Tour de France: Matej Mohoric secures solo stage 19 victory in Libourne

Matej Mohoric (Bahrain Victorious) claimed his second stage victory of the 2021 Tour de France on stage 19, soloing into Libourne from 25km out on another breakaway day.

A fortnight after his solo win in Le Creusot, and two days after having his room searched by French police as part of a doping investigation into the Bahrain Victorious team, the Slovenian champion put his hand to his mouth and performed a ‘zip’ gesture as he crossed the line.

He had insisted he and his teammates would derive motivation from the events in Pau, and that they would be “flying” in the final few days of the race. He was true to his word as he made the day’s early breakaway, survived the selections after more riders had joined from the bunch, then attacked and played his former companions off each other.

He crossed the line in Libourne almost a minute up on his pursuers, with Christophe Laporte (Cofidis) taking second place, having clipped off in the final kilometres alongside Casper Pedersen (DSM), who took third.

The 207km route from Mourenx to Libourne was largely flat but was always open to breakaway hopefuls given so many teams still needed to salvage something from the race, and given the lack of teams really willing to take on Mark Cavendish in a bunch sprint.

Eddy Merckx was on the start line and, after a warm embrace, told Cavendish he hoped he’d break their shared record of 34 stage wins later that afternoon, but that will have to wait, with the scene now set for the fairytale finale in Paris on Sunday. Deceuninck-QuickStep never looked interested in chasing, instead letting Alpecin-Fenix do the early work before throwing riders up the road when the race descended into disorder following the intermediate sprint at kilometre-54.

Attacks rained from the peloton and a 14-man counter-attack went clear, sparking Andre Greipel’s Israel Start-Up Nation teammates, Chris Froome included, into a furious chase. They found allies in Bahrain Victorious, B&B Hotels, and even Ineos, but those three teams stopped working when the 14 chasers reached Mohoric’s original break to form a group of 20.

Israel carried on their charge for a little while longer before pulling the plug with 80km to go, at which point the peloton soft-pedalled to the finish, with no changes to the overall classification ahead of the stage 20 time trial.

The breakaway started attacking each other with 44km to go and the group was split in two following an uncategorized climb, leaving Mohoric out front with Laporte, Pedersen, Nils Pollitt (Bora-Hansgrohe), Mike Teunissen (Jumbo-Visma), Anthony Turgis (TotalEnergies), Franck Bonnamour (B&B Hotels), Georg Zimmerman (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert), Michael Valgren (EF-Nippo), and the Trek-Segafredo duo of Jasper Stuyven and Edward Theuns.

As the group caught its breath following another short incline with 25km to go, Mohoric stamped on the pedals and eased clear. He had enough power to hold off the initial responses and once that was done, he was able to build a gap. Once that gap was established, his chasers were never likely to come together to mount a coordinated chase, and the pace was indeed stop-start all the way to the finish.

“I can't believe it,” said Mohoric, who won in Le Creusot a fortnight ago after another long-range break. “There was another big group joining our small breakaway and we had no teammates there so I was a little bit disappointed, but I never give up and I just hoped for the best, tried to save some energy, and then in the final I tried to follow the attacks.

“When Nils went on that final climb, I was so on my limit I was almost exploding but I said if this is the hardest moment in the race then I need to do one more sprint. If I explode that's ok, but I really went for it and I looked back, and nobody was there. I just went as hard as I possibly could, and I completely finished my legs – towards the finish I was dying I was doing ridiculously low power but I was trying to be as aero as possible. Fortunately, I managed to keep my gap to the line.”

How it unfolded

The stage started with a short descent and then the short category-4 Côte de Bareille – the only climb on the 207km route. The attacks went from the gun but there was disruption in the form of a crash inside the first couple of kilometres. Pogačar even hit out to shut down a couple of moves as the riders got going again after the crash.

A few kilometres later, a breakaway did go clear, containing Julien Bernard (Trek-Segafredo), Jonas Rutsch (EF Education-Nippo), Simon Clarke (Qhubeka-NextHash), Franck Bonnamour (B&B-KTM), Georg Zimmermann (Intermarché-Wanty Gobert) and Matej Mohoric (Bahrain Victorious).

They quickly built a lead of four minutes as Alpecin-Fenix and, curiously, not Deceuninck-QuickStep, marshalled the front of the peloton. There was another sizeable crash but otherwise the pattern continued to the intermediate sprint at Saint-Sever after 54km.

Zimmerman took maximum points from the break while back in the peloton, BikeExchange took advantage of the uphill approach to ease Michael Matthews away from Cavendish. The green jersey, however, held on for a minor place to limit the damage to three points and move a step closer to final points classification victory.

After the sprint, all hell broke loose. A number of riders predicted a lack of control and went on the attack. First a five-man group tried a move and then, with others seemingly inspired, the front of the bunch started to split.

After several kilometres, it was back together and bunched up again, but not for long, as Nils Politt (Bora-Hansgrohe) and Edward Theuns (Trek-Segafredo) clipped off. They carried on their effort and succeeded in dragging a large group with them, and it stuck.

Also in the move were: Mike Teunissen (Jumbo-Visma), Jasper Stuvyen (Trek-Segafredo), Davide Ballerini (DQS), Nils Politt (Bora-Hansgrohe), Christophe Laporte (Cofidis), Silvan Dillier (Alpecin-Fenix), Michael Valgren (EF Education-Nippo), Elie Gesbert (Arkea-Samsic), Casper Pedersen (DSM), Brent Van Moer (Lotto-Soudal), Omar Fraile, Ion Izagirre, Dimitriy Gruzdev (Astana-PremierTech), Max Walscheid (Qhubeka-NextHash), Anthony Turgis (TotalEnergies), Alejandro Valverde, Jorge Arcas, Ivan Garcia Cortina (Movistar), Greg Van Avermaet (AG2R Citroen).

Israel Start-Up Nation, with no one in either break and with Greipel as a possible sprint card, soon came to the front of the peloton to mount a chase, and they then found assistance from Bahrain Victorious. A little later, B&B Hotels and Ineos Grenadiers started to help the cause.

As the gap reduced to 20 seconds, attacks came in the breakaway attempt, with first Politt then Stuyven producing big accelerations. The latter managed to trim the group by six, with Movistar losing all three of their riders, Astana losing Gruzdev and Fraile, and Van Avermaet also falling away.

With all three groups riding furiously, they weren’t separated by much on the road. The 14 remaining chasers were a minute behind the original break and 30 seconds ahead of the bunch.

With 100km to go, after a feed zone, the chasers made it across to the break to make it 20 out front, with the gap to the bunch up to 50 seconds. That was the moment the elastic snapped. Bahrain and B&B, with representation up front, soon stopped contributing, while Ineos called it a day as well. That left just Ineos, who were riding hard through Chris Froome and Reto Hollenstein.

They carried on for a good 15km but the gap was only going one way as the break worked well together. When it hit two minutes, with just over 80km to go, they called it off, and the peloton sat up.

As the break pressed on, it was full relaxation mode in the bunch and the gap quickly yawned out to 10 minutes. They quickly became an irrelevance to the complexion of the stage, and once the breakaway had a significant advantage, it was clear they would start attacking each other.

That moment came with 44km to go, with Gesbert kicking off the hostilities. It was a constant flurry of accelerations and counter-accelerations. Rutsch was particularly active, while Ballereini launched a couple of big attacks.

The first real selection came on an uncategorized climb with 39km to go, where Clarke and Van Moer were dropped. The rest of the break came back together over the top, and Laporte attacked next, splitting the group in two.

Up front were Mohoric, Teunissen, Stuyven, Theuns, Politt, Valgren, Pedersen, Turgis, Zimmerman, and Bonnamour. There was another incline with just over 25 km to go, where Politt issued another acceleration.

The group was coming to a lull as the road flattened out, at which point Mohoric hit out. He was quickly away and when the initial counter-attacks came to nothing, he was able to move out to 30 seconds. With a handy gap established, the race settled into the same pattern for the final 20km; Mohoric got his head down and rode as hard as he could, while the riders behind launched attack after attack, followed by lull after lull.

Mohoric was losing power by the time he reached the home straight but he’d already done the hard work and his second stage victory, and the third for his team, was in the bag.

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Results
Pos.Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Matej Mohoric (Slo) Bahrain Victorious 4:19:17
2Christophe Laporte (Fra) Cofidis 0:00:58
3Casper Pedersen (Den) Team DSM
4Mike Teunissen (Ned) Jumbo-Visma 0:01:02
5Nils Politt (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe 0:01:08
6Edward Theuns (Bel) Trek-Segafredo
7Michael Valgren (Den) EF Education-Nippo
8Georg Zimmermann (Ger) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux
9Anthony Turgis (Fra) TotalEnergies 0:01:10
10Jasper Stuyven (Bel) Trek-Segafredo
11Julien Bernard (Fra) Trek-Segafredo 0:02:37
12Maximilian Walscheid (Ger) Qhubeka-NextHash
13Davide Ballerini (Ita) Deceuninck-QuickStep
14Silvan Dillier (Swi) Alpecin-Fenix
15Jonas Rutsch (Ger) EF Education-Nippo
16Elie Gesbert (Fra) Team Arkea-Samsic
17Brent Van Moer (Bel) Lotto Soudal
18Ion Izagirre Insausti (Spa) Astana-Premier Tech 0:02:43
19Franck Bonnamour (Fra) B&B Hotels p/b KTM 0:02:57
20Simon Clarke (Aus) Qhubeka-NextHash 0:10:05
21Marc Hirschi (Swi) UAE Team Emirates 0:20:50
22Rui Costa (Por) UAE Team Emirates
23Rafal Majka (Pol) UAE Team Emirates
24Vegard Stake Laengen (Nor) UAE Team Emirates
25Mikkel Bjerg (Den) UAE Team Emirates
26Tadej Pogacar (Slo) UAE Team Emirates
27Brandon McNulty (USA) UAE Team Emirates
28Davide Formolo (Ita) UAE Team Emirates
29Jorge Arcas (Spa) Movistar Team
30Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar Team
31Ivan Garcia Cortina (Spa) Movistar Team
32Lorenzo Rota (Ita) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux
33Sonny Colbrelli (Ita) Bahrain Victorious
34Enric Mas Nicolau (Spa) Movistar Team
35Fred Wright (GBr) Bahrain Victorious
36Pello Bilbao Lopez De Armentia (Spa) Bahrain Victorious
37Imanol Erviti (Spa) Movistar Team
38Dmitriy Gruzdev (Kaz) Astana-Premier Tech
39Carlos Verona Quintanilla (Spa) Movistar Team
40Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Ineos Grenadiers
41Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana-Premier Tech
42Quentin Pacher (Fra) B&B Hotels p/b KTM
43Wout Van Aert (Bel) Jumbo-Visma
44Maxime Chevalier (Fra) B&B Hotels p/b KTM
45Alexey Lutsenko (Kaz) Astana-Premier Tech
46Jonas Vingegaard (Den) Jumbo-Visma
47Sepp Kuss (USA) Jumbo-Visma
48Hugo Houle (Can) Astana-Premier Tech
49Philippe Gilbert (Bel) Lotto Soudal
50Jonathan Castroviejo Nicolas (Spa) Ineos Grenadiers
51Richard Carapaz (Ecu) Ineos Grenadiers
52Geraint Thomas (GBr) Ineos Grenadiers
53Aurélien Paret Peintre (Fra) AG2R Citroën Team
54Thomas De Gendt (Bel) Lotto Soudal
55Michael Schär (Swi) AG2R Citroën Team
56Dylan van Baarle (Ned) Ineos Grenadiers
57David Gaudu (Fra) Groupama-FDJ
58Dylan Teuns (Bel) Bahrain Victorious
59Benoit Cosnefroy (Fra) AG2R Citroën Team
60Cristian Rodriguez Martin (Spa) TotalEnergies
61Tao Geoghegan Hart (GBr) Ineos Grenadiers
62Ben O'Connor (Aus) AG2R Citroën Team
63Dorian Godon (Fra) AG2R Citroën Team
64Valentin Madouas (Fra) Groupama-FDJ
65Cyril Barthe (Fra) B&B Hotels p/b KTM
66Neilson Powless (USA) EF Education-Nippo
67Bruno Armirail (Fra) Groupama-FDJ
68Rick Zabel (Ger) Israel Start-up Nation
69Emanuel Buchmann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe
70Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) AG2R Citroën Team
71Tim Declercq (Bel) Deceuninck-QuickStep
72Reto Hollenstein (Swi) Israel Start-up Nation
73Marco Haller (Aut) Bahrain Victorious
74Kristian Sbaragli (Ita) Alpecin-Fenix
75Jelle Wallays (Bel) Cofidis
76Magnus Cort (Den) EF Education-Nippo
77Jasper Philipsen (Bel) Alpecin-Fenix
78Guillaume Martin (Fra) Cofidis
79Louis Meintjes (RSA) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux
80Harry Sweeny (Aus) Lotto Soudal
81Richie Porte (Aus) Ineos Grenadiers
82Daniel Oss (Ita) Bora-Hansgrohe
83Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Bora-Hansgrohe
84Jan Bakelants (Bel) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux
85Ruben Guerreiro (Por) EF Education-Nippo
86Esteban Chaves Rubio (Col) Team BikeExchange
87Ruben Fernandez (Spa) Cofidis
88Patrick Konrad (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe
89Stefan Bissegger (Swi) EF Education-Nippo
90Pierre-Luc Périchon (Fra) Cofidis
91Cyril Gautier (Fra) B&B Hotels p/b KTM
92Wout Poels (Ned) Bahrain Victorious
93Pierre Rolland (Fra) B&B Hotels p/b KTM
94Rigoberto Uran (Col) EF Education-Nippo
95Julien Simon (Fra) TotalEnergies
96Jesus Herrada (Spa) Cofidis
97Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek-Segafredo
98Simon Geschke (Ger) Cofidis
99Omar Fraile Matarranz (Spa) Astana-Premier Tech
100Victor de la Parte (Spa) TotalEnergies
101Petr Vakoc (Cze) Alpecin-Fenix
102Pierre Latour (Fra) TotalEnergies
103Fabien Doubey (Fra) TotalEnergies
104Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Deceuninck-QuickStep
105Mattia Cattaneo (Ita) Deceuninck-QuickStep
106Xandro Meurisse (Bel) Alpecin-Fenix
107Oliver Naesen (Bel) AG2R Citroën Team
108Michael Matthews (Aus) Team BikeExchange
109Dries Devenyns (Bel) Deceuninck-QuickStep
110Luka Mezgec (Slo) Team BikeExchange
111Mark Cavendish (GBr) Deceuninck-QuickStep
112Boy van Poppel (Ned) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux
113Danny van Poppel (Ned) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux
114Alex Aranburu Deba (Spa) Astana-Premier Tech
115Michael Mørkøv (Den) Deceuninck-QuickStep
116Stefan Küng (Swi) Groupama-FDJ
117Christopher Juul-Jensen (Den) Team BikeExchange
118André Greipel (Ger) Israel Start-up Nation
119Omer Goldstein (Isr) Israel Start-up Nation
120Cees Bol (Ned) Team DSM
121Toms Skujins (Lat) Trek-Segafredo
122Mads Pedersen (Den) Trek-Segafredo
123Joris Nieuwenhuis (Ned) Team DSM
124Carlos Barbero (Spa) Qhubeka-NextHash
125Nairo Quintana (Col) Team Arkea-Samsic
126Sergio Higuita Garcia (Col) EF Education-Nippo
127Connor Swift (GBr) Team Arkea-Samsic
128Chris Froome (GBr) Israel Start-up Nation
129Guillaume Boivin (Can) Israel Start-up Nation
130Luke Durbridge (Aus) Team BikeExchange
131Daniel Martin (Irl) Israel Start-up Nation
132Mark Donovan (GBr) Team DSM
133Sean Bennett (USA) Qhubeka-NextHash
134Sergio Henao Montoya (Col) Qhubeka-NextHash
135Nils Eekhoff (Ned) Team DSM
136Anthony Perez (Fra) Cofidis
137Kenny Elissonde (Fra) Trek-Segafredo
138Ide Schelling (Ned) Bora-Hansgrohe
139Lukas Pöstlberger (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe
140Jeremy Cabot (Fra) TotalEnergies
141Jonas Rickaert (Bel) Alpecin-Fenix
142Kasper Asgreen (Den) Deceuninck-QuickStep
DNSMichael Woods (Can) Israel Start-up Nation
DNSMiguel Angel Lopez Moreno (Col) Movistar Team
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Sprint 1 - Saint-Sever km. 54.1
Pos.Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Georg Zimmermann (Ger) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux 20
2Franck Bonnamour (Fra) B&B Hotels p/b KTM 17
3Matej Mohoric (Slo) Bahrain Victorious 15
4Jonas Rutsch (Ger) EF Education-Nippo 13
5Simon Clarke (Aus) Qhubeka-NextHash 11
6Julien Bernard (Fra) Trek-Segafredo 10
7Michael Matthews (Aus) Team BikeExchange 9
8Sonny Colbrelli (Ita) Bahrain Victorious 8
9Luka Mezgec (Slo) Team BikeExchange 7
10Mark Cavendish (GBr) Deceuninck-QuickStep 6
11Mattia Cattaneo (Ita) Deceuninck-QuickStep 5
12Silvan Dillier (Swi) Alpecin-Fenix 4
13Davide Ballerini (Ita) Deceuninck-QuickStep 3
14Jasper Philipsen (Bel) Alpecin-Fenix 2
15Michael Mørkøv (Den) Deceuninck-QuickStep 1
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Sprint 2 - Libourne km. 207
Pos.Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Matej Mohoric (Slo) Bahrain Victorious 50
2Christophe Laporte (Fra) Cofidis 30
3Casper Pedersen (Den) Team DSM 20
4Mike Teunissen (Ned) Jumbo-Visma 18
5Nils Politt (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe 16
6Edward Theuns (Bel) Trek-Segafredo 14
7Michael Valgren (Den) EF Education-Nippo 12
8Georg Zimmermann (Ger) Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux 10
9Anthony Turgis (Fra) TotalEnergies 8
10Jasper Stuyven (Bel) Trek-Segafredo 7
11Julien Bernard (Fra) Trek-Segafredo 6
12Maximilian Walscheid (Ger) Qhubeka-NextHash 5
13Davide Ballerini (Ita) Deceuninck-QuickStep 4
14Silvan Dillier (Swi) Alpecin-Fenix 3
15Jonas Rutsch (Ger) EF Education-Nippo 2
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Mountain 1 - Cã´Te De Bareille km. 12.1<