Egan Bernal (Team Ineos) is one stage away from sealing the overall victory at the Tour de France, crossing the stage 20 finish line at Val Thorens hand-in-hand with teammate and reigning champion Geraint Thomas as the pair finished safely among the lead group on the shortened stage 20.
Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida) took the stage win as the last man standing from the early break, holding off the peloton and redeeming what has been a tough campaign for the 2014 Tour champion. Movistar duo Alejandro Valverde and Mikel Landa launched late bids for victory, but had to settle for second and third, 10 and 14 seconds down.
Bernal and Thomas rolled in three seconds after Landa, while Steven Kruijswijk (Jumbo-Visma) moved up into third overall after former race leader Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-QuickStep) was dropped 13km from the finish of the micro-stage.
For the most part, the 33-kilometre climb to Val Thorens was a whittling-down process, with Jumbo-Visma pushing a tough pace to distance Alaphilippe. The Dutch squad succeeded in their goal midway up the climb and kept pushing on to ensure Kruijswijk made it onto the final podium.
Few attacks were attempted on the long, steady climb to the finish, though a flurry of action came in the final kilometre as Movistar sprung belatedly into action. Emanuel Buchmann (Bora-Hansgrohe) also gave it a go, but would only make two seconds on Kruijswijk, and would have to settle for fourth overall.
"I suffered, but it's great to win," said Nibali after the stage. "It wasn't easy for me after the fatigue of the Giro d'Italia. I tried to do the GC but exploded. There was a lot of criticism and I thought about going home, but I fought to honour the Tour de France. In the last few days I felt better, and so, even after the fatigue of yesterday, I went for it.
"It wasn't easy after last year and my crash on l'Alpe d'Huez. I hadn't won a race since, so this is huge. This is for my grandfather who passed away recently. It's also for all my team and staff who helped me get back to my best."
Bernal becomes the first rider since Alberto Contador in 2007 to win both the yellow and white jerseys at the Tour de France, and also becomes the youngest race winner since François Faber in 1909.
"Now we can say we are really close to securing victory," said Bernal after the finish., "There's one stage to go and I hope it all goes OK, but I can almost say I've won my first Tour de France.
"I imagine everyone is going crazy in Colombia. This is a historic moment for our country, so I'm happy. This is a dream come true. I watched the Tour on television and dreamed about winning it. Now my dream has come true, so I'm feeling so many different emotions."
Romain Bardet (AG2R La Mondiale), though dropped with Alaphilippe, retains the polka dot jersey by eight points from Bernal, while Movistar win the team classification for the fourth time in five years.
How it unfolded
After stage 19 was dramatically halted at the top of the Col de l'Iseran due to dangerous conditions – which included ice and mudslides – on the descent into Val d'Isere, race organisers were forced to truncate stage 20 from Albertville to the summit of Val Thorens.
The peloton raced less than half of the original parcours, which was shortened and partially re-routed to just 59km. Organisers were able to salvage the decisive part of the race, however, so that the peloton could race to the summit finish on Val Thorens despite stormy conditions at the top. The ascent measured in at 33.5km, averaging 5.5 per cent, and climbed to 2,365m in altitude.
Egan Bernal started the day in the yellow jersey, awarded to him after he attacked over the previous day's Col de I'Iseran, building his lead out to a minute on a chase group that included his teammate Geraint Thomas, Steven Kruijswijk, Emanuel Buchmann, Vincenzo Nibali, Mikel Landa and Rigoberto Urán (EF Education First).
Previous yellow jersey Julian Alaphilippe had been distanced by more than two minutes and so lost the overall lead for the first time since regaining it in Saint-Étienne on stage 8.
Attacks flew during the opening kilometres of stage 20, and a breakaway of six men was quick to form, though it would expand to 29 riders as a large chase group connected at the front.
The group, that gained 2:30 on the Team Ineos-led peloton through the valley to Moûtiers, included a number of strong climbers – decent bets for the stage win if the break would be allowed to last – such as Nibali and Bahrain-Merida teammate Dylan Teuns, Tony Gallopin (AG2R-La Mondiale), Sébastien Reichenbach (Groupama-FDJ), Pierre-Luc Périchon (Cofidis) Ilnur Zakarin (Katusha-Alpecin), Michael Woods (EF Education First) and the Astana pair of Omar Fraile and Gorka Izagirre.
Other men, who didn't last long out front once the climbing started, included Elia Viviani (Deceuninck-QuickStep), Nelson Oliveira (Movistar), Magnus Cort (Astana), Alberto Bettiol (EF Education First), Daryl Impey (Mitchelton-Scott), Joey Rosskopf (CCC), Rui Costa and Vegard Stake Laengen (UAE Team Emirates), Jasper Stuyven (Trek-Segafredo), Nicolas Roche (Sunweb), Jens Keukeleire (Lotto-Soudal), Lilian Calmejane, Niccolo Bonifazio and Anthony Turgis (Total Direct Energie), Nils Politt (Katusha-Alpecin), Frederik Backaert and Kevin Van Melsen (Wanty-Groupe Gobert), Stephen Cummings and Ben King (Dimension Data) and Maxime Bouet (Arkéa-Samsic).
In what seemed like a blink of an eye, the race hit the base of the final climb of Val Thorens. Lotto Soudal teammates Tim Wellens and Thomas De Gendt tried to bridge across to the breakaway in pursuit of mountain points, though the attempt to retake the mountains jersey on behalf of Wellens would ultimately prove fruitless.
As the road snaked its way through sharp hairpins at the bottom of Val Thorens, Nibali, Gallopin, Zakarin and Woods formed a small group, while the remaining breakaway riders split apart. Périchon and Fraile soon joined up with them at the head of the race to make a six-man lead group.
On the climb, Jumbo-Visma took over from Ineos at the head of the peloton, keen to push a high pace for Kruijswijk, who had ambitions of moving up onto the podium.
As was expected on such a long climb, the peloton saw a gradual whittling-down process rather than any long-range kamikaze attacks. Richie Porte (Trek-Segafredo) was the first big name to pop as the riders joined the main road to the summit in Saint-Martin-de-Belleville with 16.5km to go.
Three kilometres later, with the six-man break now less than a minute up the road, it was Alaphiliippe's turn to drop, along with mountain classification leader Romain Bardet (AG2R La Mondiale). Days of defending his race lead through the Pyrenees and Alps looked to have decisively taken their toll on the QuickStep man as he gritted his teeth …
Shortly afterwards, Nibali went on the attack at the front of the race, going solo 12km out. He held a one-minute gap to the peloton as Jumbo continued their work with Laurens De Plus leading the GC favourites.
A brief move from double stage winner Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott), Warren Barguil (Arkéa-Samsic) and the Movistar duo of Marc Soler and Nairo Quintana came 6km from the line, but was quickly snuffed out as Gregor Mühlberger took it up at the front of the GC group for Bora teammate Buchmann.
Meanwhile, two minutes down the mountain, Alaphilippe was plunging down the rankings, off the podium and potentially out of the top five. The final 2km saw Ineos take to the front, looking to safely guide Bernal to the finish.
Up the road, Nibali was 30 seconds clear heading into the final kilometre, saving Bahrain's Tour with a stage win. Buchmann's brief attempt to dislodge Kruijswijk for third place came to nought, while late attacks from Landa and then Valverde came too late to catch Nibali for the stage honours.
Three minutes behind Bernal and Thomas, who celebrated together as they finished, Alaphilippe crossed the line, having dropped from second to fifth on the general classification on a cruel final day in the mountains for the Frenchman.
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Bahrain-Merida||1:51:53|
|2||Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar Team||0:00:10|
|3||Mikel Landa (Spa) Movistar Team||0:00:14|
|4||Egan Bernal (Col) Team Ineos||0:00:17|
|5||Geraint Thomas (GBr) Team Ineos||Row 4 - Cell 2|
|6||Rigoberto Uran (Col) EF Education First||0:00:23|
|7||Emanuel Buchmann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe||Row 6 - Cell 2|
|8||Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) Team Jumbo-Visma||0:00:25|
|9||Wout Poels (Ned) Team Ineos||0:00:30|
|10||Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar Team||Row 9 - Cell 2|
|11||Warren Barguil (Fra) Arkéa Samsic||0:00:46|
|12||Gregor Mühlberger (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe||0:01:09|
|13||Lennard Kämna (Ger) Team Sunweb||0:01:30|
|14||Marc Soler (Spa) Movistar Team||0:01:33|
|15||Adam Yates (GBr) Mitchelton-Scott||0:01:49|
|16||Simon Yates (GBr) Mitchelton-Scott||0:01:52|
|17||Ilnur Zakarin (Rus) Katusha-Alpecin||0:01:56|
|18||Elie Gesbert (Fra) Arkéa Samsic||0:02:07|
|19||Daniel Martin (Irl) UAE Team Emirates||0:02:10|
|20||Daryl Impey (RSA) Mitchelton-Scott||Row 19 - Cell 2|
|21||Omar Fraile (Spa) Astana Pro Team||0:02:26|
|22||David Gaudu (Fra) Groupama-FDJ||0:03:01|
|23||Jesus Herrada (Spa) Cofidis Solutions Credits||Row 22 - Cell 2|
|24||Sébastien Reichenbach (Swi) Groupama-FDJ||0:03:13|
|25||Dylan Teuns (Bel) Bahrain-Merida||Row 24 - Cell 2|
|26||Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Deceuninck-QuickStep||0:03:17|
|27||Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale||0:03:45|
|28||Andrey Amador (CRc) Movistar Team||Row 27 - Cell 2|
|29||Magnus Cort Nielsen (Den) Astana Pro Team||Row 28 - Cell 2|
|30||Tony Gallopin (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale||Row 29 - Cell 2|
|31||Fabio Aru (Ita) UAE Team Emirates||0:04:10|
|32||Carlos Verona (Spa) Movistar Team||0:04:25|
|33||Laurens De Plus (Bel) Team Jumbo-Visma||0:04:59|
|34||Enric Mas (Spa) Deceuninck-QuickStep||Row 33 - Cell 2|
|35||Joseph Rosskopf (USA) CCC Team||0:05:06|
|36||Michael Woods (Can) EF Education First||Row 35 - Cell 2|
|37||Romain Sicard (Fra) Total Direct Energie||0:05:20|
|38||Richie Porte (Aus) Trek-Segafredo||0:05:54|
|39||Guillaume Martin (Fra) Wanty-Gobert||0:06:07|
|40||Tanel Kangert (Est) EF Education First||Row 39 - Cell 2|
|41||Rui Costa (Por) UAE Team Emirates||0:07:02|
|42||Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek-Segafredo||Row 41 - Cell 2|
|43||Giulio Ciccone (Ita) Trek-Segafredo||Row 42 - Cell 2|
|44||Julien Bernard (Fra) Trek-Segafredo||0:07:04|
|45||Rein Taaramäe (Est) Total Direct Energie||0:07:14|
|46||Pierre Luc Perichon (Fra) Cofidis Solutions Credits||0:07:24|
|47||Frederik Backaert (Bel) Wanty-Gobert||0:08:25|
|48||Luke Durbridge (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott||0:08:27|
|49||Alexey Lutsenko (Kaz) Astana Pro Team||0:08:32|
|50||Maxime Monfort (Bel) Lotto Soudal||Row 49 - Cell 2|
|51||Pello Bilbao (Spa) Astana Pro Team||Row 50 - Cell 2|
|52||Gorka Izagirre Insausti (Spa) Astana Pro Team||0:08:50|
|53||Thomas De Gendt (Bel) Lotto Soudal||Row 52 - Cell 2|
|54||Alexis Vuillermoz (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale||0:08:53|
|55||Rudy Molard (Fra) Groupama-FDJ||0:08:55|
|56||Imanol Erviti (Spa) Movistar Team||Row 55 - Cell 2|
|57||Jack Haig (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott||Row 56 - Cell 2|
|58||Mikael Cherel (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale||Row 57 - Cell 2|
|59||Hugo Houle (Can) Astana Pro Team||Row 58 - Cell 2|
|60||Vegard Stake Laengen (Nor) UAE Team Emirates||Row 59 - Cell 2|
|61||Ben King (USA) Dimension Data||0:09:56|
|62||Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Dimension Data||Row 61 - Cell 2|
|63||Stephen Cummings (GBr) Dimension Data||Row 62 - Cell 2|
|64||Alexis Gougeard (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale||Row 63 - Cell 2|
|65||Michael Valgren Andersen (Den) Dimension Data||0:10:10|
|66||Maxime Bouet (Fra) Arkéa Samsic||Row 65 - Cell 2|
|67||Xandro Meurisse (Bel) Wanty-Gobert||0:10:20|
|68||Natnael Berhane (Eri) Cofidis Solutions Credits||0:10:26|
|69||Michael Schär (Swi) CCC Team||0:10:45|
|70||Odd Christian Eiking (Nor) Wanty-Gobert||0:11:10|
|71||Nils Politt (Ger) Katusha-Alpecin||Row 70 - Cell 2|
|72||Mathias Frank (Swi) AG2R La Mondiale||Row 71 - Cell 2|
|73||Stefan Küng (Swi) Groupama-FDJ||0:11:14|
|74||Kevin Van Melsen (Bel) Wanty-Gobert||Row 73 - Cell 2|
|75||Jens Keukeleire (Bel) Lotto Soudal||Row 74 - Cell 2|
|76||Patrick Konrad (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe||0:11:22|
|77||Dylan van Baarle (Ned) Team Ineos||Row 76 - Cell 2|
|78||Jonathan Castroviejo (Spa) Team Ineos||Row 77 - Cell 2|
|79||Nelson Oliveira (Por) Movistar Team||Row 78 - Cell 2|
|80||Kevin Ledanois (Fra) Arkéa Samsic||0:12:13|
|81||Anthony Delaplace (Fra) Arkéa Samsic||Row 80 - Cell 2|
|82||Lilian Calmejane (Fra) Total Direct Energie||0:12:18|
|83||Paul Ourselin (Fra) Total Direct Energie||Row 82 - Cell 2|
|84||Anthony Perez (Fra) Cofidis Solutions Credits||0:12:46|
|85||Tiesj Benoot (Bel) Lotto Soudal||0:13:36|
|86||Julien Simon (Fra) Cofidis Solutions Credits||0:13:38|
|87||Amael Moinard (Fra) Arkéa Samsic||0:14:30|
|88||Sonny Colbrelli (Ita) Bahrain-Merida||0:15:16|
|89||Damiano Caruso (Ita) Bahrain-Merida||Row 88 - Cell 2|
|90||José Gonçalves (Por) Katusha-Alpecin||Row 89 - Cell 2|
|91||Sergio Henao (Col) UAE Team Emirates||Row 90 - Cell 2|
|92||Benoit Cosnefroy (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale||Row 91 - Cell 2|
|93||Alberto Bettiol (Ita) EF Education First||0:15:36|
|94||Anthony Roux (Fra) Groupama-FDJ||0:15:41|
|95||Fabien Grellier (Fra) Total Direct Energie||0:15:49|
|96||Jan Tratnik (Slo) Bahrain-Merida||0:15:52|
|97||Peter Sagan (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe||Row 96 - Cell 2|
|98||Michael Matthews (Aus) Team Sunweb||0:16:14|
|99||Nicolas Roche (Irl) Team Sunweb||Row 98 - Cell 2|
|100||Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) CCC Team||Row 99 - Cell 2|
|101||Jasper Stuyven (Bel) Trek-Segafredo||Row 100 - Cell 2|
|102||Oliver Naesen (Bel) AG2R La Mondiale||Row 101 - Cell 2|
|103||Simon Clarke (Aus) EF Education First||Row 102 - Cell 2|
|104||Lars Bak (Den) Dimension Data||Row 103 - Cell 2|
|105||Yoann Offredo (Fra) Wanty-Gobert||Row 104 - Cell 2|
|106||Serge Pauwels (Bel) CCC Team||Row 105 - Cell 2|
|107||Stéphane Rossetto (Fra) Cofidis Solutions Credits||Row 106 - Cell 2|
|108||Christopher Juul Jensen (Den) Mitchelton-Scott||0:16:34|
|109||Simon Geschke (Ger) CCC Team||0:16:50|
|110||Mads Würtz Schmidt (Den) Katusha-Alpecin||0:17:04|
|111||Elia Viviani (Ita) Deceuninck-QuickStep||0:17:29|
|112||Marcus Burghardt (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe||0:17:32|
|113||Niccolò Bonifazio (Ita) Total Direct Energie||0:17:45|
|114||Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Dimension Data||0:17:54|
|115||Reinardt Janse Van Rensburg (RSA) Dimension Data||Row 114 - Cell 2|
|116||George Bennett (NZl) Team Jumbo-Visma||0:18:00|
|117||Michael Hepburn (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott||Row 116 - Cell 2|
|118||Marco Haller (Aut) Katusha-Alpecin||Row 117 - Cell 2|
|119||Tom Scully (NZl) EF Education First||Row 118 - Cell 2|
|120||Matthieu Ladagnous (Fra) Groupama-FDJ||Row 119 - Cell 2|
|121||Koen de Kort (Ned) Trek-Segafredo||Row 120 - Cell 2|
|122||Tim Wellens (Bel) Lotto Soudal||Row 121 - Cell 2|
|123||Aime De Gendt (Bel) Wanty-Gobert||Row 122 - Cell 2|
|124||Dries Devenyns (Bel) Deceuninck-QuickStep||Row 123 - Cell 2|
|125||Jasper De Buyst (Bel) Lotto Soudal||Row 124 - Cell 2|
|126||Chad Haga (USA) Team Sunweb||Row 125 - Cell 2|
|127||Toms Skujins (Lat) Trek-Segafredo||Row 126 - Cell 2|
|128||Florian Vachon (Fra) Arkéa Samsic||Row 127 - Cell 2|
|129||William Bonnet (Fra) Groupama-FDJ||Row 128 - Cell 2|
|130||Fabio Felline (Ita) Trek-Segafredo||Row 129 - Cell 2|
|131||Daniel Oss (Ita) Bora-Hansgrohe||0:18:05|
|132||Caleb Ewan (Aus) Lotto Soudal||0:18:38|
|133||Anthony Turgis (Fra) Total Direct Energie||0:19:02|
|134||André Greipel (Ger) Arkéa Samsic||0:20:20|
|135||Nikias Arndt (Ger) Team Sunweb||Row 134 - Cell 2|
|136||Lukasz Wisniowski (Pol) CCC Team||0:20:50|
|137||Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Team Ineos||Row 136 - Cell 2|
|138||Matteo Trentin (Ita) Mitchelton-Scott||Row 137 - Cell 2|
|139||Andrea Pasqualon (Ita) Wanty-Gobert||Row 138 - Cell 2|
|140||Gianni Moscon (Ita) Team Ineos||Row 139 - Cell 2|
|141||Ivan Garcia (Spa) Bahrain-Merida||Row 140 - Cell 2|
|142||Matej Mohoric (Slo) Bahrain-Merida||Row 141 - Cell 2|
|143||Jens Debusschere (Bel) Katusha-Alpecin||Row 142 - Cell 2|
|144||Alex Dowsett (GBr) Katusha-Alpecin||Row 143 - Cell 2|
|145||Kasper Asgreen (Den) Deceuninck-QuickStep||Row 144 - Cell 2|
|146||Sebastian Langeveld (Ned) EF Education First||Row 145 - Cell 2|
|147||Yves Lampaert (Bel) Deceuninck-QuickStep||Row 146 - Cell 2|
|148||Sven Erik Bystrøm (Nor) UAE Team Emirates||Row 147 - Cell 2|
|149||Mike Teunissen (Ned) Team Jumbo-Visma||Row 148 - Cell 2|
|150||Alexander Kristoff (Nor) UAE Team Emirates||Row 149 - Cell 2|
|151||Michael Mørkøv (Den) Deceuninck-QuickStep||Row 150 - Cell 2|
|152||Dylan Groenewegen (Ned) Team Jumbo-Visma||0:20:56|
|153||Amund Grøndahl Jansen (Nor) Team Jumbo-Visma||Row 152 - Cell 2|
|154||Maximiliano Richeze (Arg) Deceuninck-QuickStep||0:22:41|
|155||Roger Kluge (Ger) Lotto Soudal||0:23:07|
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result||Header Cell - Column 3|
|1||Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Bahrain-Merida||20||pts|
|2||Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar Team||17||Row 1 - Cell 3|
|3||Mikel Landa (Spa) Movistar Team||15||Row 2 - Cell 3|
|4||Egan Bernal (Col) Team Ineos||13||Row 3 - Cell 3|