Christophe Laporte (Jumbo-Visma) won a thrilling finish to stage 19 of the Tour de France.
Before the stage began, the race had still been without a French victory. Although Laporte would ensure that the French would leave their mark on the action this year.
Laporte caught the remnants of a small group that had attacked earlier on in the final metres of the stage. The Jumbo-Visma rider then had enough power to launch a powerful sprint round them to win a frenetic finale and spoil the party for the sprinters.
Earlier on in the day, the stage was briefly halted as environmental protests disrupted the Tour de France for a third time.
In an otherwise relatively calm day of racing, Matej Mohorič (Bahrain Victorious), Quinn Simmons (Trek-Segafredo), Mikkel Honore (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl), Taco Van der Hoorn (Intermarché–Wanty–Gobert) and Nils Pollitt (Bora-Hansgrohe) established a small breakaway that hovered in front of the peloton for the initial period of racing.
However, they would soon drop away as they began to lose efficiency and Simmons repeatedly attacked. Fred Wright (Bahrain Victorious), Jasper Stuyven (Trek-Segafredo) and Alexis Gougeard (B & B Hotels-KTM) were the next to try their luck.
As the trio of riders flew under the one kilometre to go banner, Laporte was onto them. Wright would try to escape with a last ditch effort, but the Briton would be no match for Laporte as the Frenchman surged round him to then open up a gap and sprint across the line.
Laporte raised his arms to celebrate yet another brilliant stage win for Jumbo-Visma at the Tour de France 2022. Jasper Philipsen (Alpecin-Deceuninck) took second with Alberto Dainese (Team DSM) finishing third.
The rest of the main field finished just behind Laporte to ensure that the Frenchman's teammate, Jonas Vingegaard, would not have his position in the overall standings majorly affected. Tadej Pogačar finished fifth on the stage to steal back just four seconds on the yellow jersey.
HOW IT HAPPENED
Yesterday’s stage brought a second day of drama in the high-Pyrenees. Jonas Vingegaard won stage 18, this time wearing the yellow jersey to secure a second stage win for the Danish rider at the Tour de France. By taking victory, he was also able to put more crucial time into second place Tadej Pogačar in the overall standings.
Before stage 19 got underway, the sprinters will have been relieved to be able to look ahead to what was a relatively flat parcours. Fabio Jakobsen (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl) and Caleb Ewan (Lotto Soudal) struggled through the Alps and Pyrenees. The rolling terrain on the 188 kilometre route to Cahors was very much going to be a day for the non-climbers.
Once racing got underway, a strong group of rouleur type riders got up the road to establish a breakaway. Quinn Simmons (Trek-Segafredo), Taco Van der Hoorn (Intermarche-Wanty-Gobert), Mikkel Honore (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl), Nils Pollitt (Bora-Hansgrohe) and Matej Mohorič (Bahrain Victorious) managed to push ahead early on and soon had a gap of more than one minute over the main field.
The breakaway cleaned up the majority of the intermediate sprint points at Auch, with Jasper Philipsen (Alpecin Deceuninck) leading Wout Van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) and the rest of the peloton over the line behind them. Philipsen took ten points with Van Aert taking nine to add to his tally.
There would then be a brief hold up on the road as an environmental protest briefly brought both the breakaway and peloton to a standstill. The protestors were soon cleared and racing was back underway. Philippe Gilbert (Lotto Soudal) was pushing the tempo in the peloton looking to reel back the strong group up ahead. With a potential sprint finish on the cards, the breakaway appeared to be about to get caught by the peloton. However, an acceleration from Honore and Mohorič ensured the gap was temporarily pushed out again.
With 89 kilometres left to race, the breakaway were pushing on with Mohorič in particular driving proceedings. There were initial signs of crosswinds although not enough to do any damage. Not able to keep pace with the efforts set by the Slovenian, Pollitt was dropped by the other riders and returned to the peloton. Mohorič, Simmons, Van der Hoorn and Honore continued to hover in front of the main field as the race continued through the French countryside.
As the race ticked by the 60 kilometre mark, the riders were fast approaching the first category four climb of the day, the Côte de la Cité Médiévale de Lauzerte. As the breakaway were led by Simmons onto the climb, the pace lifted as Simmons launched an attack over the top with Mohoric hot in pursuit. Simmons' attack caused a huge split in the leading group as the American and Mohoric pushed on.
The violent acceleration from the Trek-Segafredo rider further increased the gap the breakaway had. As they crested the climb, Mohorič and Simmons were swapping turns as they looked to maintain their advantage. Eventually the pace from Simmons proved to be too much for the Slovenian who was sandwiched between the Trek-Segafredo rider and the remnants of the breakaway. With 46 kilometres left to race the peloton swept up Honore, Van der Hoorn and Mohorič leaving just Simmons alone up the road.
As the race approached the second small category four climb on the menu, Simmons was gradually being caught. In the meantime, BikeExchange-Jayco and EF Education-EasyPost were moving towards the front of the peloton. Simmons would eventually be caught by the peloton at the summit of the second climb and with 35 kilometres left to the finish in Cahors, a sprint finish was back on. Suddenly, Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates) launched a surprise move which caused brief panic in the peloton. The Slovenian was caught and over the top of his attack, Fred Wright (Bahrain Victorious), Jasper Stuyven (Trek-Segafredo) and Alexis Gougeard (B & B Hotels-KTM) were the next to try their luck as they escaped the clutches of the main field.
As the race flew past 20 kilometres, things were ramping up and TotalEnergies were notably visible at the front of the peloton. Stuyven, Wright and Gougeard were working superbly to maintain their slim advantage up ahead. Wout Van Aert along with Lotto Soudal moved to the front of the peloton as time was quickly running out to catch this latest three-pronged attack. The gap was constantly swinging, although the trio in front were proving difficult to reel in. As the riders entered a series of roundabouts, Van Aert continued to lead the charge. Alarm bells were ringing with three kilometres to go and Lotto Soudal returned to the front of the action.
The breakaway were under the final kilometre banner, but the head of the peloton was onto them. Christophe Laporte (Jumbo-Visma) moved across to the group as Wright would push on in one final effort at a stage win. However, Laporte stood out of the saddle and fired a stinging attack which the remnants of the breakaway would have no answer to.
Laporte sailed into the lead and across the finish line to celebrate two stage wins in two days for Jumbo-Visma. Jasper Philipsen (Alpecin-Deceuninck) took second with Alberto Dainese (Team DSM) finishing third.
TOUR DE FRANCE 2022, STAGE 19 RESULTS
1. Christophe Laporte (Fra) Jumbo-Visma, in 3-52-04
2. Jasper Philipsen (Bel) Alpecin-Deceuninck, at 1s
3. Alberto Dainese (Ita) Team DSM,
4. Florian Senechal (Fra) Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl,
5. Tadej Pogačar (Slo) UAE Team Emirates,
6. Amaury Capiot (Bel) Arkea-Samsic,
7. Dylan Groenewegen (Ned) BikeExchange-Jayco,
8. Hugo Hofstetter (Fra) Arkea-Samsic,
9. Luka Mezgec (Slo) BikeExchange-Jayco,
10. Caleb Ewan (Aus) Lotto Soudal, all at same time
GENERAL CLASSIFICATION AFTER STAGE 19
1. Jonas Vingegaard (Den) Jumbo-Visma, in 71-53-34
2. Tadej Pogačar (Slo) UAE Team Emirates, at 3-21
3. Geraint Thomas (GBr) Ineos Grenadiers, at 8-00
4. David Gaudu (Fra) Groupama-FDJ, at 11-05
5. Nairo Quintana (Col) Arkea-Samsic, at 13-35
6. Louis Meintjes (RSA) Intermarché–Wanty–Gobert Matériaux, at 13-43
7. Aleksandr Vlasov (Rus) Bora-Hansgrohe, at 14-10
8. Romain Bardet (Fra) Team DSM, at 16-11
9. Aleksey Lutsenko (Kaz) Astana Qazaqstan, at 20-24
10. Adam Yates (GBR) Ineos Grenadiers, at 20-32
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