The shortening of the final Alpine stages of the 2019 Tour de France should not lessen the victory of the eventual winner, according to the riders in this year’s peloton.
Organisers cut stage 19 by 37.5km, including the summit finish to Tignes, and stage 20 by 70.5km – both due to local heavy rain and landslides.
“I think who ever it is, he’s a worthy winner,” Daryl Impey (Mitchelton-Scott) told Cycling Weekly. “And I think it’s going to be Egan Bernal, so you can’t take any credit away from his victory yet but he’s ridden a consistent race and been there every day. Whoever puts the maillot jaune on, deserves it.”
Organisers even toyed with the idea of cancelling the entire stage on Saturday due to continued bad weather at Val Thorens.
“Months from now, I don’t think anyone will be talking about the landslide, people are going to be talking about who won the Tour de France,” Impey said. “Whoever it is, I don’t think yesterday’s stage is going to define it.”
“I think the winner of the Tour de France is always the deserved winner,” added Yves Lampaert (Deceuninck-Quick Step).
“A shame to end the Tour this way? Safety goes before everything, of course, and it couldn’t have been the other way.”
The organiser cut stage 19 en route to the Tignes summit finish. Times for the stage were taken on top of the previous Iseran climb, which gave Egan Bernal (Ineos) the race lead and saw Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-Quick Step) fall to second.
Soon after the stage, organisers announced that a landslide on the first of three climbs, the Roseland, forced it to remove two passes from stage 20.
“These weather conditions are not for racing,” explained Jan Tratnik (Bahrain-Merida). “We saw that the road was full of water and I think the first thing is the safety of the riders, and then we can race.
“For sure, for the spectators and for everybody watching, maybe it’s a little bit not nice, but for us, because we really faced with this conditions, think it’s better and I’m happy that it’s like this.”