indicated on Friday that he didn’t believe he could take the yellow jersey back.