Vincenzo Nibali, one more shark attack

July 27 th 2019 - 16:47

Vincenzo Nibali, the 2014 overall winner, made it up for a disappointing Tour de France as he claimed a prestigious solo victory at Val Thorens at the end of a 59-km stage. This is his sixth stage win after the four he got five years and at La Toussuire in 2015. Egan Bernal rode home safely to retain the yellow jersey on the eve of the grand finale in Paris.

29 riders in the lead, including Nibali

155 riders took the start of stage 20 in Albertville. Dylan Teuns (Bahrain-Merida), Magnus Cort (Astana), Rui Costa (UAE Team Emirates), Alberto Bettiol (EF Education First), Kevin Van Melsen (Wanty-Groupe Gobert) and Lilian Calmejane (Total Direct Energie) rode away at km 2. 23 riders chased them down: Elia Viviani (Deceuninck-Quick Step), Tony Gallopin (AG2R-La Mondiale), Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida), Sébastien Reichenbach (Groupama-FDJ), Nelson Oliveira (Movistar), Omar Fraile and Gorka Izagirre (Astana), Michael Woods (EF Education First), Daryl Impey (Mitchelton-Scott), Joey Rosskopf (CCC), Vegard Stake Laengen (UAE Team Emirates), Jasper Stuyven (Trek-Segafredo), Nicolas Roche (Sunweb), Pierre-Luc Périchon (Cofidis), Jens Keukeleire (Lotto-Soudal), Niccolo Bonifazio and Anthony Turgis (Total Direct Energie), Ilnur Zakarin and Nils Politt (Katusha-Alpecin), Frederik Backaert (Wanty-Groupe Gobert), Stephen Cummings and Ben King (Dimension Data) and Maxime Bouet (Arkéa-Samsic). It made it a front group of 29 riders at km 19 with an advantage of two minutes over the peloton led by Team Ineos.

Julian Alaphilippe dropped with 13km remaining

Périchon and Turgis attacked right at the bottom of the 33.4km long climb to Val Thorens. 30km before the end, Nibali and Zakarin formed a leading trio along with Périchon. It became a quartet including Nibali, Zakarin, Gallopin and Woods. Périchon courageously bridged the gap. Jumbo-Visma took over from Ineos to lead the peloton strongly up the hill. Fraile caught up with the five leaders 17km before the end. With 15km to go, the time difference between the six escapees and the yellow jersey group was 1’15’’. With 13km remaining, Julian Alaphilippe got dropped, soon followed by Romain Bardet while Nibali rode away solo at the front. The 2014 Tour de France winner had 1’ lead over the main group with 10km to go and 35’’ with 5km to go.

Nibali’s first win since the 2018 Milan-Sanremo

Nibali forged on and struggled towards the end of the climb but resisted to the return of Mikel Landa who had attacked from the yellow jersey group led in the final part of the climb by Gregor Mühlberger (Bora-Hansgrohe). It’s Nibali’s first victory since Milan-Sanremo last year. It’s also Bahrain-Merida’s second stage win in this Tour de France after Dylan Teuns on stage 6 to La Planche des Belles Filles. Bardet retained the polka dot jersey as much as Bernal retained the yellow jersey. Alaphilippe dropped down to fifth overall while Kruijswijk moved onto the top 3 along with Team Ineos’ duo Bernal-Thomas.

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