Christophe Laporte avoided the hosting country to be left with no stage win like in the 1926 and 1999 Tour de France as he powered to victory almost 2km before the finishing line of stage 19 in Cahors. He surprised pure sprinters Jasper Philipsen and Alberto Dainese who came second and third. He got the green light from Wout van Aert to go and get the fifth stage victory in this Tour de France, his personal first one at the age of 29 after he transferred from Cofidis to Jumbo-Visma, the Dutch team that keeps dominating the overall classification with Jonas Vingegaard two days before reaching Paris.
MOHORIC, VAN DER HOORN, HONORÉ AND SIMMONS IN THE LEAD
139 riders took the start of stage 19 in Castelnau-Magnoac, the village of rugby player Antoine Dupont, at 13.09. Mikkel Honoré (Quick Step), Quinn Simmons (Trek-Segafredo) and Taco van der Hoorn (Intermarché-Wanty Gobert) rode away at km 4, quickly joined by Matej Mohoric (Bahrain Victorious) and Nils Politt (Bora-Hansgrohe). They got a maximum advantage of 1’30’’ as sprinters’ teams like Lotto-Soudal, Alpecin-Deceuninck, BikeExchange-Jayco and DSM kept them on a leash, riding fast with a three-quarter tailwind. Simmons won the intermediate sprint at Auch (km 38.4) where a tribute was paid to the late Nicolas Portal who was the head sport director of Team Sky. The breakaway group was almost reeled in at Fleurance, km 53. Politt sat up but Honoré relaunched the move and Simmons, Mohoric and Van der Hoorn went with him. Cyril Barthe (B&B Hotels-KTM) escaped from the peloton but failed to bridge the gap by a mere five seconds. The Frenchman got brought back and the advantage of the quartet went up again: 1’ at km 80.
POGACAR ON THE ATTACK!
Philippe Gilbert led the bunch for most of the race for Lotto-Soudal, with other sprinters’ teams like BikeExchange-Hayco, Alpecin-Deceuninck and DSM also involved in the chase. Simmons attacked up the hill to the medieval town of Lauzerte. Mohoric went with him to sprint for the cat. 4 KOM price in a spectacular manner. Simmons continued solo with 48km remaining. He was brought back 13km further. Alexis Gougeard (B&B Hotels-KTM) counter-attacked and the next rider who tried to escape from the peloton after having had a bike change due to a mechanical was no less than… Tadej Pogacar! Wout van Aert reacted quickly. Gougeard was joined in the lead by Fred Wright (Bahrain Victorious) and Jasper Stuyven (Trek-Segafredo) with 32km to go.
VAN AERT PAVES THE WAY FOR LAPORTE
The trio rode into the last 20km with 30’’ lead over the peloton led mostly by TotalEnergies. Lotto-Soudal took over with Brent Van Moer. Stage favourites Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) and Michael Matthews (BikeExchange-Jayco) pulled the peloton as they were racing for Christophe Laporte and Dylan Groenewegen respectively. Wright sped up but 1.5km before the end, Laporte was the first rider to catch the trio and he put the hammer down. He accelerated a second time 500 meters before the end. He continued his effort till the finishing line at the end of a slightly uphill road to take the first French stage victory of the 109th Tour de France while Pogacar sprinted to fifth place.