Featured image courtesy of AP
Stage 19 of the 2020 Tour de France was always going to be straightforward for the GC contenders. Only crashes could have hampered their chances but no such worries for Primož Roglič in yellow, Tadej Pogačar in second and Miguel Ángel López in third overall. Everyone stayed upright, all safe and through to the penultimate stage tomorrow.
Today was all about the stage win, the breakaway and the green jersey. While the team classification determines the number one team (Movistar on track to do so again), it is fair to say that Team Sunweb have been fantastic at this year’s race – tactically spot on, prepared to take risks and now have three stage wins to celebrate.
Søren Kragh Andersen takes his second stage win to go with his victory in Lyon. The Dane attacked 16 km out from a break that included Peter Sagan, Sam Bennett in green, Greg Van Avermaet and Luke Rowe. Kragh Andersen never looked back even screaming at a TV motorbike for a secure time gap on the road – never mind Søren you were well clear!
Huge credit to Team Sunweb who have emerged from Michael Matthews out of form moving to Mitchelton-Scott next year and Tom Dumoulin sadly crashing out of the Giro – 2019 wasn’t a great year but now put behind them. Marc Hirschi has made an enormous breakthrough, Søren Kragh Andersen taking two stages and getting into the breakaway on numerous occasions. There’s still one more opportunity to go in Paris with sprinter Cees Bol, you just never know what Team Sunweb could do at this Tour.
The green jersey is now all but sealed on the shoulders of Sam Bennett. His main rivals Peter Sagan and Matteo Trentin unsurprisingly got in the break to try and put pressure on Quick-Step but they’ve run out of road to stop Bennett now. The Irishman got into the break himself, scored more points at the intermediate sprint and in Champagnole finished eighth to more points. A total of 319 now, 55 points ahead of Sagan and 69 ahead of Trentin. All Sam Bennett has to do now is finish the time trial up La Planche des Belles Filles, make Paris and wouldn’t it be something if he could win on the Champs-Élysées to seal the deal.
Peter Sagan’s dominance in the maillot vert is over. Something fresh and new has arrived in the form of a serious competitor to challenge your throne. Just like Ineos having to change their thought process going into next year’s Tour, Peter Sagan will have a new challenge to try in 2021.
Lots of riders in the break and most of them from team who have nothing to show at this Tour unless they try for the two remaining stages. Luka Mezgec, Jasper Stuyven, Greg Van Avermaet and Edvald Boasson Hagen all tried but Mitchelton-Scott, Trek-Segafredo, CCC and NTT plus many more won’t be taking anything from this Tour unless we’re proved wrong.
Two unfortunate incidents today with Pavel Sivakov suffering from a tumble and Bora’s Lukas Pöstlberger abandoning due to a bee sting in the mouth! Such an unlucky Tour de France debut for Sivakov after he crashed on the opening stage in Nice and let’s not forget he fell on the final stage at the Dauphiné – lots of sympathy for him.
The penultimate stage tomorrow as the final weekend sees the 107th Tour draw to a close. A time trial up La Planche des Belles Filles to bring the curtain down on the general classification. Richard Carapaz will be keen to keep his polka-dot jersey, the stage win is up for grabs too and who knows Primož Roglič could take it to end up with the ultimate triumph!
The final word must go to Søren Kragh Andersen. His stage win summed up what has been a pulsating and exciting Tour despite it being in September! We love the Tour; we love cycling and we cannot wait to celebrate the end of the race this weekend.