Tour de France 2021 - Stage 19, as it happened: Matej Mohoric soloes to superb second win from break
There was no record 35th win for Mark Cavendish on Friday after a strong breakaway of 20 riders went well clear, resulting in a second win for Slovenia's Matej Mohoric. You can watch the Tour de France live and ad-free on the Eurosport app and Eurosport.co.uk. Download the Eurosport app for iOS and Android now.
The UAE Team Emirates squad of yellow jersey Tadej Pogacar cross the line at 20'49" as the peloton comes home to complete the stage. So, there's no change in the GC standings and no 35th stage win for Mark Cavendish - we will have to wait until the Champs-Elysees until that.
As he crossed the finish line, Mataj Mohoric put a finger to his lips and then did the old zip-shut sign that Lance Armstrong perfected all those years ago... It's in response to the police raid on the Bahrain Victorious hotel early yesterday morning in Pau - but given the loaded nature of that celebration, it was probably a bit ill-advised...
Seven minutes pass... peloton still 10km away
The rest of that 20-man break came home in dribs and drabs but we still have a long wait for the yellow jersey, who is being led home by his UAE teammates in a peloton which still has 10km left to ride.
Matej Mohoric wins Stage 19
A third victory on the bounce for Slovenia, a fifth of the race, and a second individual win for Matej Mohoric (Bahrain Victorious), who crosses the line in Libourne for a wonderful victory. It's another 50-odd seconds before Christophe Laporte crosses the line for second place... And Cofidis's long 13-year wait for a Tour stage win continues.
Casper Pedersen is the only man chasing behind as Matej Mohoric goes under the flamme rouge and he's already starting to celebrate with a fist bump and smiles aplenty... What a ride from the Slovenian champion!
6km: Valgren going for second place
The Dane dances clear in pursuit of what will be second place. He's eventually joined by Laporte and then the others before Zimmermann kicks clear on his own saving-grace ride to the line.
8km: Chase has given up!
And that's that - it looks like Mataj Mohoric will win a second stage provided he doesn't have a mechanical or takes a tumble. His lead is 55 seconds as the nine riders behind call it a day and sit up.
10km: Monster Mohoric maintains his gap
It's quite astonishing what the Slovenian champion is doing: he was one of the original six escapees and so has been on the attack for over 200km today. He was also in yesterday's break ahead of the Tourmalet. If he holds on it will be his second win of the Tour. Pedersen, Teunissen and Laporte lead the chase behind - but the gap is still 40 seconds.
15km: Chase group splitting up
There's a lack of coherence in the chase with riders attacking each other wily-nily instead of combining to snuff out the threat - and that sees Mohoric stay at 45 seconds while Franck Bonnamour is off the back, feeling the pinch.
20km: 10 chasers doing an inter-team time trial
Laporte edged ahead for a while but he's now back with nine other chasers: Teunissen, Stuyven, Theuns, Politt, Valgren, Pedersen, Turgis, Zimmermann and Bonnamour. Mohoric - what a monster - has 38 seconds. The second group is 1'10" back and probably out of the picture.
24km: Mohoric with a gap now
A stage winner in the opening week, is Mataj Mohoric going to double up? He now has 25 seconds over the first group and 45 seconds on the second group. The peloton, lest we forget, is chugging along a whopping 15 minutes in arrears.
26km: Ballerini leads chase as Politt kicks on
On the front it's Nils Politt who puts in a long unseated surge on an uphill grind outside the town of Creon. It's the Italian Ballerini who leads the chase behind - he distances the others but then hits the wall, dropping off as the others fly by. And fly by they must - because Mohoric is the latest rider to roll the die up the road. The Slovenian champion has a little gap...
30km: Laporte forces a shake-up
After a foray off the front from Davide Ballerini, it's the Frenchman Laporte who goes clear with intent. In the shake-up that ensues, a cluster of riders are dropped off the back: Bernard, Ballerini, Dillier, Gesbert and Izagirre. They are being pursued by Van Moer, Clarke and Walscheid, who were already dropped before on that kicker. So once things settle we have 12 riders from this break with a gap of 15 seconds over the chasers.
35km: Trio with a small gap
Gesbert bridges over to Rutsch and Bonnamour on this uphill rise - but their gap over the chasers is quite small. It's Trek who are pushing on and trying to close the gap after a stint from Ballerini. Now Mohoric takes it up - and he needs to because he won't win in a sprint, so his best chance would be a long-pop from distance.
38km: Relentless attacks on the front
Ballerini went clear with three others but Nils Politt brought them back. Next up we see Jonas Rutsch and Silvain Dillier go clear before being pegged back. Just as it setttles, Rutsch instigates another move which is picked up by Franck Bonnamour - and this really stretches out the break. Zimmermann, Pedersen and Bernard lead the chase, with Teunissen and Stuyven not far behind as they hit a kicker which takes its toll on many of these escapees. Simon Clarke is really feeling the pain on this 6% ramp.
43km: First moves come from the break
Not every rider in this break can afford to wait and not every rider has teammates to fall back on. Indeed, three teams that have never won a stage on the Tour are involved in this break: B&B Hotels, Arkea Samsic and Intermarche-Wanty-Gobert. As for Cofidis - they haven't won a stage on the Tour since Sylvain Chavanel in 2008.
And it's Trek-Segafredo who roll the dice first by using their numerical advantage as Stuyven darts clear with a softener. He's pegged back by Christophe Laporte of Cofidis before Elie Gesbert had a dig - and loses his sunglasses in the process. Next to force a move is Davide Ballerini... It's going to be a very nail-biting hour from here to the finish.
55km: 10 minutes now for 20 leaders
As the gap continues to grow it's a chance for viewers to enjoy the local castles and chateaux, of which there are many...
65km: Eight minutes and growing
With the peloton taking it like a Sunday club ride, the advantage of the breakaway edges above the eight-minute mark as they continue riding through these dense pine forests that characterise this neck of the Nouvelle-Aquitaine woods.
70km: Advantage Trek-Segafredo?
With three riders in this breakaway, Trek-Segafredo must be among the favourites to take the win in Libourne. Julien Bernard can prepare the way for both Jasper Stuyven and Edward Theuns, two riders with a great kick. Stuyven can go from distance or his fellow Belgian could finish it off in a sprint - so they have options.
But it's no done deal. Davide Ballerini and Christophe Laporte are both fast finishers, while Mike Teunissen, Max Walscheid and Anthoy Turgis are all pretty zippy too. Then there's the likes of Nils Politt, Michael Valgren and Matej Mohoric, who have the kind of engines that would suit an early attack to defy the chasers.
75km: Cavendish to wait to the Champs
On the day Eddy Merckx came to the Tour, Mark Cavendish will miss out on an opportunity to become the leading stage winner in Tour history. That's because this 20-man break will go the distance: the gap is up to 5'30" with the peloton soft-pedalling and letting this one go. None of the 20 riders are within an hour of Pogacar's yellow jersey so UAE have given their blessing - as have QuickStep, confident that their man Ballerini can do the business.
85km: Breakaway to go the distance?
Israel Start-Up Nation's chase has proved futile and the gap grows above two minutes for the 20 leaders. This could be a turning-point in the stage because Andre Greipel's temamates have now given up the ghost and no one else is coming through to take it up...
95km: Gap grows to one minute
There's a slight easing up in the peloton before Israel Start-Up Nation come to the front to regulate the chase. BikeExchange have one man there to help, while Wout van Aert is near the front as well, as is Mark Cavendish and his QuickStep train. They have Ballerini out ahead so that's a reason not to chase - but they're probably also thinking that now would be a good time to nullify the threat if that's what they intend to do.
100km: Two groups come together
The six leaders are caught by the 14 chasers so we now have a 20-man super group off the front with a gap of 40 seconds on the peloton - and we're only halfway through today's stage, which is proving absolutely frenetic.
105km: Race all within a single kilometre
Ineos Grenadiers are back on the front of the pack with Tao Geoghegan Hart taking it up after a stint from Geraint Thomas. The six leaders are just 30 seconds clear of the 14 chasers with the peloton at 1'05". And on these long and straight roads in the Landes, it's also a psychological game because each of the groups can now see one another.
115km: First riders caught from the chase group
Splits in the chase group have resulted in a load of them being swallowed up by the pack - including Astana duo Gruzdev and Fraile, Van Avermaet, and all three Movistar riders in Valverde, Garcia and Valverde. The peloton is just 20 seconds down on the others with even Chris Froome chipping in on the front.
120km: Israel and Bahrain lead the chase
ISUN have missed this move and that has set the alarm bells ringing as they look to set up their man Andre Greipel for a stage win on his 39th birthday. Bahrain, too, have missed out and are helping - perhaps with an eye on Sonny Colbrelli at the finish. BikeExchange also chip in: they want Michael Matthews to have a chance today. And Ineos, too, who don't have a sprinter, but who have missed out and therefore need to do something so they can perhaps play a card later on... The gap is 1'45" for the 20 chasers and 2'05" for the peloton - with regards to the six leaders.
A reminder of who those six riders are from the initial break: Julien Bernard (Trek-Segafredo), Jonas Rutsch (EF Education-Nippo), Matej Mohoric (Bahrain Victorious), Simon Clarke (Qhubeka-NextHash), Georg Zimmermann (Intermarche-Wanty-Gobert) and Franck Bonnamour (B&B Hotels p/b KTM).
Phew, it's all happening...
125km: The 20 counter-attackers in full
So, your chase group comprises: Mike Teunissen (Jumbo-Visma), Jasper Stuyven and Edward Theuns (Trek-Segafredo), Davide Ballerini (Deceuninck-QuickStep), Jorge Arcas, Ivan Garcia and Alejandro Valverde (Movistar), Nils Politt (Bora-Hansgrohe), Christophe Laporte (Cofidis), Silvan Dillier (Alpecin-Fenix), Michael Valgren (EF Education-Nippo), Greg Van Avermaet (AG2R-Citroen), Elie Gesbert (Arkea-Samsic), Casper Pedersen (Team DSM), Brent Van Moer (Lotto Soudal), Omar Fraile, Dmitriy Gruzdev and Ion Izagirre (Astana-PremierTech), Max Walscheid (Qhubeka-NextHash) and Anthony Turgis (TotalEnergies).
It's a fascinating composition with some fast finishers in Teunissen, Stuyven, Theuns, Ballerini, Garcia, Walscheid, Turgis and Laporte. Also, the presence of Ballerini suggests that QuickStep are happy to let this one go and wait until the Champs-Elysees for Cavendish. Politt, already a stage winner, tries to go clear but he's brought back by Van Moer. They trail the six leaders by 2'20" with the peloton at 3'10".
130km: Classy counter-break forms
That move from Stuyven and Politt sparked a response and all of a sudden we have a seriously dangerous chase group of around 20 riders with more class than an Evelyn Waugh satire. The likes of Valverde, Theuns, Dillier, Valgren, Van Moer, Fraile, Laporte, Teunissen, Garcia, Van Avermaet, Pedersen, Walscheid and Turgis are all here... and they have 45 seconds on the pack, which is being driven by israel Start-Up Nation and Bahrain Victorious who both missed the move.
135km: Peloton back together... momentarily
A group of around 25 riders went clear - and there was a presence from QuickStep there, too - but they were pulled back, as were a splinter group of a handful of riders who subsequently tried their luck, including Dylan Teuns and Casper Pedersen. After an easing up the peloton becomes a single block again - but it's not settling down just yet: Jasper Stuyven and Nils Politt have just darted clear.
140km: Splits in the pack
Now this is an interesting development... exiting a large roundabout, the peloton is all strung out as it zips along a wide dual carriageway - and five riders opened up a gap on the front. Then Lotto Soudal throw down the hammer - forcing a flurry of counter moves, including a dig from Tom Skujins the Latvian champion. And all of a sudden we have splits and groups all over the road!
149km: Matthews closes the gap on Cavendish
After an impressive leadout from Team BikeExchange, Michael Matthews (9pts) takes seventh place in the sprint ahead of Sonny Colbrelli (8pts) and his teammate Luka Mezgec (7pts). Cavendish can only take 10th place and 6pts and so that's a three-point swing which sees the Australian close the gap to 35pts in the green jersey standings.
Of course, there are 50pts up for grabs for the winner today so it could all prove immaterial but every little helps. Cavendish, for sure, didn't go too deep there. He's in a green skinsuit and he clearly eyes the outright Tour stage record today - and a win which would all but secure him the green jersey by default. Here's Cav speaking to us before the stage:
'Come on! Show a bit of respect for my climbing!' - Cavendish on Stage 19 prospects
152km: Zimmermann wins intermediate sprint
The German Georg Zimmermann outkicks Frenchman Franck Bonnamour to win the intermediate sprint and take a bit of extra pocket-money in Saint-Sever. Neither rider has ever won a pro bike race in their careers to date so that was a nice way to practice and pretend. They've had solid Tour debuts, with Bonnamour in particular very impressive. The Frenchman has been in breaks on five or six days so is surely in the frame for the Super Combatif prize this year.
158km: Vakoc leads the chase; Mas back on
Enric Mas, currently sixth place on GC, has just rejoined the peloton after being paced back by his Movistar teammates Imanol Erviti and Carlos Verona. On the front it's the presence of Petr Vakoc, the Czech rouleur who used to ply his trade for QuickStep, who turns the pedals alongside two Alpecin teammates. The gap is 3'50" for the six leaders. Guillaume Martin is now back as well after behind ushered forward by a few Cofidis teammates. The Frenchman is eighth on GC despite not targeting the GC this year, favouring instead a stage win which still remains elusive.
163km: Tension on the front of the peloton
Alpecin-Fenix are not pleased with the request to slow up - and their continued pacing will make it hard for those distanced riders to get back on ahead of the intermediate sprint, which is coming up shortly. Once again we saw Pogacar and Kwiatkowski near the front and in animated conversation. Oh to be a fly on the wall...
167km: CRASH IN THE PELOTON!
A raft of Movistar riders have gone down in a mini pile-up in the pack with Enric Mas notably held up.. Guillaume Martin, Simon Geschke and Christophe Laporte (all Cofidis) as well as Sonny Colbrelli went down, too, while Deceuninck-QuickStep were caught out. It's the price they're paying for not being on the front as they usually are in such stages - Cavendish's team letting Alpecin do the work today. As a result of that, the peloton has split into three factions - and it might cue an easing up on the front, which will see the breakaway extend its lead.
'Not sure how that happened' - Riders floored in big crash on Stage 19
170km: Mohoric the only stage winner in break
This is the second successive day we've seen the Slovenian champion in the break. Mohoric is having a superb race - capped by his victory in Stage 7 in the opening week. We've seen a lot of Frenchman Bonnamour, who is one of the race's revelations having been a real attacking livewire in his debut Tour. His compatriot Bernard was on the offensive in the stage up and down Ventoux twice, while he tried to bridge over to the break (without success) on the stage to the Col du Portet a couple of days ago.
The gap has come down to 3'35" thanks to the pacing by Alpecin-Fenix.
180km: Alpecin-Fenix lead the chase
The Alpecin-Fenix team of Jasper Philipsen comes to the front to keep a lid on the break - a perfect scenario for Cavendish's QuickStep team who don't need to waste any energy for now. Alpecin have had a strong debut Tour with stage wins for Tim Merlier and Mathieu van der Poel (who have both since left). They must have confidence in Philipsen, who has finished in the top three on five occasions (twice runner-up and three times third).
185km: Four minutes now for break
The stage has really settled now after that hectic start, where Brent van Moer's crash caused numerous riders the hit the deck and held up over half the peloton. Pogacar argued with Kwiatkowski and Skujins in the aftermath - a bit needlessly, given the Latvian was chasing down a break which already contains one of his Trek teammates, while the Pole had Ineos teammate Geraint Thomas off the back. Anyway, the yellow jersey has calmed down now and he has his UAE train in place on the front of the pack. The gap is 4'10".
195km: Cat.4 Cote de Bareille
Things have settled a bit now with the race onto the only climb of the day, which is 1.9km long at 5.3%. It will have no bearing on the KOM competition which Tadej Pogacar won yesterday with his second summit win in as many days on Luz Ardiden.
The six riders in this move are: Julien Bernard (Trek-Segafredo), Jonas Rutsch (EF Education-Nippo), Matej Mohoric (Bahrain Victorious), Simon Clarke (Qhubeka-NextHash), Georg Zimmermann (Intermarche-Wanty-Gobert) and Franck Bonnamour (B&B Hotels p/b KTM). Their gap is 1'30" and it's the German Rutsch who goes over the summit on the front of the break.
200km: Yellow jersey beef between Pog and Kwiato
Very strange scenes here on the Tour: with a group of six riders around 15 seconds up the road, Michal Kwiatkowski (Ineos Grenadiers) latches on to the wheel of Latvian champion Toms Skujins (Trek-Segafredo), which coaxes the yellow jersey out of the peloton. Pogacar chases them down and then gets involved in a war of words with the Pole.
It's perhaps because Pogacar has two teammates - Majka and Laengen - off the back and he thinks it's a dirty trick for Kwiatkowski and Skujins to try and get clear at this point. But that's pretty crazy: the race is on, neither rider is a threat to the yellow jersey, and Ineos, in particular, need something from this Tour.
205km: CRASH SPLITS PACK!
A reminder that it's not over until it's over... the yellow jersey is not held up in that one but a crash near the front has caused a bit of chaos and seen numerous riders hit the deck. It happened when a Lotto Soudal rider went onto the grass verge and then lost balance - his sprawling body taking out riders behind him and then causing a butterfly effect. Sergio Henao is one of those who goes down - a day after he suffered the same fate. Geraint Thomas and Julian Alaphilippe are held up, as are some UAE teammates of Pogacar: Laengen and Majka.
207km to go: Stage 19 under way
There's a flurry of attacks from the outset and both Thomas De Gendt (Lotto Soudal) and Nils Politt (Bora-Hansgrohe) are among those in the mix - no surprise seeing that both teams have lost their sprinters, Caleb Ewan and Peter Sagan.
The Cavnibal: Merckx and Cavendish embrace
Before the start today we saw a touching embrace between the two men who currently top the list of Tour de France stage winners... Both Eddy Merckx and Mark Cavendish are locked on 34 wins. Will that change in around four and a half hours?
'Love and respect' - Cavendish and Merckx embrace before Stage 19 start
Two non-starters: Woods and Lopez
After a dismal first Tour for his new Movistar team, Miguel Angel Lopez calls it a day. No huge surprise - he's been struggling since a crash in the first week and yesterday was his last chance to do something. No sprinter and not renowned against the clock, the Colombian doesn't fancy even getting to Paris. Perhaps he has the Olympics on his radar - that's indeed the case with Michael Woods of Israel Start-Up Nation. Having failed to take the polka dot jersey yesterday, the Canadian also bows out.
Breakaway of bunch sprint?
The remaining 142 riders roll out of Mourenx and start a 4.3km neutral zone ahead of the official start. Here's what's on the menu: a long 207km stage up to the wine country south and then east of Bordeaux. On paper it's a sprint - and therefore a chance for Mark Cavendish to break Eddy Merckx's record with a 35th stage scalp - but given tomorrow is a time trial, many teams will do their best to sent riders up the road in a break. It really is the last-chance saloon for pretty much everyone who isn't Cavendish, Pogacar and TT specialists Kung and Bissegger...
Stage 18 recap: Pog triple cements grip
Another Grand Tour hat-trick from Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) saw the Slovenian extend his lead in the Tour de France after a brutal ride over the Col du Tourmalet and up to Luz Ardiden in Stage 18. An exciting finale saw Pogacar toy with his GC rivals Jonas Vingegaard and Richard Carapaz before dancing clear in the final kilometre to secure his third stage win of the race.
A carbon copy of Wednesday’s finish on the Col de Portet saw the Danish tyro Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma) edge Ecuador’s Carapaz (Ineos Grenadiers) for second place, with Spain’s Enric Mas (Movistar) and Ireland’s Dan Martin (Israel Stand-Up Nation) completing the top five after the short but sharp 129km stage from Pau.
Back-to-back summit victories saw the 22-year-old UAE Pogacar stretch his lead to 5’45” over Vingegaard, with Carapaz a further six seconds in arrears ahead of the final GC test – Saturday’s 30km individual time trial to Saint-Emilion. A third stage win matches Pogacar’s haul from his debut Vuelta in 2019 and his debut Tour last year, while his latest display of uphill demolition saw him blast ahead of Dutchman Wout Poels (Bahrain Victorious) in the polka dot jersey king of the mountains competition.
Only an unprecedented collapse far dearer than that suffered by his compatriot Primoz Roglic last year can now deny Pogacar a second Tour de France victory this Sunday in Paris.
Eurosport's Bradley Wiggins believes it's up to Tadej Pogacar's rivals to 'try something new' as the Slovenian retained his Tour de France lead.
The Jumbo-Visma man retains his more than five minute lead going into the final weekend of the Tour, with Wiggins believing his opponents had it all to do.
"It's hard because we've had that at the Tour de France - dominance. People don't really like seeing people win, but this kid is really young, and he's on his third Grand Tour.
"It's up to everyone else to try something new. I dont think it's Tadej Pogar'c s fault he won again today. I think we say a lack of performance in other teams and I'd have liked to see something different from other teams today.
Wiggins believed fellow Briton Mark Cavendish also had a shot at success.
"Mark Cavendish has got through the tournament more comfortably than I think he thought he would. Tomorrow is a big day for him. Will he break a tomorrow?
"I think so. I don't think another can challenge in those sprints."
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