July 22, 2016 ( Saint-Gervais-les-Bains, FRA) – Romain Bardet gave the hosting nation its first stage victory in stage 19 of the 103rd Tour de France from Albertville to Saint-Gervais-les-Bains, 146km. He rode away from the yellow jersey group in the downhill preceding the final ascent to Le Bettex to catch lone escapee Rui Costa. Race leader Chris Froome and runner up Bauke Mollema crashed in that downhill, with more consequences for the Dutchman than the yellow jersey. Bardet moved up to second overall with two days to go.
20 riders in the lead
177 riders started stage 19 at Albertville. Thomas De Gendt (Lotto-Soudal) attacked from the gun. Logically, polka dot jersey holder Rafal Majka (Tinkoff) reacted. By the third kilometer of racing, a group of 20 riders was formed with Alexey Lutsenko (Astana), Robert Kiserlovski and Majka (Tinkoff), Alexis Vuillermoz (AG2R-La Mondiale), George Bennett (LottoNL-Jumbo), Pierre Rolland (Cannondale-Drapac), Markus Burghardt and Amaël Moinard (BMC), Natnael Berhane (Dimension Data), Laurens ten Dam (Giant-Alpecin), Emmanuel Buchman (Bora-Argon 18), Rui Costa (Lampre-Merida), De Gendt and Tony Gallopin (Lotto-Soudal), Tony Martin (Etixx-Quick Step), Daniel Navarro (Cofidis), Michael Matthews (Orica-BikeExchange), Eduardo Sepulveda and Vegard Breen (Fortuneo-Vital Concept). They had a maximum lead of 4.42 at km 7.
Tom Dumoulin out of the Tour
Astana seized the reins of the peloton as early as in the ascent to collet du Tamié after 8km of racing. They reduced the gap to two minutes. Tom Dumoulin (Giant-Alpecin) crashed in the middle of the peloton with 60km to go. He was forced to abandon with an injured wrist. The leading group was down to 12 riders in the grueling Montée de Bisanne where Rafal Majka mathematically secured his second King of the Mountains trophy after the 2014 Tour de France. Rolland attacked 46km before the end but crashed as there were 40km remaining so his breakaway companion Rui Costa stayed alone in the lead. Richie Porte (BMC) was involved in a crash that took Sébastien Reichenbach (FDJ) to the ground. The Australian made his way back in the yellow jersey group with 22km to go while Navarro was the last attacker to be reeled in at the exception of Rui Costa who remained at the front with an advantage of one minute 20km before the end.
Mikaël Chérel gives the go
Mikaël Chérel (AG2R-La Mondiale) attacked in the downhill of côte de Domancy to anticipate an action by Romain Bardet who rejoined Rui Costa with 7.5km to go. He soloed to victory 3km before the finish while Froome was in difficulty after he crashed in the downhill and Mollema who also went off road and was struggling further back. Froome still leads the Tour de France with an advantage of 4.11 over Bardet, 4.27 over Nairo Quintana, 4.36 over Adam Yates and 5.17 over Porte.
1. Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 4:14:08
2. Joaquim Rodriguez (Esp) Team Katusha 0:23
3. Alejandro Valverde (Esp) Movistar Team
4. Louis Meintjes (RSA) Lampre – Merida
5. Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar Team 0:26
6. Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana Pro Team 0:28
7. Daniel Martin (Irl) Etixx – Quick-Step
8. Wouter Poels (Ned) Team Sky 0:36
9. Christopher Froome (Gbr) Team Sky
10. Richie Porte (Aus) BMC Racing Team 0:53
GC after Stage 19
1. Christopher Froome (Gbr) Team Sky 82:10:37
2. Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 4:11
3. Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar Team 4:27
4. Adam Yates (Gbr) Orica-BikeExchange 4:46
5. Richie Porte (Aus) BMC Racing Team 5:17
6. Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana Pro Team 6:00
7. Alejandro Valverde (Esp) Movistar Team 6:20
8. Louis Meintjes (RSA) Lampre – Merida 7:02
9. Daniel Martin (Irl) Etixx – Quick-Step 7:10