Tour de France stage 19 finish line quotes

Egan Bernal (Team Ineos) – race leader

"It’s – I don’t imagine to take the yellow in this way but I’m in yellow and I’m really really happy. For sure I want to win the race but I’m happy already with what I’ve done in this Tour. I’m just 22 years old and I’m in yellow. It’s incredible. I came here to help G and he gave me the opportunity to go in every mountain stage so it’s – I don’t know what to say.

"It’s strange because I don’t feel pressure. I really love it – to ride a bike. I enjoy the race, I enjoy to be fighting with these guys. The adrenaline, you know? To wait, wait, wait and then attack and go full gas. I really enjoy it. It’s for sure a lot of suffering but I love it. So there’s no space for pressure. For sure tomorrow I want to do my best and try to keep my jersey but it’s not pressure. I don’t know if it’s something bad but it’s not pressure." (ITV4)

Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-QuickStep) – second overall

"I don’t think I can (get yellow back). It was a dream to have worn it for so long, it was for longer than I could ever have imagined. I pushed myself every day and even today on the last climb and on the descent… until I ended up in the car.

"I want to thank all my supporters. I don’t have any regrets." (France TV Sport)

Geraint Thomas (Team Ineos) – third overall 

"It was strange but obviously when you see the pictures it was the right call, I guess. Just a freak storm with the hail and the avalanche over the road. It was a funny one because then you think ‘well if we’d have known that before, it would’ve been a race to the top of that last climb’, but it’s one of those things. It’s out of everyone’s control.

"The road was completely covered and it would’ve been dangerous to race down that. Prudhomme showed me some pictures of the roads and we wouldn’t be able to pass so it’s just a freak day, really. The organisers didn’t plan that – it’s what it is and we’ve just got to accept that.

"Obviously everyone was a bit disappointed, but nobody knew. If we could’ve raced to the top of that climb it would’ve been a bit different, with Alaphilippe and everything. But the main thing is that we’ve got the jersey now and we just need to finish it tomorrow." (ITV4)

Doug Ryder (Dimension Data team principal)

"I think it is tough, I think it's tough for the organisers when a natural disaster happens and I think that's what we can call it and that's the state of the world today. But I think from the gendarmes, to the cavalcade, to everyone working today and the riders, of course, did a great job.

"It's sad that things like this can happen today but it is what it is. It's pretty crazy but it was the right decision. For a team like us going for GC with Roman Kreuziger, it is what it is, it was a fight today but it was great to see and good for some but maybe not for others.

"I think we're fighting everyday and our team is fighting the best we can and trying everyday. Roman is a super bike rider and trying his hardest, everyday is the same for us we fight today the best we can and same tomorrow. Paris is another option for us with Edvald Boasson Hagen, who always finishes quite well there. We'll keep fighting, as does the whole peloton which is great for the sport and the French have been fantastic. They didn't have a great day today but its been a dream race for them for sure.

"I think today was a long day for riders as they're now sitting in cars in cramped positions waiting to get to hotels and it'll later than the normal finish even though they rode less of a distance. Some will recover better than others and it's a hard day for everyone, tomorrow is another hard day and it will be all guns blazing again." (Eurosport)

Brent Copeland (Bahrain-Merida manager)

"I spoke to [directeur sportif] Gorazd Štangelj in the race. There was a lot of confusion on the decent as the race direction told the riders what was happening. It's all very strange, I've never seen anything like this. I've seen snow before a stage and so the stage was shortened but this seems very stranger. But seeing the images of the roads, it's right to stop the riders.

"We saw the hail stone on the road on social media about 20 minutes before the race was stopped. We were worried about a storm on the summit of the I'seran but we didn't think there'd be such a bad storm. Now we're working on logistics to get the riders up to our hotel, which is here at the finish." (ITV4)

David Brailsford (Team Ineos manager)

"I think first and foremost there's obviously been a landslide, quite a considerable landslide. 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.

"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.

"I think if you'd taken what you've seen today and played that forwards, I think maybe [Alaphilippe] would've come back a little bit on the descent, he's a great descender, we know that. Then if he caught the group in front of him, they wouldn't have worked with him so he would have had to do that all himself and Egan looked like he's the strongest climber in the race at the moment. On the [final] climb, I thought he and the other GC guys would've gained time again but we'll never know will we."

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