On a remarkable day at the Tour de France, Egan Bernal (Team Ineos) took over the yellow jersey after he passed first over the Col d’Iseran. News came through during the descent towards the final climb that a blizzard had forced the organisers to stop the race and that stage times would be taken from the summit of the Col d’Iseran. On a bad day for the French, Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ) abandoned and Julian Alaphilippe was dropped and lost over two minutes to Bernal.

156 riders started stage 19 in Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne. After 4 kilometres of racing and a demanding uphill start, Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida), Pello Bilbao (Astana), Dan Martin (UAE Team Emirates) and Jesus Herrada (Cofidis) rode away. The leading quartet was caught at km 35 by a group that escaped from the main bunch while Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ) was in distress. Hampered by a left knee injury, the Frenchman who was fifth on GC had no choice but pull out after 36 kilometres.

29 riders formed the front group after 50 kilometres of racing: Dylan van Baarle (Ineos), Patrick Konrad (Bora-Hansgrohe), Tony Gallopin (AG2R-La Mondiale), Vincenzo Nibali and Damiano Caruso (Bahrain-Merida), Sébastien Reichenbach (Groupama-FDJ), Alejandro Valverde, Marc Soler and Andrey Amador (Movistar), Pello Bilbao, Gorka Izagirre, Magnus Cort and Alexey Lutsenko (Astana), Laurens De Plus (Jumbo-Visma), Rigoberto Uran, Alberto Bettiol and Michael Woods (EF Education First), Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott), Dan Martin and Fabio Aru (UAE Team Emirates), Giulio Ciccone and Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo), Michael Matthews (Sunweb), Jesus Herrada (Cofidis), Thomas De Gendt (Lotto-Soudal), Guillaume Martin (Wanty-Groupe Gobert), Roman Kreuziger (Dimension Data), Warren Barguil and Elie Gesbert (Arkéa-Samsic).

Team Ineos led the peloton until AG2R-La Mondiale took over at the bottom of the Col d’Iseran while the time difference was 1’40” after a maximum gap of two minutes had been recorded at km 60. Geraint Thomas attacked with 6.5 kilometres to go and it was the beginning of the assault for the yellow jersey. Barguil soloed at the front for a little while until Egan Bernal rode across to him 4.5 kilometres before the summit, followed by Nibali, Simon Yates and Uran. Bernal dropped his opponents one by one to reach the top alone in the lead.

Bernal started the long descent to Tignes – Les Brevieres over a minute ahead of a group including his team mate Geraint Thomas, Steven Kruijswijk (Team Jumbo-Visma) and Emanuel Buchmann (BORA – hansgrohe). However, news then came through that the race was being stopped.

Because of a sudden storm, the road was impassable at km 112 on the downhill leading to Tignes. Huge amounts of hail and debris from a landslide made it impossible for the race to continue. The times were taken at Col d’Iseran. Therefore, Bernal who crested it first 2’07” ahead of Alaphilipe is the new leader of the Tour de France with two days to go with an advantage of 45″ over the Frenchman and 1’03” over Thomas. Kruijswijk is 1’28” with Buchmann at 1’55”.


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