The Colombian won the yellow jersey at the end of a crazy stage in emotions after the abandonment of the French Thibaut Pinot and the stoppage of the race because of hail.
Colombian Egan Bernal (Ineos) is the new yellow jersey of the Tour de France following the 19th stage stopped Friday before term, Friday, near Val d’Isere (Savoie).
Bernal dispossessed Frenchman Julian Alaphilippe of his leader’s jersey on the eve of the last mountain stage and two days before the finish.
Day of madness
Day of madness on the Tour: the 19th stage was stopped before term because of a downpour of hail on the road but the yellow jersey passed on the shoulders of the Colombian prodigy Egan Bernal (Ineos), the strongest in the Iseran.
In an extreme situation, an exceptional decision. In the absence of a finish line, no rider was declared the winner of the stage but the efforts made in the Iseran, the highest pass of the Tour, were taken into account in this incredible Tour, which was, without doubt, played in this second of the three alpine acts.
On the eve of the last mountain stage in Val Thorens and two days before the finish in Paris, Bernal has a margin of 45 seconds on the Frenchman Julian Alaphilippe, who lost his yellow jersey, and 1:03 minutes on the outgoing winner, the Welshman Geraint Thomas, co-leader of the Ineos team at the start.
A violent hailstorm made the road quite impracticable at the exit of a tunnel, shortly before Val d’Isère, about 25 kilometres from the finish. Faced with an unprecedented situation, the jury of the commissioners decided: the times were taken at the summit of the Iseran, the “roof” of the Tower at the altitude of 2770 meters.
At this point, Bernal, the young “condor” (22) from the Andes, was hovering over the race. With 50 seconds ahead of the group of favourites (Thomas and Kruijswijk in particular) and 2:07 sec on the wearer of the yellow jersey, the Frenchman Julian Alaphilippe.
In the descent, the Colombian team Ineos saw the British Simon Yates return. The two men, who were unaware of the damage on the road below, were stopped in full effort at the front of the race.
The Iseran cursed collar
They then saw their pursuers arrive, who gradually took their place in the team cars before taking, much later, the management of their respective hotels. Not without difficulty, since a landslide, moreover, occurred on the planned route.
This type of incident is extremely rare in a grand tour.
In 1995, the Giro had to stop a stage whose end was planned in Briançon, because of an avalanche occurred in the Col d’Agnel. The finish had been judged unexpectedly at the foot of the pass.
The Iseran, which the Tour de France has rarely borrowed in its history, has everything a cursed collar. The highest road pass could not be crossed in 1996 when the race had to cross it in the other direction. The reason? the snow, which had already made the road impassable.
For the French, the day-decisively-was black. Thibaut Pinot, reduced by a muscle injury in his left thigh, was forced to retire after an hour of racing. “He avoided a crash two days ago and he hit the handlebars,” said his sporting director Philippe Mauduit.
As for the race, Alaphilippe, in yellow since the first week, paid the bill in the Iseran. He let go of the pace imposed by the team Ineos (Van Baarle, Poels) who launched Bernal to the final victory.
It remains for the Colombian to cross without a hitch the last mountain stage, Saturday, Val Thorens, to be almost certain to become the first Colombian winner of the Tour.