July 19, Stage 19: Bourg d'Oisans - Le Grand Bornand 204.5km
Rain pelts peloton in the Alps
Rui Costa (Movistar) won his second mountain stage at the Tour de
France, soloing through the rain to win the 19th stage in Le
Grand-Bornand. He attacked on his own with 66 kilometers to go, and
powered his way though at times heavy rain to the victory. Second place
went to veteran Andreas Klöden (RadioShack-Leopard), 48 seconds later,
with his teammate Jan Bakelants third at 1:43.
Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Sharp) led the race for some 130 kilometers
before Pierre Rolland (Europcar) took over, with his place eventually
taken by Costa. The course was custom-made for the climbers, starting
with two HC climbs and ending with three more climbs, the last one only
13 kilometers away from the finish line.
It was a quiet day on the GC front, with the top riders spending much
of their day together. At the end, the top seven all remained the same.
Mick Rogers (Sky) dropped out of the top ten, as did Laurens ten Dam
(Belkin). Daniele Navarro (Cofidis) moved up from 13th to eighth, and
Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) up to ninth, with Michal Kwiatkowski
(Omega Pharma-Quickstep) dropping from ninth to tenth.
Froome admitted he was relieved the stage ended without any major attacks.
“There’s a definite sigh of relief after this stage,” he said. “It’s
one of stages that we were most worried about on paper, it was the stage
with the most climbing in it and with the way the weather was, there
was potential for things to get out of control. I have to be thankful to
my teammates for getting me this far and doing an incredible job.”
“I was ready for anything after how this Tour de France has gone. The
guys did take it up and attack on the final climb and went pretty quick
down other side in the rain. I’m happy today is out of the way. “
Froome refused to think that overall victory was assured with only one mountain stage left to race before heading to Paris.
“I don’t want to get complacent at this stage. Tomorrow is only 125km
long but it’s one more day to get out the way before relaxing and
finally heading to Paris,” he said.
How it happened
It was another day full of climbing, and it got off to a brutal start
as much of the peloton tried to get into the day's breakaway. It took a
while to sort things out, but eventually Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Sharp)
and Jon Izagirre (Euskaltel-Euskadi) took the lead. They were followed
by a huge group of about 40.
No one in the lead gave cause for alarm for the GC, so the Team
Sky-led peloton was happy to let them go. The gap quickly grew to over
seven minutes, even hitting over 12 minutes along the way.
The chase group changed along the way, as riders attacked on the first climb, the hors categorie
Col du Glandon. The two leaders went over the top with three minutes
over their nearest chasers and nearly eight minutes over the peloton.
There were a number of crashes and abandons on the day.
Garmin-Sharp's Jack Bauer went face-first into a barbed-wire fence and
had to leave the race, and later Lotto Belisol's Marcel Sieberg crashed
on a descent and left with a suspected fractured collarbone.
The second hors categorie climb of the day followed almost
immediately, the Col de Madeleine, and brought one of the surprises of
the day, as sprinter and notorious non-climber Mark Cavendish jumped
from the peloton, along with Omega Pharma-QuickStep teammates Michal
Kwiatkowski and Jerome Pineau.
Along the way up, Izagirre was unable to stay with Hesjedal and
dropped back. The Canadian continued on alone, with Europcar's Pierre
Rolland moving up from the chase group in pursuit. Having spent 11 days
in the King of the Mountains jersey and coming into the stage 46 points
down – there was a chance to make up ground on Froome on a day full of
The Frenchman caught Hesjedal before the summit then took off to
secure the points. He then waited for the Garmin rider and thanked him
for allowing him to do so.
They stayed together on the long descent and through the flat middle
section, but on the third climb, the category 2 Col de Tamie, Rolland
attacked again. Hesjedal had been in the lead for some 130 kilometres,
but fell back quickly, looking exhausted as he was eventually passed out
the back of the peloton.
On the final climb of the day, the Col de la Croix Fry (category 1),
the sky started getting threateningly dark. Daniele Navarro (Cofidis)
tried to attack on the climb, but he was soon joined by others. Only
about a minute ahead of him, Rolland was starting to struggle.
Heavy rain began to fall, first on the peloton and then drenching
everyone. It didn't seem to bother Rui Costa, who attacked out of the
chase group and quickly caught Rolland with 19 kilometres to go and the
duo drove through the wet together only a short distance. Costa had the
fresher legs and easily left Rolland behind him.
A group of four soon gave chase, Andreas Klöden and Jan Bakelants
(RadioShack-Leopard), Mikel Nieve (Euskaltel) and Bart De Clerq (Lotto
Belisol). Nieve dropped off, his place taken by Daniele Navarro
The peloton was more than nine minutes back and would have obviously
have no effect on the outcome of the race, but the battle for GC
remained. Froome looks fixed in first place, but Alejandro Valverde
(Movistar) was not ready to accept his 11th place ranking, and attacked,
soon to be joined by John Gadret (AG2R), but they didn't get away.
Costa took the final top mountain points and then set off on the wet
13 kilometre descent with about a minute over his nearest chaser,
Andreas Klöden. Mercifully the rain let up as the finish line
A high-powered group broke from the peloton as it neared the final
mountaintop: Valverde, Contador, Rodriguez, Quintana, Froome and Gadret.
The latter soon took off again with Valverde.
Up ahead, Costa easily cruised in for his second stage win at this
Tour, even taking the time to drop back to the team car for early
congratulations. 38-year-old Klöden came in second, with teammate
Bakelants third, about a minute later.
Gadret and Valverde were not quite able to stay away, and the
Spaniard led the way across the finish line 8:40 down, with the Froome
group right behind them.
Pierre Rolland (Euorpcar) was determined to take back the polka-dot
jersey which he held so long earlier in the race, taking the mountain
points along the way, and his chances are looking good. While he failed
to take the polka dot jersey outright today, he will wear it tomorrow
with the knowledge he is just one point behind Froome. Look for the
Frenchman off the front on Saturday on a stage that features a category 2
climb, three category 3 ascents and one category 1 mountain before the
grand finale hors categorie finish.
Article Source and for Full Results: Cycling News