Tour De France Review – Stage 19: St-Jean-de-Maurienne to La Toussuire-Les Sybelles

Another awesome day at the Tour! Today Vincenzo Nibali redeemed himself by taking victory at the top of La Toussuire. Nibali put his attack in as the select Yellow Jersey group was on the ascent to the col de la Croix-de-Fer 59km before the finish. From there the Italian never looked back, first catching up with Pierre Rolland (Europcar) and then leaving the Frenchman on the lower slopes of of the final climb.

Vincenzo Nibali Stage 19

Quintana attacked Froome and his group with 6 killometers to go. Froome responded and opened a gap to a chasing Contador and Valverde. The Sky rider was unable to catch his Columbian challenger befor the summit and rolled in third.

The day was not without controversy though. Froome appeared to have a mechanical problem (stone in rear brake calliper) and while Nibali claimed he did not see it, he took advantage of this and attacked.

Stage Highlights:

  • The Queen stage of the Alps today and Le Tour drama didn’t disappoint.  Pierre Rolland (EUC) made a valiant effort in going for the stage win but couldn’t hold out for the final summit. Nibali (AST) made his “dubious” and opportunistic attack when race leader Froome (SKY) experienced a minor mechanical problem. Nibali (AST) went on to win the stage and moved up into 4th position in the overall individual classification. Can he now make it onto the podium in Paris? Take a look at the speed data when Nibali (AST) attacked as Froome (SKY) stopped on the climb up the Col de la Croix de Fer – click here.
  • Great teamwork again by Team SKY – Froome (SKY) managed to defend the yellow jersey despite losing some time to Quintana (MOV). Geraint Thomas (SKY), Froome’s first Lieutenant thus far, had a bad day today. However, his teammate Wouter Poels (SKY), rose to the occasion and was there to help protect their team leader. 
  • Tomorrow, the penultimate day, the cycling gladiators have to take on the Mythical Mountain, Alpe d’Huez – the most famous climb in world cycling.  With its 13.8 km ascent and famous 21 bends, the summit finish will be the final showdown of the 2015 Tour. How will it affect the overall classifications?

Day in data:

  • Stage 19 – from Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne (4th time stage town) to La Toussuire – Les Sybelles (3rd time stage town) – pinned by the experts as the most fearsome and decisive of the four Alpine stages.
  • 20 km – the actual distance between the start and finish locations.  Although Le Tour riders took the less direct yet more scenic route travelling 138 km today – over 4 categorised climbs, all with an average gradient above 6%.
  • 61.5 km – the total distance of the 4 categorised climbs today – with 60 KOM points up for grabs.
  • 22.4 km – distance of the HC climb up the Col de la Croix de Fer – the longest climb in this years’ Tour de France – at an altitude of 2067 m.
  • 3140.3 km – the distance Le Tour riders have travelled from the start in Utrecht.
  • 161 riders started today.
  • 15.4 km category 1 climb at 6.3% – the Col du Chaussy. Click here to view the average speeds of the jersey wearers, at the time, on the first climb of the day.
  • 86.33 km/h – top recorded speed of Bardet (ALM) who was first down the Col de Chaussy, on his descent to La Chambre.
  • 90.79 km/h – top recorded speed down Col de la Croix de Fer by (SUI) Mathias Frank (IAM).
  • 54.39 km/h – average speed of Nibali (AST) on the descent of Col de la Croix de Fer to Belleville. Chasing down Pierre Rolland (EUC) whose recorded average speed on the descent was 53.17 km/h.
  • 19.27 km/h – average speed of first rider, Pierre Rolland (EUC) up Col du Mollard.
  • 15.98 km/h – average speed of all riders up Col de la Croix de Fer.  Rolland (EUC) was first over Col de la Croix de Fer winning 25 KOM points.
  • 88.34 km/h – top recorded speed in the descent to Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne, reached by Sanchez (BMC). Click here to view the average speeds (and maximum recorded speeds) of Rolland (EUC), Nibali (AST), Bardet (ALM) and Froome (SKY) on the descent of Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne.
  • 28.94 km/h – the average speed on the stage.
  • Click here to view the average speeds of the stage winner, Nibali (AST) vs. Quintana (MOV) vs. Froome (SKY) on the final climb up La Toussuire.
  • 30’ 30” – the time gap between the first and last rider.
  • 02′ 38” – the yellow jersey lead – Froome (SKY) has over 2nd place rider, Quintana (MOV).

Stage Winner:

ITA | Vincenzo Nibali | AST
Stage time: 04h 22′ 53″
Average speed: 31.5 km/h
Speed across finish line: 35.57 km/h
Average recorded speed up Col de la Croix de Fer: 17.99 km/h
Average recorded speed on the descent from the Col de la Croix de Fer: 54.39 km/h

Overall Jersey Leaders:

yellowJersey_sGBR | Chris Froome – SKY | 78h 37′ 34″

GreenJerseyNew_SSVK | Peter Sagan – TCS | 420 points

whiteJersey_sCOL | Nairo Alexander Quintana – MOV | 78h 40′ 12″

PolkaDotJersey_sFRA | Romain Bardet – ALM | 90 points

Tomorrow is the final day in the mountains and anyone with GC ambitions know it will be a hard stage. With only 110km to cover and two Cols to cross between Modane Valfréjus and Alpe d’Huez it will be all out from when the flag drops.

Today Froome and Team Sky looked vunerable. Who will win up Alpe d’Huez tomorrow and will the winner be the one that dons the Maliote Jaune in Paris on Sunday?

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