Nibali wins Tour stage 20, Bernal set for overall victory: Daily News Digest
Welcome to your Daily News Digest. Here’s what’s happening today:
Vincenzo Nibali climbs to victory on the penultimate stage of the Tour de France, Egan Bernal secures yellow for Paris, Thibaut Pinot laments Tour heartbreak but vows to return. Those stories and more in today’s Daily News Digest.
Story of the Day: Nibali wins Tour de France stage 20 as Bernal cements yellow
Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida) soared to victory on stage 20 of the Tour de France as Egan Bernal cemented his overall win.
Nibali pulled clear of the day’s breakaway with around 12 kilometers left to race on the climb to Val Thorens. Despite an attempted chase by his former breakaway companions and then the gradual closing in of the yellow jersey group, the Italian churned away on the Alpine slopes to maintain a safe gap all the way to the top, winning with a 10-second advantage over Movistar’s Alejandro Valverde. Valverde’s teammate Mikel Landa took third.
“It’s been a hard Tour for me,” said Nibali, who switched to targeting stage wins at the race after his GC chances faded early.
“The last kilometers seems like they would never end. In the end, it was liberating to lift my arms at the Tour and it makes me extremely happy.”
Race leader Bernal rolled over the stage 20 finish line in fourth celebrating with Ineos teammate Geraint Thomas, with Bernal’s GC victory all but secured with only the sprinter-friendly finale in Paris ahead.
Thomas now sits second overall with Steven Kruijswijk (Jumbo-Visma) moving into third on the general classification. Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-Quick-Step), who spent two weeks in yellow before Friday’s stage 19, lost touch with the GC group on the final climb and dropped down to fifth overall.
After organizers shortened the route due to impassable roads on the original parcours, stage 20 ran just 59 kilometers from Albertville to the Val Thorens finish line, with only one long climb to tackle.
Nibali joined a huge breakaway move that got clear in the early goings, with several other strong climbers also in the mix. As the road tilted upward near the midway point of the stage, the breakaway quickly shed numerous riders, and before long Nibali was in a select group off the front alongside Tony Gallopin (Ag2r La Mondiale), Ilnur Zakarin (Katusha-Alpecin), Pierre-Luc Périchon (Cofidis), and Michael Woods (EF Education First).
The peloton behind rode a high pace, dropping several big names from the yellow jersey group with a long way still to climb. Richie Porte (Trek-Segafredo) lost touch some 15 kilometers out. Alaphilippe was dropped with around 14 kilometers to go. The tempo in the pack brought the gap to the break down to around one minute, but 12 kilometers from the finish, Nibali dropped the rest of the escapees and forged on solo.
The GC group maintained a high tempo for the next several kilometers and mopped up the rest of the breakaway riders but the gap to Nibali was not coming down quickly enough. Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) jumped out of the yellow jersey group to form a chase with Movistar’s Nairo Quintana, but they were unable to gain much ground. Then it was Movistar’s Marc Soler trying to bridge, but he too was quickly reeled back in.
As he rolled into the final kilometer with a gap still intact, Nibali had plenty of room to enjoy the moment, collecting his sixth career Tour stage win at the line.
Valverde was next over the line with Landa just behind, and then Bernal and Thomas arrived together, celebrating Bernal’s success. Kruijswijk and Emanuel Buchmann (Bora-Hansgrohe) both moved up one spot on the overall standings as Alaphilippe finished more than three minutes down. Porte dropped out of the GC top 10, losing nearly six minutes on the stage and falling to 11th overall.
Stage 20 results
1 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Bahrain-Merida 1:51:53
2 Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar 0:00:10
3 Mikel Landa (Spa) Movistar 0:00:14
4 Egan Bernal (Col) Ineos 0:00:17
5 Geraint Thomas (GBr) Ineos
6 Rigoberto Uran (Col) EF Education First 0:00:23
7 Emanuel Buchmann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe
8 Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) Jumbo-Visma 0:00:25
9 Wout Poels (Ned) Ineos 0:00:30
10 Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar
1 Egan Bernal (Col) Ineos 79:52:52
2 Geraint Thomas (GBr) Ineos 0:01:11
3 Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) Jumbo-Visma 0:01:31
4 Emanuel Buchmann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe 0:01:56
5 Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Deceuninck-QuickStep 0:03:45
6 Mikel Landa (Spa) Movistar 0:04:23
7 Rigoberto Uran (Col) EF Education First 0:05:15
8 Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar 0:05:30
9 Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar 0:06:12
10 Warren Barguil (Fra) Arkéa-Samsic 0:07:32
The hard-working voices of Colombian radio have delivered some stirring commentary of Egan Bernal’s incredible race this July …
Colombian radio. pic.twitter.com/pQDjFfYuwe
— Caley Fretz (@CaleyFretz) July 27, 2019
… and speaking of people who clearly love cycling, great emotion from this passionate fan.
— daniel mcmahon (@cyclingreporter) July 27, 2019
Pinot: ‘I was convinced’ I would have won the Tour
Thibaut Pinot’s Tour de France ended in heartbreak on Friday’s stage 19. The Groupama-FDJ rider started the day sitting fifth overall and looking like a top contender for the yellow jersey, but he abandoned the race around an hour into the stage due to an injury to his thigh.
For a rider who spent a few days during the three-week race as the oddsmakers’ overall favorite to win, pulling out of the race was a bitter pill to swallow. He climbed into the team car in tears, and was left to wonder what might have been.
“Since Sunday in the Pyrenees, I felt I was capable of doing it,” Pinot said of his own belief in his chances of winning before the DNF.
“Without this problem, I’m sure I would have done it. I was convinced, and nothing was going to stop me. In the end, we’ll never know. It will take some time to come to terms with that.”
A year is a long time to wait to get another shot at the race, but Pinot vowed to return in a post on social media, saying, “I don’t know what the rest of the season has in store for me, but it is certain that I will be at the start of the Tour in 2020.”
New Hungarian team eyes Rebellin and a Giro invite
According to TuttoBiciWeb, a nascent Hungarian team is hoping to score a Giro d’Italia invite in 2020. A member of team brass said the “Epowers Factory Team” is working to sign Davide Rebellin.
“I can’t go too far into the details of the project because, as you know, the cycle market has time and regulations to respect,” said Thomas Pocze. “We will certainly hire five or six Hungarian riders, the best at national level, who will be joined by other Europeans, mainly Italian and French.”
Coming Up at the Tour
Only one stage remains at the 2019 Tour de France.
Stage 21 will take the Tour peloton into Paris, where the fast finishers will look to close out the race with a prestigious Champs-Élysées sprint win.
In case you missed it …
Feature Image: Vincenzo Nibali wins stage 20 of the Tour de France. Photo: Dion Kerckhoffs/Cor Vos © 2019