Friday July 19th, 2013

Stage 19Bourg-d'Oisans / Le Grand-Bornand

Start 11h00 GMT 2+

Costa: up, down... and onward to victory (again)!

Stage summary19.07.2013Stage 19- Bourg-d??Oisans / Le Grand-Bornand

For the second time in four days, Rui Costa has won a stage of the Tour de France by attacking the final climb, opening a good gap on his rivals and holding them all off with a speedy descent. The Portuguese rider won in Gap by flying up and over the col de Manse and on the road to Le Grand Bornand, he did the same. The launch pad that he used this time was the col de la Croix Fry and he was never challenged even though the riders in second and third were both from the RadioShack-Leopard team. Andreas Kloden finished second after a tussle with the yellow jersey in the 2004 edition and he was runner-up again in Le Grand Bornand. On a day when the presence of five cols could upset the overall rankings significantly, there was no change to the top five but Michael Rogers and Laurens Ten Dam dropped out of the top 10, replaced by Daniel Navarro and Alejandro Valverde. This was a day when Sky needed to mark their rivals, and a big group raced ahead early to open up a gap of over 12 minutes on the group that contained the yellow jersey. It became a race in two parts, one for the stage win - once again won by Costa - and the other for GC positioning. In Gap after the second rest day there was still a mood of optimism in the Saxo-Tinkoff team as they challenged Froome for the yellow jersey and although there was a hint of the same enthusiasm from Contador and his cohorts, there wasn't the same sort of aggressive descending that we saw at the end of stage 16. Froome followed the other GC riders to the finish, was 25th in the stage... and now he has one more day to cope with before the parade to Paris...

The progress report
The 204.5km 19th stage from Bourg d'Oisans to Le Grand Bornand began at 1.03pm with 175 riders at the sign on. On the menu were five climbs: the ‘hors category' col du Glandon (at 33.5km), ‘hors category' col de la Madeleine (83.5km), the cat-2 col de Tamie (143km), the cat-1 col de l'Epine (165km) and the cat-1 col de la Croix Fry (191.5km). The intermediate sprint was in Albertville at the 129.5km mark. The sun was shining at the start but there were clouds moving in although the conditions were dry for much of the stage.

A series of attacks and counter-attacks
As soon as the white flag was waved to signal the start the attacks began. Izaguirre (EUS) and Bak (LTB) were the first to gain any advantage on the peloton and then, at the base of the Glandon a group of 40 caught the leading pair. De Marchi (CAN), Bak (LTB), De Clercq (LTB), Burghardt (BMC), Moinard (BMC), Morabito (BMC), Bakelants (RTL), Didier (RTL), Kloden (RTL), Cousin (EUC), Gavazzi (AST), Geniez (FDJ), Bardet (ALM), Kadri (ALM), Hernandez (TST), Paulinho (TST), Nieve (EUS), Sicard (EUS), Costa (MOV), Plaza (MOV), Rojas (MOV), Coppel (COF), Navarro (COF), Favilli (LAM), Serpa (LAM), Martin (OPQ), Gesink (BEL), Nordhaug (BEL), Meyer (OGE) and Hoogerland were the men in the second group. At 15km Hesjedal caught Izaguirre and Bak went back into the counter-attacking move.

It started raining with 5km to go on the first climb but it was only a brief shower and it was dry at the top when Hesjedal led Izaguirre. This pair was 3'10” ahead of Riblon who led the counter-attack of 39 men to the top of the Glandon 3'10” behind the leaders. The peloton was 7'50” behind at the top. Bauer (GRS) crashed early on the downhill of the Glandon and had to abandon the Tour. On the descent five groups formed: the two stage leaders (Izaguirre and Hesjedal), then Rolland, Cunego, Flecha, Riblon and Moser (who were 1'20” behind at the base of the col de la Madeleine); the 38-man counter-attack (at 1'55”), a trio of Omega Pharma riders – Cavendish, Pineau and Kwiatkowski (at 7'20”) then the peloton with the yellow jersey's team at the front (at 8'40”).

Col de la Madeleine
Hesjedal dropped Izaguirre early on the second climb and Rolland was on the attack from the large counter-attack, catching and dropping Izaguirre with 11km to climb when the Canadian had a lead of 50”. With 4.5km to climb, Rolland caught Hesjedal and they led a group of 18 by 2'40”. At the top, Rolland raced ahead for the 25 points and the chase group was led to the top by Nieve 4'00” behind the Frenchman. The peloton was 12'00” behind at the top of the Madeleine. Vichot (FDJ) crashed on the descent but remounted his bike and rejoined the peloton. Sieberg (LTB) abandoned after a crash.

28 in chase group: Rolland leaves Hesjedal behind
De Marchi, De Clercq, Burghardt, Moinard, Bakelants, Didier, Kloden, Geniez (FDJ), Bardet, Hernandez, Izaguirre, Nieve, Perez, Sicard, Costa, Plaza, Rojas, Coppel, Navarro, Cunego, Serpa, Gesink, Nordhaug, Dumoulin, Geschke, Flecha, Hoogerland, and Feillu were the riders who worked together between the Madeleine and Tarnie climbs. They were 2'00” behind at the start of the third climb. With 69km to go, Rolland dropped Hesjedal. The Canadian was caught and passed by the chase group with 65km to go. At the base of the fourth climb, Rolland led a group of 21 by 1'15”. The peloton was led by five Saxo-Tinkoff riders 10'00” behind Rolland. Another 10 points were collected by Rolland at the top. He was 2'00” ahead of the first counter-attack and 9'05” ahead of the peloton. Costa caught Rolland with 19.5km to go, but then rain was pouring down on the race and the Portuguese rider raced straight past the Frenchman. Nieve, Bakelants, Kloden, Navarro and De Clercq caught Rolland 18km from the finish. The final climb was particularly wet and Costa collected the 10pts for first, Kloden was second at 55”, Bakelants third at 1'30”...

Costa adds another victory to his collection
Rui Costa became the fourth person in the 100th Tour to collect more than one stage win. He paced himself perfectly down to Le Grand Bornand and was one of two riders to finish the stage in less than six hours. His average speed for the 204.5km stage was 34.2km/h. Andreas Kloden would be the runner-up in this town for the second time in his Tour career following a second place to * in 2004. It's the second time in four days that Costa has won a stage by attacking on the final climb.
Although there seemed to be a plan for an attack by Saxo-Tinkoff, which had been the dominant team in the peloton since the col de la Madeleine, nothing was done to unseat Froome from his position as race leader. Valverde and Quintana were part of an attack on the col de la Croix Fry but they couldn't steal anything back from the yellow jersey who would follow them, Contador et al all the way to the finish of the stage. Froome keeps his lead in the climbing classification and, with his 25th in stage 19, is still 5'11” ahead of Contador. He will wear the yellow jersey for the 20th stage.

Stage 19 Bourg-d'Oisans / Le Grand-Bornand

All about the stage key moments

Jersey wearers after the stage 14

Classifications after the stage 14

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