27/07/19 - 13:35
Albertville - Val Thorens
Tour de France • Stage20

Albertville - Val Thorens

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Thanks for joining me today for coverage of Stage 20 and see you tomorrow for the final leg into Paris.


The moment the race was won...

Bernal and Thomas

And here's the new GC with Ineos securing a famous one-two through Bernal and Thomas.


Confirmation of today's stage result with Nibali rolling back the years to win in Val Thorens.


Julian Alaphilippe digs deep as he crosses the line over three minutes down to conceded his place on the podium to Steven Kruijswijk. A sad sight, but what a race the Frenchman had.


And Egan Bernal and Geraint Thomas ride over the line arm in arm - the defending champion and the champion elect - in fourth and fifth. Bernal will tomorrow become the first Colombian to win the Tour de France!


Alejandro Valverde pipped Movistar teammate Mikel Landa for second.


Victory for Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain Merida) in Val Thorens.


This will be Nibali's first stage win on the Tour since the year he won yellow in 2014.


Mikel Landa makes a move for Movistar but the others seem content to let this one run. Bardet will keep the polka dot jersey...


Into the final kilometre now.


Nibali is on a downhill segment within the barriers - the win is surely his.


Muhlberger is off the back now, and Berguil is also struggling. Ineos now take things up: will they chase down Nibali for the stage win or just ride tempo to the finish?


Nibali still has 38 seconds and it looks like he will win the stage unless things kick off behind. Muhlberger is still setting tempo on the front ahead of Thomas and Poels for Ineos.


Alaphilippe is getting huge support from the fans on the side of the road but he won't be able to salvage his dreams of the podium now.


Soler is tiring. He keeps looking over his shoulders as if his attack were meant to be a softener for a teammate, but Quintana appears to have faded and both Landa and Valverde aren't showing their hand.


Alaphilippe is almost three minutes down on Nibali, the lone leader, who now has 4km to go. His gap is 50 seconds to the yellow jersey group.


Soler has ridden clear of the chasers, with Barguil, Yates and Quintana behind. They only have a small gap on the yellow jersey group, which is being led by Buchmann after De Plus hit the wall. Bernal still has Thomas and Poels, Kruijswijk is isolated, Landa and Valverde are there, as is Kamna of Sunweb, Muhlberger of Bora and Uran. Nibali, meanwhile, has 30 seconds.


Barguil attacks the yellow jersey group as well - the Frenchman latches onto Soler's wheel and they ride up to Yates. They catch Zakarin so it's only Nibali up the road now - and then Quintana puts in an attack too!


Simon Yates attacks! The Briton was denied the chance of a third win yesterday so clearly wants to complete his hat-trick - and take the polka dot jersey from Bardet - at Val Thorens.


De Plus is grimacing and moving his head from side to side as he continues to dig deep and drag up his teammate Kruijswijk.


The moment Alaphilippe's podium hopes went up in smoke.


Poor Alaphilippe has been dropped by the group being paced by his teammate Enric Mas. The Spaniard soon realises and swings off to drop back - but it's all going pear-shaped for the Frenchman. For Dan Martin, too, who has been dropped by the yellow jersey group.


With Bardet dropped, Simon Yates, Egan Bernal and Nairo Quintana could all win the polka dot jersey today... provided they either win or finish second.


Zakarin is the only rider in pursuit of Nibali now but the gap is 20 seconds.


From earlier, when Alaphilippe was still Bernal's biggest obstacle to keeping that yellow jersey...


Julian Alaphilippe has slipped off the virtual podium... Steven Kruijswijk is up to third thanks to this savage tempo from his Jumbo teammate Laurens de Plus.


Meanwhile, Nibali is alone out ahead of the break with Woods, Zakarin and Fraile in pursuit. There's still a long way to go on this climb and the Italian's gap is 1'05". This would salvage his Tour for him.


Alaphilippe not the only one to feel the pinch - many riders are off the back, including Romain Bardet, the polka dot jersey, who could well lose that consolation prize today. The two Frenchman are riding together now...


Enric Mas has dropped back to help out his struggling teammate Alaphilippe, who is grimacing something rotten. He's lit up this Tour but yesterday the cracks formed and today was the straw which broke the camel's back.


ALAPHILIPPE HAS CRACKED! The elastic finally pops for the Frenchman who drops like a stone off the back of the pack...


Marc Soler of Movistar has put in an attack from the pack - and Nibali has attacked the leaders.


Richie Porte has been dropped, and with him perhaps his spot in the top 10 to Warren Barguil.


The six leaders are losing ground quickly - just 1'15" now. De Plus continues to ride tempo on the front to reduce the pack to around 40 riders now.


Omar Fraile has joined the leaders after bridging over from the chase group. So we have six out ahead now with 1'40" over the pack. De Plus drives the place ahead of Castroviejo, Kruijswijk and the Ineos train, which has just lost Van Baarle.


Alaphilippe, his Deceuninck-QuickStep blue jersey unzipped, only has Enric Mas with him now. They're behind the Ineos riders and in front of Buchmann and a couple of Bora riders. Then it's Movistar, who will win the team classification, but not much else besides Quintana's stage win. And that's that, Bennett has finally gone, the Kiwi comes to a standstill and Kruijswijk now only has Laurens de Plus.


George Bennett is back on the front for Jumbo, who have taken it back up again. But the pace can't be too hard because this peloton is still pretty large - we're talking about 70 riders. And the gap is still two minutes.


The cancellation of the finish yesterday deprived Team Ineos of their first stage win in this race. While they have the yellow jersey, perhaps they will be hoping to do it in style and with a stage win - for either Bernal or Thomas. One of 14 teams who have not picked up any stages from this Tour.


Jumbo ease up, perhaps realising they're burning their matches too soon. That came after George Bennett appeared to drop back. This slowing up allows Van Baarle to come to the front as the peloton tackle a flatter section of the climb - and a short downhill. Still two minutes for the leaders.


De Gendt has actually only just been caught - I could have sworn he was on the verge of being reeled in, but perhaps the Belgian had a second wind.


After all those fears about the weather, the sun has now come out and the clouds seem to be clearing from the summit.


Kruijswijk only has two Jumbo-Visma riders left with him now - Bennett and De Plus. Bernal, meanwhile, has four with him, so perhaps Poels has come back.


Jumbo's pace reduced the lead of the five riders ahead to two minutes. There's a second chase group from that initial big break and it features Teuns, Costa, Fraile, Rosskopf, Impey and Nielsen. De Gendt, meanwhile, has been caught by the yellow jersey group.


Wout Poels has been dropped from the front of the pack as Jumbo continue their hot tempo ahead of four Ineos riders - Bernal, Thomas, Van Baarle and Castroviejo. QuickStep have a few bodies behind, including Alaphilippe. How long can he hold on for?


Five in the lead now after Turgis cracks and Perichon is caught by Woods, Nibali, Zakarin and Gallopin. They have 30 seconds on some chasers and 2'30" on the pack. Wellens couldn't hack it but De Gendt still has a small advantage over the Jumbo-led pack.


Now Jumbo-Visma come to the front to set a fierce tempo and put Ineos under pressure. They haven't given up hope for their man Steven Kruijswijk, who will hope to jump above Alaphilippe and take the last spot on the podium - and who knows, perhaps even more than that...


Zakarin, meanwhile, attacks the break and takes Nibali with him. Behind Gallopin and Woods are chasing.


Riders being shelled out the back already with Moscon an early casualty for Ineos. The Italian has been pretty weak in this Tour - as has teammate Kwiatkowski, who also has been dropped.


Frenchmen Perichon and Turgis ride clear of the break at the start of the climb. They have 12 seconds. Meanwhile, Lotto-Soudal duo Thomas De Gendt and Tim Wellens have attacked the peloton in pursuit of the leaders, with the latter doing his best to take the polka dot jersey back from Bardet...


We're onto the mammoth final climb of the Tour: the Cat.HC ascent to Val Thorens (33.4km at 5.4%)


One of the big beneficiaries of yesterday's curtailed stage was Romain Bardet of Ag2R-La Mondiale. The Frenchman's polka dot jersey was under pressure from both Egan Bernal and Simon Yates - the two riders who were leading going over the Col d'Iseran. Indeed with 10pts up for grabs on the final climb to Tignes, both riders could have slashed Bardet's lead ahead of today's finale. As things stand, Bardet leads Tim Wellens by 86pts to 74pts, with Damiano Caruso on 67, Yates on 59 and Bernal on 58. Today's finish offers 40pts so there's all to fight for.


No threat to Bernal: Reichenbach is the best placed rider on GC in this group at 40'45". Nils Politt, meanwhile, has a dig and moves off the front of the pack - the big German clearly wants to increase the tempo on the false flat ahead of the climb.


The 29 leaders are: Elia Viviani (Deceuninck-Quick Step), Tony Gallopin (AG2R-La Mondiale), Vincenzo Nibali and Dylan Teuns (Bahrain-Merida), Sébastien Reichenbach (Groupama-FDJ), Nelson Oliveira (Movistar), Omar Fraile, Magnus Cort and Gorka Izagirre (Astana), Alberto Bettiol and Michael Woods (EF Education First), Daryl Impey (Mitchelton-Scott), Joey Rosskopf (CCC), Rui Costa and Vegard Stake Laengen (UAE Team Emirates), Jasper Stuyven (Trek-Segafredo), Nicolas Roche (Sunweb), Pierre-Luc Périchon (Cofidis), Jens Keukeleire (Lotto-Soudal), Lilian Calmejane, Niccolo Bonifazio and Anthony Turgis (Total Direct Energie), Ilnur Zakarin and Nils Politt (Katusha-Alpecin), Frederik Backaert and Kevin Van Melsen (Wanty-Groupe Gobert), Stephen Cummings and Ben King (Dimension Data) and Maxime Bouet (Arkéa-Samsic).


Egan Bernal, our race leader, is currently off the back in the team cars with teammate Michal Kwiatkowski, picking up some fresh water from the Ineos car. The two groups out ahead have come together and have a gap of two minutes.


And here's Bradley Wiggins' reaction from the back of the moto to an emotional and dramatic day in the saddle - from Thibaut Pinot's sad withdrawal to that hail storm and the scenes that ensued...


Here's one of the reasons why yesterday's stage had to be curtailed... Even a gravel bike wouldn't have helped there.


Can the defending champion move up to second place today or even replace his teammate Bernal in yellow? It will be fascinating to see how it pans out - but you suspect there's a good chance that they finish first and second today, in both the stage and the GC.


Some big names in the chase group, including Reichenbach, Woods, Roche, Izagirre, Nibali, Zakarin, Gallopin, Fraile and, er, Viviani. They're 30 seconds down with the Ineos-led peloton at 1'45".


The six leaders are: 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). They have 25 seconds on a large chase group of 20-odd riders.


Here's the new-look stage profile...

Stage 20 revised profile, 2019 Tour de France

Bonifazio was actually reeled in; the Total-Direct Energie rider in this break is Lilian Calmejane, who's there with Teuns, Cort, Costa, Bettiol and Val Melsen. But there are about a 20 riders trying to bridge over.


Now Vincenzo Nibali and Nils Politt are trying their luck, with many in pursuit. Alaphlippe was towards the back of the peloton so he's clearly not looking to get in any early move.


Denmark's Magnus Cort Nielsen (Astana) sparks a flurry of activity as five riders bridge across to Bonifazio.


Total-Direct Energie are one of 14 teams yet to win a stage - and Niccolo Bonifazio has zipped off the front from the gun.


They're off! The remaining 155 riders get this key stage under way...


It took them a while to work out the times over the top of the 'finish' on the Iseran yesterday, plus factor in the bonuses and what have you, but here's the top 10 with Bernal 45 seconds clear of Alaphilippe and 1'11" clear of teammate Thomas. Both Kruijswijk - at 1'23" - and Buchmann - at 1'50" - will still be dreaming of the podium in Paris.


Here's the magical moment that an emotional Egan Bernal, in yellow, broke down after it sunk in that he was one stage away from winning the Tour de France...


There was talk of today's stage being cancelled because of heavy rain and storms at the finish - but thankfully, the race goes ahead. The riders are currently in the neutral zone having rolled out of Albertville.


And the drama doesn't stop there: because of those landslides, two of today's scheduled climbs are unpassable, and so the organisers have been forced to tweak the route. Now the riders will head straight to the foot of the final 34km climb to Val Thorens...


Bonjour le Tour! Hello and welcome to this special shortened but still all-important penultimate stage of the Tour de France - a 59km ride from Albertville to Val Thorens.