Colombian superstar Nairo Quintana was able to slightly treat his disappointment at this 2019 Tour de France. At Stage 19 which passed three high peaks Thursday (July 25), the Movistar rider managed to escape and won a solo victory .
Ahead of the Tour de France, Quintana was actually one of the top seed champions overall . However, its performance was not consistent enough to compete near the peak of general classification (GC). As a result, in this closing week, he must change strategy. Bury dreams of reaching for the yellow jersey and pursuing stage wins.
Stage 18, which lasts 208 km from Embrun to Valloire, is his chance. This stage passes three high mountains. Namely Col de Vars (2,109 meters), Col d’Izoard (2,360 meters), and finally Col du Galibier (2,642 meters).
The finish is not at the top of Galibier, but after going down it for about 20 km. But, that was enough for Quintana to act. He joined a large group breakaway from the beginning, then fled alone in Galibier. After that, just stay safe in the derivative and win the stage victory.
Romain Bardet (AG2R La Mondiale) finished second, about 1.5 minutes behind. Alexey Lutsenko (Astana) followed. With this result, Quintana returned to the top ten GC, while Bardet took over the polkadot jersey as the leader of mountain classification .
Meanwhile, the flagship GC group again competed fiercely in Galibier. Who will be the champion will indeed be determined on three stages of the mountain, Stage 18 to 20.
In this excellent group, Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-QuickStep) continued to struggle to maintain the yellow jersey. But, its competitors keep trying to knock it out.
In the end, at Galibier, Egan Bernal (Team Ineos) was the most aggressive. He played tactics, fled while letting his teammate Geraint Thomas with another superior group.
Approximately 1 km before the peak of Galibier, Thomas then joined the attack . This has a big impact. When a competitor tries to catch up, the victim is Alaphilippe. The yellow jersey is dislodged and scattered at the top of Galibier!
Remarkably, Alaphilippe took all the risks in the long run. He was able to catch up to the leading main groups, including Thomas. As a result, he actually secured time compared to most competitors, only losing 32 seconds from Bernal.
After this stage, Alaphilippe still topped the GC. But the difference in time is getting tougher. Bernal is now in second place, 1 minute and 30 seconds behind. And the big five are now only 1 minute and 50 seconds adrift!
The superior certainly hopes to sleep well. Because this Friday (July 26), they will continue the fight. And Stage 19 will probably step on the gas from the start. Its length is only 126.5 km, and is practically uphill all day to the end.
Yellow jersey competition is getting thrilling! (riding bicycle)
Stage 18 Tour de France results (Top Ten)
1. Nairo Quintana (Colombia) Movistar Team 5:34:15
2. Romain Bardet (France) AG2R La Mondiale 0:01:35
3. Alexey Lutsenko (Kazakhstan) Astana Pro Team 0:02:28
4. Lennard Kämna (Germany) Team Sunweb 0:02:58
5. Damiano Caruso (Italy) Bahrain-Merida 0:03:00
6. Tiesj Benoot (Belgium) Soudal Lotto 0:04:46
7. Michael Woods (Canada) EF Education First
8. Egan Bernal (Colombia) Team Ineos
9. Serge Pauwels (Belgium) CCC Team
10. Steven Kruijswijk (Netherlands) Team Jumbo-Visma 0:05:18
General Classification after 18 of 21 stages
1. Julian Alaphilippe (France) Deceuninck-QuickStep 75:18:49
2. Egan Bernal (Colombia) Team Ineos 0:01:30
3. Geraint Thomas (United Kingdom) Team Ineos 0:01:35
4. Steven Kruijswijk (Netherlands) Team Jumbo-Visma 0:01:47
5. Thibaut Pinot (France) Groupama-FDJ 0:01:50
6. Emanuel Buchmann (Germany) Bora-Hansgrohe 0:02:14
7. Nairo Quintana (Colombia) Movistar Team 0:03:54
8. Mikel Landa (Spain) Movistar Team 0:04:54
9. Rigoberto Uran (Colombia) EF Education First 0:05:33
10. Alejandro Valverde (Spain) Movistar Team 0:05:58