By Jonny Long
No burners, only afterburners, for Matej Mohorič
With Primož Roglič having abandoned less than halfway through this Tour de France, Matej Mohorič has been determined to make sure this race was still about two Slovenians.
With his stage 19 victory, Mohorič joins compatriot Tadej Pogačar and Mark Cavendish as the third riders whose claimed more than one stage this race, and it's well deserved, as he has been inexhaustible this race.
Even after being kept up as the police searched Bahrain-Victorious earlier this week, Mohorič was on hand the next day to say how he'd been made to feel like a "proper drug dealer", the team denying any wrongdoing, as did the rider after the stage.
Should this case quietly fade into the background and amount to nothing, the Slovenian will emerge the true winner for having delivered a quote as good as that, before today adding a celebration of zipping his lips and shushing the doubters as he crossed the line that will no doubt cause a further stir.
Undeterred by the circus going on off the road, Mohorič continued to fling himself forward into attacking moves and at 25km to the line off he went again, alone, the chase behind not forming as he rode solo into the finish.
Three wins for Bahrain-Victorious, four for Slovenia, and Pogačar could make it four in a row for the eastern European nation in the time trial tomorrow. They now just need to find a sprinter...
Rest of the breakaway miss out on final chance for victory
Cofidis haven't won a stage for 13 years, while Intermarché Wanty Gobert, Arkéa-Samsic and B&B Hotels haven't ever won a stage of the Tour de France - all found themselves in the final, proper break of this year's Tour yet couldn't muster the strength or tactical nous to bring home the win.
With only eight teams out of 23 having won a stage this race, you'd think the impetuous would have been greater from the original group of 20 up the road to not let Mohorič escape and steal a third win for Bahrain-Victorious.
For fans of reduced bunch sprints (all two of you) there's been little to celebrate this Tour as every successful breakaway move has been a long-range effort.
It's been a rout for the likes of UAE Team Emirates, Deceuninck - Quick-Step and Bahrain-Victorious, those three squads having won more than half of the stages on offer, and with a time trial and sprint left on the table it's likely Pogačar and Mark Cavendish will ensure those teams continue to keep the spoils for themselves.
Movistar limp over the line, while Ineos are left to celebrate third overall
As the original breakaway group of six were joined by the poursuivant entourage of 14, Ineos could be spotted on the front of the bunch trying to pull the race back together.
But not long after they abated, leaving it up to Israel Start-Up Nation and BikeExchange's Luke Durbridge to give it a go for a few minutes before the elastic snapped and the win would be decided between the escapees.
Fine, Ineos have Richard Carapaz's third-place to protect, although with more than two minutes buffer could have afforded to fling someone up the road, so must have just misfired once more and missed the move. A place on the Paris podium would be a successful Tour for most teams but for Ineos anything other than first is a disappointment.
Movistar, though, have zero to show for 21 stages and on their final chance to do something they did nothing. The apathy surrounding Miguel Ángel López's abandon before the start of the day said it all.
It's currently up in the air whether season three of Movistar's Netflix documentary will see the light of day, a third instalment of chaos probably one too many for those in charge of the Spanish outfit, as continued failure without redemption eventually reflects back onto them. Here's hoping they turn things around at the Vuelta a España...
Mid-stage animation saves the day
It could have been turgid, couldn't it? Had the counter-attack not unfurled off the front of the bunch near the midpoint of stage 19 we would have been forced to settle with a processional 207km culminating in a bunch sprint - and a Mark Cavendish win would do little to excite at this point (who would have thought we'd be saying that?!)
It's not been a showstopper of a third week, the GC basically wrapped up and the fight for stages being protracted solo moves. Perhaps that's the price we've paid for a scintillating opening week.
But today, on stage 19, we got a final proper race, or at least more than we would have expected, before the stage 20 time trial and Champs-Élysées coronation on Sunday.
Time trial presents final chance to topple Tadej..? Probably not
Broadcasters such as Eurosport by necessity have to insist the race isn't over as each kilometre ticks past, and even a multitude of cement mixers couldn't make Tadej Pogačar's grip on the yellow jersey firmer.
Having already dominated the first time trial, the second seems procedural, a chance for the Slovenian to take a few more minutes out of his inferior competition en route to romping home with a second yellow jersey on just his second Tour outing.
Those hoping for similar soap-opera worthy stuff to last year will likely be disappointed, while everything had to go right for Pogačar and wrong for Roglič in 2020, it seems only an act of god can separate the 22-year-old from a successful title defence.
Hi. I'm Cycling Weekly's Weekend Editor. I like writing offbeat features and eating too much bread when working out on the road at bike races.
Before joining Cycling Weekly I worked at The Tab and I've also written for Vice, Time Out, and worked freelance for The Telegraph (I know, but I needed the money at the time so let me live).
I also worked for ITV Cycling between 2011-2018 on their Tour de France and Vuelta a España coverage. Sometimes I'd be helping the producers make the programme and other times I'd be getting the lunches. Just in case you were wondering - Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwen had the same ham sandwich every day, it was great.
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