-Stage 19 was a largely flat 188.3km ride north from Castelnau-Magnoac to Cahors
-The race was briefly neutralised following a protest
-A four-man breakaway opened a gap of 1:00 but then fell apart.
-Simmons pressed alone but the sprint teams chased him and another late break that included Fred Wright (Bahrain Victorious), Alexis Gougeard (B&B Hotels) and Jasper Stuyven (Trek-Segafredo).
-The three were caught in the final kilometres and Christophe Laporte emerged from the attacks and chaos to win alone with a strong late surge.
-Laporte was the first French rider to win a stage. It was the fifth win for Jumbo-Visma in this year's Tour de France.
-Jonas Vingegaard leads Tadej Pogacar by 3:26, with Geraint Thomas third at 8:00
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Bonjour and welcome to the Cyclingnews live coverage of stage 19 of the 2022 Tour de France.
Following an unforgettable day in the Pyrenees yesterday, it's the final 'proper' road stage of the Tour de France.
If you were hoping for a quiet day after all the excitement of the past couple of weeks, you're likely to be disappointed - this stage represents the final opportunity for many riders and teams to go for a prestigious stage win.
Following an emphatic win atop Hautacam in the yellow jersey, race leader Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma) protects a lead of 3:26 over Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates), with Geraint Thomas (Ineos Grenadiers) back in third, exactly 8 minutes down on the Dane.
Wout Van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) leads the points classification and will take home the green jersey in Paris provided he remains in the race until then.
The mountains classification is a little more complicated - following yesterday's heartbreak for Simon Geschke (Cofidis), the German rider will still wear the [polka dots in lieu of Jonas Vingegaard, who now leads the classification.
Tadej Pogačar continues in the white jersey, and once again, provided he stays upright and in the race, he has won the youth classification.
So to today's stage - 188.3km from Castelnau-Magnoac to Cahors. The race heads slightly downhill to start with, and the breakaway formation phase is likely to be a fierce battle between the teams without sprinters who want to contest the stage win.
The sprinters' teams will try to control as they look for a bunch sprint finish. It should be a fascinating contest.
With predicted tail crosswinds, there is the possibility of echelons, so the GC teams will also need to be careful.
The riders are on their way to kilometre zero on stage 19 of the Tour de France.
Dylan Groenewegen (Team BikeExchange-Jayco), pictured prior to today's stage start, will be one of the riders hoping that today's stage ends in a bunch sprint. (Image credit: Getty images).
Christian Prudhomme waves his flag and hostilities commence on this final road stage proper of the 2022 Tour de France.
Ineos Grenadiers are already very visible at the front of the bunch controlling the pace.
Nils Politt (Bora-Hansgrohe) and Peter Sagan (TotalEnergies) are both at the front of the peloton too. Everything is holding steady for now but there's a sense of high tension among the bunch.
Quinn Simmons (Trek-Segafredo) is one of the first riders to try and make his escape. He's joined by Taco Van der Hoorn (Intermarche-Wanty-Gobert) and Mikkel Honore (QuickStep-AlphaVinyl).
Matej Mohoric (Bahrain-Victorious) and Nils Politt join the group - the five have a small gap over the peloton.
One rider does not start this morning - Enric Mas (Movistar) has a positive covid-19 test and has withdrawn from the race.
The front group of five are already working well together and have opened up a 13 second gap over the peloton.
Stalemate in the peloton as it looks as though the sprint teams are happy with the composition of the breakaway.
180km to go
Mads Pedersen (Trek-Segafredo) may have hoped to be a part of today's action but reportedly struggled with stomach issues overnight.
So, the composition of the break looks to be confirmed, with a gap of 43 seconds:
Nils Politt (Bora-Hansgrohe)
Quinn Simmons (Trek-Segafredo)
Taco Van der Hoorn (Intermarche-Wanty-Gobert)
Matej Mohoric (Bahrain-Victorious)
Mikkel Honoré (QuickStep-AlphaVinyl)
The first notable milestone of the day is an intermediate sprint in the town of Auch - Wout Van Aert can add more points to his total as he looks to break Peter Sagan's record points total in the green jersey.
The breakaway group of five has pedigree - both Mohoric and Politt are previous stage winners at the Tour de France - both winning a stage last year - and Van der Hoorn has won a stage of the Giro d'Italia.
Quinn Simmons has been very active in the race so far, featuring in a number of breakaways.
170km to go
The gap moves out to 1:04. Alpecin-Deceuninck, Team BikeExchange-Jayco, Team DSM and Lotto Soudal are pacing in the peloton, with Jumbo-Visma also riding at the front protecting the yellow jersey.
The bunch are reluctant to allow the breakaway too much freedom - the gap continues to grow but at a very slow rate.
165km to go
Jonas Vingegaard takes to the start line in Castelnau-Magnoac earlier today. (Image credit: Getty images).
The break are still only 1.21 ahead of the chasing peloton, who seem determined to keep them on a tight leash today.
There are two category 4 climbs late on in the stage which could prove decisive, if a breakaway wants to try to avoid a bunch sprint.
160km to go
10km to go to the intermediate sprint in Auch. The town, birthplace to late Team Sky/Ineos DS Nicolas Portal, pays tribute to him today.
TotalEnergies have joined the chase at the front of the peloton. Five teams are now sharing the pacing work, restraining the gap to the break at 1.11.
The peloton is halted by another protest blocking the road.
The commissaires bring the breakaway to a halt as the peloton waits to get back underway.
The protest has been cleared from the road and the peloton is back underway, with the moto pacing to ensure the time gap to the break remains as it was prior to the stoppage.
The breakaway group remains neutralised as the peloton makes up the lost time.
The race is stopped once again as the organisers wait to restart proceedings.
The breakaway are given the go-ahead and they ride away, and will have their gap from prior to the stoppage maintained.
The peloton are released, and the gap is re-established at 1.20.
155km to go
The gap moves out to 1:30, the chasing teams maintaining their stranglehold on the break.
The intermediate sprint in Auch beckons - the five breakaway riders collect the top five placements, with Quinn Simmons taking the maximum 20 points for first over the line.
150km to go
Jasper Philipsen is the first rider from the peloton across the line at the intermediate sprint, with Wout Van Aert second.
There's no allowances being made by the peloton today. The gap sticks at 1:25, 145km still to cover on today's stage.
145km to go
As a reminder of those who are looking to take something from this stage - five teams are represented in the breakaway (Bahrain-Victorious, Intermarche-Wanty-Gobert, QuikcStep-AlphaVinyl, Bora-Hansgrohe and Trek-Segafredo).
Five teams lead the chase in the peloton on behalf of their sprinters: Lotto Soudal, Alpecin-Deceuninck, Team DSM, Team BikeExchange-Jayco and TotalEnergies).
Jumbo-Visma head up the rest of the bunch, protecting the yellow jersey, Jonas Vingegaard.
The five-man breakaway have a gap of 1:15 - it's coming down rather than stretching out, so they have their work cut out for them.
140km to go
The five-man breakaway working together on stage 19 of the Tour de France. (Image credit: Getty images).
The gap has fallen below a minute - this breakaway appear to be on a hiding to nothing as the sprinters' teams turn the screw.
135km to go
This stage has so far not produced the same level of drama as the previous few. Understandable, given the inevitable fatigue that the peloton must be experiencing. However with plenty of racing still to unfold, there remains the potential for fireworks, with two short climbs late on leading into the finish in Cahors.
130km to go
With just under 130km still to race, the gap has come down to 30 seconds and on a long, straight road, the peloton have the breakaway in their sights already.
It looks as if the break will be reabsorbed shortly - will we see a new battle ensue?
The doomed breakaway group have seen their lead diminished to just 12 seconds - their time is almost up.
As the peloton reach the break, the five riders put in an injection of pace to try and pull the gap out again.
Mikkel Honoré leads the charge, with Politt the only rider from the original break not bothering to push on.
So, after almost being totally reabsorbed into the peloton, four of the five members of the original breakaway have now opened up a gap once again - it's back up to 22 seconds.
We have another breakaway attempt - a rider from B&B Hotels makes a break for it. The peloton seems happy to let him go.
The rider trying to bridge is Cyril Barthe (B&B Hotels).
Meanwhile, teams pick up musettes from soigneurs and Jonas Rutsch (EF Education-EasyPost) deals with a mechanical issue.
The breakaway group are back up to 32 seconds away from the break, with Cyril Barthe fighting to bridge across - he has just 7 seconds on the bunch.
The breakaway's positioning suggests the crosswinds may be picking up. Keep an eye out for echelons among the bunch.
115km to go
Cyril Barthe's attempt to bridge across has been unsuccessful, and he is collected by the peloton.
The riders have now entered an undulating section of the course, which continues until around 88km to go, when it flattens out again for a period.
The peloton are definitely feeling the effects of the crosswinds.
The bunch stretches as they head into a short descent. The gap to the break is now up to 48 seconds.
The sprint teams drive the pace at the front of the bunch on stage 19. (Image credit: Getty images).
110km to go
The four breakaway riders take on a short uncategorised climb, and they have stretched their lead out to 1:00.
The peloton are still all together, although the undulations are putting a bit of strain on some. Mads Pedersen is near the back of the bunch and looks to be struggling with the climbs following the stomach issues he suffered overnight.
We've had 88.3km of racing, and there are 100km remaining on this final road stage of the 2022 Tour de France.
100km to go
The gap holds steady at around 1:00.