The details are still coming in, the situation somewhat unclear but what’s certain is that Dave Brailsford believes that fortune favours the brave in the Tour de France after Egan Bernal (Team Ineos) attacked on the Col de l'Iseran on stage 19 before the race was called to a halt due to a storm and blocked roads.
Bernal was at the head of the race after attacking on the Col de l'Iseran and had dropped all of his GC rivals. On the descent the call was made by the race organisers – ASO – to neutralise the stage and call a halt to proceedings, with rider safety put first after a heavy storm and landslides blocked the roads below.
Bernal had opened up a gap between himself and his rivals – including race leader Julian Alaphilppe (Deceuninck-QuickStep) – by the top of the Col de l'Iseran and it was at this point in the race that the organisers decided to take the finish times. Taking the times at the summit into account, Bernal will lead the race into stage 20, although there is not yet an official confirmation from ASO.
While the riders huddled together in the valley between the final two climbs, Brailsford spoke to ITV.
"I think first and foremost there's obviously been a landslide, quite a considerable landslide," he said. "I think first and foremost we need to make sure everyone is alright, you know for fans and people on the roadside. Some of the images I've seen, there's bike racing and then there's the health and safety element and we just need to make sure everyone is alright. First and foremost, that's my first reaction."
With the results taken from the penultimate climb of the Iseran, Bernal now leads teammate Geraint Thomas on the general classification with two stages remaining in this year’s race.
"Fortune favours the brave at the end of the day, as we said this morning, we were going to take today on. We haven't been maybe as strong as we have been [in the past] all race but today was the day where we thought if there was anywhere we could make the difference was the Iseran but it was going to be hard to get there.
"I actually thought the guys rode really well, from Dylan [van Baarle] getting in the break, Castroviejo and the guys rode really well, Wout [Poels] obviously really pushing the tempo at the bottom of the climb.
"We had a plan and we executed the plan. Geraint went first, Egan went over the top and who knows what would've happened after that. To be fair, it was nice to get to the top with either of them in that situation.
"It wasn't what we were hoping for but obviously, there was quite a lot of downhill to come and another climb to come but we don't control the weather. We don't control the circumstances but I'm really happy in one way and kind of slightly concerned for everybody else if I'm honest, it's a bit of a mixed feeling really."