Julian Alaphilippe says he has no regrets after losing yellow on stage 19 of the Tour de France 2019 to Egan Bernal (Team Ineos).
The Deceuninck-Quick-Step rider saw his lead of the Tour come to an abrupt end on the penultimate climb of the stage, the Col de l’Iseran after freak hailstorms saw the race neutralised before reaching the final climb of Montée de Tignes.
Egan Bernal led over the hors categorie climb by 2-07 over Alaphilippe, having started the day 1-30 down on the yellow jersey. The Colombian took the overall lead, but no stage winner was awarded after the race was stopped because of the hailstorms and landslides before the final climb. Bernal now leads Alaphilippe by 48 seconds in the overall standings having also taken an eight second time bonus, with Geraint Thomas (Team Ineos) in third at 1-11.
Alaphilippe was initially dropped after Thomas attacked with 6.5km to go to the top of the climb. He was then further distanced as Bernal attacked not long after, distancing the rest of the GC contenders.
The Frenchman said after the race was brought a halt that he did everything he could to hold on to the lead on the second day in the Alps, adding that it was unlikely he’d be able to recover the lead from Bernal with one mountain stage to go.
“We are all the in the same situation,” Alaphilippe told French TV on the stoppage of the race. “I did my maximum. I don’t have any regrets.
“I don’t think [I can get yellow back]. It was a dream to have worn it for so long, it was longer than I ever imagined.
“It doesn’t change my plans. I pushed myself each day and today I did in the last climb and on the descent… where I ended up in the car.
“I want to thank all my supporters. I don’t have any regrets.”
The race now heads to the final stage before Paris, a summit finish to the ski resort of Val Thorens. The abandonment of Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ) means Geraint Thomas and Steven Kruijswijk (Jumbo-Visma) as well as Alaphilippe all have a chance to finish on the podium or take the victory from Bernal.